Quasars as standard candles I: The physical relation between disc and coronal emission [HEAP]


A tight non-linear relation exists between the X-ray and UV emission in quasars (i.e. $L_{\rm X}\propto L_{\rm UV}^{\gamma}$), with a dispersion of $\sim$0.2~dex over \rev{$\sim$3~orders of magnitude in luminosity}. Such observational evidence has two relevant consequences: (1) an ubiquitous physical mechanism must regulate the energy transfer from the accretion disc to the X-ray emitting {\it corona}, and (2) the non-linearity of the relation provides a new, powerful way to estimate the absolute luminosity, turning quasars into a new class of {\it standard candles}.
Here we propose a modified version of this relation which involves the emission line full-width half maximum, $L_{\rm X}\propto L_{\rm UV}^{\hat\gamma}\upsilon_{\rm fwhm}^{\hat\beta}$. We interpret this new relation through a simple, {\it ad-hoc} model of accretion disc corona, derived from the works of Svensson \& Zdziarski (1994) and Merloni \& Fabian (2002), where it is assumed that reconnection and magnetic loops above the accretion disc can account for the production of the primary X-ray radiation.
We find that the monochromatic optical-UV (2500 \AA) and X–ray (2 keV) luminosities depend on the black hole mass and accretion rate as $L_{\rm UV}\propto M_{\rm BH}^{4/3} (\dot{M}/\dot{M}_{\rm Edd})^{2/3}$ and $L_{\rm X}\propto M_{\rm BH}^{19/21} (\dot{M}/\dot{M}_{\rm Edd})^{5/21}$, respectively. Assuming a broad line region size function of the disc luminosity $R_{\rm blr}\propto L_{\rm disc}^{0.5}$ we finally have that $L_{\rm X}\propto L_{\rm UV}^{4/7} \upsilon_{\rm fwhm}^{4/7}$. Such relation is remarkably consistent with the slopes and the normalization obtained from a fit of a sample of 545 optically selected quasars from SDSS DR7 cross matched with the latest XMM–{\it Newton} catalogue 3XMM-DR6.
The homogeneous sample used here has a dispersion of 0.21 dex, which is much lower than previous works in the literature and suggests a tight physical relation between the accretion disc and the X-ray emitting corona. We also obtained a possible physical interpretation of the $L_{\rm X}-L_{\rm UV}$ relation (considering also the effect of $\upsilon_{\rm fwhm}$), which puts the determination of distances based on this relation on a sounder physical grounds. The proposed new relation does not evolve with time, and thus it can be employed as a cosmological indicator to robustly estimate cosmological parameters.

Read this paper on arXiv…

E. Lusso and G. Risaliti
Fri, 17 Mar 17

Comments: 15 pages, 9 figures, accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysics


Narrow phase-dependent features in X-ray Dim Isolated Neutron Stars: a new detection and upper limits [HEAP]


We report on the results of a detailed phase-resolved spectroscopy of archival XMM–Newton observations of X-ray Dim Isolated Neutron Stars (XDINSs). Our analysis revealed a narrow and phase-variable absorption feature in the X-ray spectrum of RX J1308.6+2127. The feature has an energy of $\sim$740 eV and an equivalent width of $\sim$15 eV. It is detected only in $\sim$ 1/5 of the phase cycle, and appears to be present for the entire timespan covered by the observations (2001 December – 2007 June). The strong dependence on the pulsar rotation and the narrow width suggest that the feature is likely due to resonant cyclotron absorption/scattering in a confined high-B structure close to the stellar surface. Assuming a proton cyclotron line, the magnetic field strength in the loop is B$_{loop} \sim 1.7 \times 10^{14}$ G, about a factor of $\sim$5 higher than the surface dipolar magnetic field (B$_{surf} \sim 3.4 \times 10^{13}$ G). This feature is similar to that recently detected in another XDINS, RX J0720.4-3125, showing (as expected by theoretical simulations) that small scale magnetic loops close to the surface might be common to many highly magnetic neutron stars (although difficult to detect with current X-ray instruments). Furthermore, we investigated the available XMM–Newton, data of all XDINSs in search for similar narrow phase-dependent features, but could derive only upper limits for all the other sources.

Read this paper on arXiv…

A. Borghese, N. Rea, F. Zelati, et. al.
Fri, 17 Mar 17

Comments: 10 pages, 5 figures, 4 tables. Accepted for publication in MNRAS

New constraints on binary evolution enhance the supernova type Ia rate [HEAP]


Even though Type Ia supernovae (SNIa) play an important role in many fields in astronomy, the nature of the progenitors of SNIa remain a mystery. One of the classical evolutionary pathways towards a SNIa explosion is the single degenerate (SD) channel, in which a carbon-oxygen white dwarf accretes matter from its non-degenerate companion until it reaches the Chandrasekhar mass. Constraints on the contribution from the SD channel to the overall SNIa rate come from a variety of methods, e.g. from abundances, from signatures of the companion star in the light curve or near the SNIa remnant, and from synthetic SNIa rates. In this proceedings, I show that when incorporating our newest understandings of binary evolution, the SNIa rate from the single degenerate channel is enhanced. I also discuss the applicability of these constraints on the evolution of SNIa progenitors.

Read this paper on arXiv…

S. Toonen
Fri, 17 Mar 17

Comments: 3 figures, 6 pages, Proceedings of the workshop: “The Golden Age of Cataclysmic Variables and Related Objects III”, Palermo, Italy, Sep 7-12, 2015

The reflection spectrum of the low-mass X-ray binary 4U 1636-53 [HEAP]


We present 3-79 keV NuSTAR observations of the neutron star low-mass X-ray binary 4U 1636-53 in the soft, transitional and hard state. The spectra display a broad emission line at 5-10 keV. We applied several models to fit this line: A GAUSSIAN line, a relativistically broadened emission line model, KYRLINE, and two models including relativistically smeared and ionized reflection off the accretion disc with different coronal heights, RELXILL and RELXILLLP. All models fit the spectra well, however, the KYRLINE and RELXILL models yield an inclination of the accretion disc of $\sim88\degree$ with respect to the line of sight, which is at odds with the fact that this source shows no dips or eclipses. The RELXILLLP model, on the other hand, gives a reasonable inclination of $\sim56\degree$. We discuss our results for these models in this source and the possible primary source of the hard X-rays.

Read this paper on arXiv…

Y. Wang, M. Mendez, A. Sanna, et. al.
Fri, 17 Mar 17

Comments: 9 pages, 8 figures

Early UV emission from disk-originated matter (DOM) in type Ia supernovae in the double degenerate scenario [HEAP]


We show that the blue and UV excess emission at the first few days of some type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) can be accounted for in the double degenerate (DD) scenario by the collision of the SN ejecta with circumstellar matter that was blown by the accretion disk formed during the merger process of the two white dwarfs (WDs). We assume that in cases of excess early light the disk blows the circumstellar matter, that we term disk-originated matter (DOM), hours to days before explosion. To perform our analysis we first provide a model-based definition for early excess light, replacing the definition of excess light relative to a power-law fit to the rising luminosity. We then examine the light curves of the SNe Ia iPTF14atg and SN 2012cg, and find that the collision of the ejecta with a DOM in the frame of the DD scenario can account for their early excess emission. Thus, early excess light does not necessarily imply the presence of a stellar companion in the frame of the single-degenerate scenario. Our findings further increase the variety of phenomena that the DD scenario can account for, and emphasize the need to consider all different SN Ia scenarios when interpreting observations.

Read this paper on arXiv…

N. Levanon and N. Soker
Fri, 17 Mar 17

Comments: 7 pages, 5 figures. Will be submitted in two days to allow comments by readers

Accretion Flow Properties of Swift J1753.5-0127 during its 2005 outburst [HEAP]


Galactic X-ray binary black hole candidate Swift~J1753.5-0127 was discovered on June 30 2005 by Swift/BAT instrument. In this paper, we make detailed analysis of spectral and timing properties of its 2005 outburst using RXTE/PCA archival data. We study evolution of spectral properties of the source from spectral analysis with the additive table model {\it fits} file of the Chakrabarti-Titarchuk two-components advective flow (TCAF) solution. From spectral fit, we extract physical flow parameters, such as, Keplerian disk accretion rate, sub-Keplerian halo rate, shock location and shock compression ratio, etc. We also study the evolution of temporal properties, such as observation of low frequency quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs), variation of X-ray intensity throughout the outburst. From the nature of the variation of QPOs, and accretion rate ratios (ARRs=ratio of halo to disk rates), we classify entire 2005 outburst into two harder (hard-intermediate and hard) spectral states. No signature of softer (soft-intermediate and soft) spectral states are seen. This may be because of significant halo rate throughout the outburst. This behavior is similar to a class of other short orbital period sources, such as, MAXI~J1836-194, MAXI~J1659-152 and XTE~J1118+480. Here, we also estimate probable mass range of the source, to be in between $4.75 M_\odot$ to $5.90 M_\odot$ based on our spectral analysis.

Read this paper on arXiv…

D. Debnath, A. Jana, S. Chakrabarti, et. al.
Fri, 17 Mar 17

Comments: 14 pages, 5 Figures, ApJ (communicated)

Yet another introduction to relativistic astrophysics [HEAP]


Late Winter Lecture Notes, Short Course (10 hours) of Relativistic Astrophysics held at the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Padova, March 13-17, 2017.

Read this paper on arXiv…

L. Foschini
Fri, 17 Mar 17

Comments: 132 pages

Searching For Pulsars Associated With the Fermi GeV Excess [HEAP]


The Fermi Large Area Telescope has detected an extended region of GeV emission toward the Galactic Center that is currently thought to be powered by dark matter annihilation or a population of young and/or millisecond pulsars. In a test of the pulsar hypothesis, we have carried out an initial search of a 20 deg**2 area centered on the peak of the galactic center GeV excess. Candidate pulsars were identified as a compact, steep spectrum continuum radio source on interferometric images and followed with targeted single-dish pulsation searches. We report the discovery of the recycled pulsar PSR 1751-2737 with a spin period of 2.23 ms. PSR 1751-2737 appears to be an isolated recycled pulsar located within the disk of our Galaxy, and it is not part of the putative bulge population of pulsars that are thought to be responsible for the excess GeV emission. However, our initial success in this small pilot survey suggests that this hybrid method (i.e. wide-field interferometric imaging followed up with single dish pulsation searches) may be an efficient alternative strategy for testing whether a putative bulge population of pulsars is responsible for the GeV excess.

Read this paper on arXiv…

D. Bhakta, J. Deneva, D. Frail, et. al.
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: MNRAS, in press

A Comprehensive Library of X-ray Pulsars in the Small Magellanic Cloud: Time Evolution of their Luminosities and Spin Periods [HEAP]


We have collected and analyzed the complete archive of {\itshape XMM-Newton\} (116), {\itshape Chandra\} (151), and {\itshape RXTE\} (952) observations of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), spanning 1997-2014. The resulting observational library provides a comprehensive view of the physical, temporal and statistical properties of the SMC pulsar population across the luminosity range of $L_X= 10^{31.2}$–$10^{38}$~erg~s$^{-1}$. From a sample of 67 pulsars we report $\sim$1654 individual pulsar detections, yielding $\sim$1260 pulse period measurements. Our pipeline generates a suite of products for each pulsar detection: spin period, flux, event list, high time-resolution light-curve, pulse-profile, periodogram, and spectrum. Combining all three satellites, we generated complete histories of the spin periods, pulse amplitudes, pulsed fractions and X-ray luminosities. Some pulsars show variations in pulse period due to the combination of orbital motion and accretion torques. Long-term spin-up/down trends are seen in 12/11 pulsars respectively, pointing to sustained transfer of mass and angular momentum to the neutron star on decadal timescales. Of the sample 30 pulsars have relatively very small spin period derivative and may be close to equilibrium spin. The distributions of pulse-detection and flux as functions of spin-period provide interesting findings: mapping boundaries of accretion-driven X-ray luminosity, and showing that fast pulsars ($P<$10 s) are rarely detected, which yet are more prone to giant outbursts. Accompanying this paper is an initial public release of the library so that it can be used by other researchers. We intend the library to be useful in driving improved models of neutron star magnetospheres and accretion physics.

Read this paper on arXiv…

J. Yang, S. Laycock, D. Christodoulou, et. al.
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: 17 pages, 11 + 58 (appendix) figures. To appear in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement

Relativistic Turbulence with Strong Synchrotron and Synchrotron-Self-Compton Cooling [HEAP]


Many relativistic plasma environments in high-energy astrophysics, including pulsar wind nebulae, hot accretion flows onto black holes, relativistic jets in active galactic nuclei and gamma-ray bursts, and giant radio lobes, are naturally turbulent. The plasma in these environments is often so hot that synchrotron and inverse-Compton (IC) radiative cooling becomes important. In this paper we investigate the general thermodynamic and radiative properties (and hence the observational appearance) of an optically thin relativistically hot plasma stirred by driven magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence and cooled by radiation. We find that if the system reaches a statistical equilibrium where turbulent heating is balanced by radiative cooling, the effective electron temperature tends to attain a universal value $\theta = kT_e/m_e c^2 \sim 1/\sqrt{\tau_T}$, where $\tau_T=n_e\sigma_T L \ll 1$ is the system’s Thomson optical depth, essentially independent of the strength of turbulent driving or magnetic field. This is because both MHD turbulent dissipation and synchrotron cooling are proportional to the magnetic energy density. We also find that synchrotron self-Compton (SSC) cooling and perhaps a few higher-order IC components are automatically comparable to synchrotron in this regime. The overall broadband radiation spectrum then consists of several distinct components (synchrotron, SSC, etc.), well separated in photon energy (by a factor $\sim \tau_T^{-1}$) and roughly equal in power. The number of IC peaks is checked by Klein-Nishina effects and depends logarithmically on $\tau_T$ and the magnetic field. We also examine the limitations due to synchrotron self-absorption, explore applications to Crab PWN and blazar jets, and discuss links to radiative magnetic reconnection.

Read this paper on arXiv…

D. Uzdensky
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: 12 pages, 1 figure; submitted for publication. Comments welcome!

What can we learn about GRB from the variability timescale related correlations? [HEAP]


Recently, two empirical correlations related to the minimum variability timescale ($\rm MTS$) of the lightcures are discovered in gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). One is the anti-correlation between $\rm MTS$ and Lorentz factor $\Gamma$, the other is the anti-correlation between the $\rm MTS$ and gamma-ray luminosity $L_\gamma$. Both the two correlations might be used to explore the activity of the central engine of GRBs. In this paper we try to understand these empirical correlations by combining two popular black hole (BH) central engine models (namely, Blandford \& Znajek mechanism and neutrino-dominated accretion flow). By taking the $\rm MTS$ as the timescale of viscous instability of the neutrino-dominated accretion flow (NDAF), we find that these correlations favor the scenario in which the jet is driven by Blandford-Znajek (BZ) mechanism.

Read this paper on arXiv…

W. Xie, W. Lei and D. Wang
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: 6 pages, 3 figures, accepted for publication in ApJ

Star formation, supernovae, iron, and $α$: consistent cosmic and Galactic histories [HEAP]


Recent versions of the observed cosmic star-formation history (SFH) have resolved an inconsistency between the SFH and the observed cosmic stellar mass density history. Here, we show that the same SFH revision scales up by a factor $\sim 2$ the delay-time distribution (DTD) of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), as determined from the observed volumetric SN Ia rate history, and thus brings it into line with other field-galaxy SN Ia DTD measurements. The revised-SFH-based DTD has a $t^{-1.1 \pm 0.1}$ form and a Hubble-time-integrated SN Ia production efficiency of $N/M_\star=1.25\pm 0.10$ SNe Ia per $1000~{\rm M_\odot}$ of formed stellar mass. Using these revised histories and updated, purely empirical, iron yields of the various SN types, we rederive the cosmic iron accumulation history. Core-collapse SNe and SNe Ia have contributed about equally to the total mass of iron in the Universe today, as deduced also for the Sun. We find the track of the average cosmic gas element in the [$\alpha$/Fe] vs. [Fe/H] abundance-ratio plane, as well as the track for gas in galaxy clusters, which have a higher DTD and have had a distinct, burst-like, SFH. Our cosmic $[\alpha$/Fe] vs. [Fe/H] track is broadly similar to the observed main locus of Galactic stars in this plane, indicating a Milky Way (MW) SFH similar in form to the cosmic one, and we find a MW SFH that makes the track closely match the stellar locus. The cluster DTD with a short-burst SFH at $z=3$ produces a track that matches well the observed `high-$\alpha$’ locus of MW stars, suggesting the halo/thick-disk population has had a galaxy-cluster-like formation history.

Read this paper on arXiv…

D. Maoz and O. Graur
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: Submitted to MNRAS, comments welcome

Dirac states of an electron in a circular intense magnetic field [HEAP]


Neutron-star magnetospheres are structured by very intense magnetic fields extending from 100 to 10 5 km traveled by very energetic electrons and positrons with Lorentz factors up to $\sim$ 10 7. In this context, particles are forced to travel almost along the magnetic field with very small gyro-motion, potentially reaching the quantified regime. We describe the state of Dirac particles in a locally uniform, constant and curved magnetic field in the approximation that the Larmor radius is very small compared to the radius of curvature of the magnetic field lines. We obtain a result that admits the usual relativistic Landau states as a limit of null curvature. We will describe the radiation of these states, that we call quantum curvature or synchro-curvature radiation, in an upcoming paper.

Read this paper on arXiv…

G. Voisin, S. Bonazzola and F. Mottez
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: N/A

A possible solution of the puzzling variation of the orbital period of MXB 1659-298 [HEAP]


MXB 1659-298 is a transient neutron star Low-Mass X-ray binary system that shows eclipses in the light curve with a peiodicity of 7.1 hr. MXB 1659-298 on outburst in August 2015 after 14 years of quiescence. We span a baseline of 40 years using the eight eclipse arrival times present in literature and adding 51 eclipse arrival times collected during the last two outbursts. We find that the companion star mass is $0.76 $ M$_{\odot}$, the inclination angle of the system is $72^{\circ}\!.4$ and the corona surrounding the neutron star has a size of $R_c \simeq 3.5 \times 10^8$ cm. A simple quadratic ephemeris do not fit the delays associated with the eclipse arrival times, the addition of a sinusoidal term is needed. We infer a binary orbital period of $P=7.1161099(3)$ hr and an orbital period derivative of $\dot{P}=-8.5(1.2) \times 10^{-12}$ s s$^{-1}$; the sinusoidal modulation has a period of $2.31 \pm 0.02$ yr. These results are consistent with a conservative mass transfer scenario during the outbursts and with a totally non-conservative mass transfer scenario during X-ray quiescence with the same mass transfer rate. The periodic modulation can be explained by either a gravitational quadrupole coupling due to variations of the oblateness of the companion star or with a presence of celestial body by orbiting around the binary system; in the latter case the mass of a third body is M$_3 = 21 \pm 2$ M$_J$.

Read this paper on arXiv…

R. Iaria, A. Gambino, T. Salvo, et. al.
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: 9 pages, 6 figures. Submitted to MNRAS on 2016 November 21, revised version after referee report

MHD simulations of oscillating cusp-filling tori around neutron stars — missing upper kHz QPO [HEAP]


We performed axisymmetric, grid-based, ideal magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of oscillating cusp-filling tori orbiting a non-rotating neutron star. A pseudo-Newtonian potential was used to construct the constant angular momentum tori in equilibrium. The inner edge of the torus is terminated by a “cusp” in the effective potential. The initial motion of the model tori were perturbed with uniform sub-sonic vertical and diagonal velocity fields. As the configuration evolved in time, we measured the mass accretion rate on the neutron star surface and obtained the power spectrum. The prominent mode of oscillation in the cusp torus is the radial epicyclic mode. From our analysis it follows that the mass accretion rate carries a modulation imprint of the oscillating torus, and hence so does the boundary layer luminosity.

Read this paper on arXiv…

V. Parthasarathy, W. Kluzniak and M. Cemeljic
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: Submitted as a Letter to MNRAS. 5 pages, 3 figures, 1 table. Comments are welcome

A multi-observatory database of X-ray pulsars in the Magellanic Clouds [HEAP]


Using hundreds of XMM-Newton and Chandra archival observations and nearly a thousand RXTE observations, we have generated a comprehensive library of the known pulsars in the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds (SMC, LMC). The pulsars are detected multiple times across the full parameter spaces of X-ray luminosity ($L_X= 10^{31-38}$~erg/s) and spin period ( P$<$1s — P$>$1000s) and the library enables time-domain studies at a range of energy scales. The high time-resolution and sensitivity of the EPIC cameras are complemented by the angular resolution of Chandra and the regular monitoring of RXTE. Our processing %$\sim$15 year pipeline uses the latest calibration files and software to generate a suite of useful products for each pulsar detection: event lists, high time-resolution light curves, periodograms, spectra, and complete histories of $\dot{P}$, the pulsed fraction, etc., in the broad (0.2-12 keV), soft (0.2-2 keV), and hard (2-12 keV) energy bands. After combining the observations from these telescopes, we found that 28 pulsars show long-term spin up and 25 long-term spin down. We also used the faintest and brightest sources to map out the lower and upper boundaries of accretion-powered X-ray emission: the propeller line and the Eddington line, respectively. We are in the process of comparing the observed pulse profiles to geometric models of X-ray emission in order to constrain the physical parameters of the pulsars. Finally we are preparing a public release of the library so that it can be used by others in the astronomical community.

Read this paper on arXiv…

J. Yang, S. Laycock, J. Drake, et. al.
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: 6 pages, 6 figures

Dark Matter Constraints from a Joint Analysis of Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy Observations with VERITAS [HEAP]


We present constraints on the annihilation cross section of WIMP dark matter based on the joint statistical analysis of four dwarf galaxies with VERITAS. These results are derived from an optimized photon weighting statistical technique that improves on standard imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescope (IACT) analyses by utilizing the spectral and spatial properties of individual photon events. We report on the results of $\sim$230 hours of observations of five dwarf galaxies and the joint statistical analysis of four of the dwarf galaxies. We find no evidence of gamma-ray emission from any individual dwarf nor in the joint analysis. The derived upper limit on the dark matter annihilation cross section from the joint analysis is $1.35\times 10^{-23} {\mathrm{ cm^3s^{-1}}}$ at 1 TeV for the bottom quark ($b\bar{b}$) final state, $2.85\times 10^{-24}{\mathrm{ cm^3s^{-1}}}$ at 1 TeV for the tau lepton ($\tau^{+}\tau^{-}$) final state and $1.32\times 10^{-25}{\mathrm{ cm^3s^{-1}}}$ at 1 TeV for the gauge boson ($\gamma\gamma$) final state.

Read this paper on arXiv…

VERITAS. Collaboration, S. Archambault, A. Archer, et. al.
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: 14 pages, 9 figures, accepted for publication in PRD

Gravitational Waves from Core-Collapse Supernovae [HEAP]


Gravitational waves are a potential direct probe for the multi-dimensional flow during the first second of core-collapse supernova explosions. Here we outline the structure of the predicted gravitational wave signal from neutrino-driven supernovae of non-rotating progenitors from recent 2D and 3D simulations. We sketch some quantitative dependencies that govern the amplitudes of this signal and its evolution in the time-frequency domain.

Read this paper on arXiv…

B. Muller
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: 4 pages, invited contribution prepared for the minisymposium “Gravitational Waves: Sources and Detection” at the 13th International Conference on Mathematical and Numerical Aspects of Wave Propagation, Minnesota, 2017

Modelling Jets, Tori and Flares in Pulsar Wind Nebulae [HEAP]


In this contribution we review the recent progress in the modeling of Pulsar Wind Nebulae (PWN). We start with a brief overview of the relevant physical processes in the magnetosphere, the wind-zone and the inflated nebula bubble. Radiative signatures and particle transport processes obtained from 3D simulations of PWN are discussed in the context of optical and X-ray observations. We then proceed to consider particle acceleration in PWN and elaborate on what can be learned about the particle acceleration from the dynamical structures called “wisps” observed in the Crab nebula. We also discuss recent observational and theoretical results of gamma-ray flares and the inner knot of the Crab nebula, which had been proposed as the emission site of the flares. We extend the discussion to GeV flares from binary systems in which the pulsar wind interacts with the stellar wind from a companion star. The chapter concludes with a discussion of solved and unsolved problems posed by PWN.

Read this paper on arXiv…

O. Porth, R. Buehler, B. Olmi, et. al.
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: To appear in “Jets and Winds in Pulsar Wind Nebulae, Gamma-ray Bursts and Blazars: Physics of Extreme Energy Release” of the Space Science Reviews series. The final publication is available at Springer via this http URL

The X-ray properties of Be/X-ray pulsars in quiescence [HEAP]


Observations of accreting neutron stars (NS) with strong magnetic fields can be used not only for studying the accretion flow interaction with NS magnetospheres, but also for understanding the physical processes inside NSs and for estimating their fundamental parameters. Of particular interest are (i) the interaction of a rotating neutron star (magnetosphere) with the in-falling matter at different accretion rates, and (ii) the theory of deep crustal heating and the influence of a strong magnetic field on this process. Here, we present results of the first systematic investigation of 16 X-ray pulsars with Be optical companions during their quiescent states, based on data from the Chandra, XMM-Newton and Swift observatories. The whole sample of sources can be roughly divided into two distinct groups: i) relatively bright objects with a luminosity around ~10^34 erg/s and (hard) power-law spectra, and ii) fainter ones showing thermal spectra. X-ray pulsations were detected from five objects in group i) with quite a large pulse fraction of 50-70 per cent. The obtained results are discussed within the framework of the models describing the interaction of the in-falling matter with the neutron star magnetic field and those describing heating and cooling in accreting NSs.

Read this paper on arXiv…

S. Tsygankov, R. Wijnands, A. Lutovinov, et. al.
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: 17 pages, 3 figures, 3 tables, submitted to MNRAS

Probing the cosmic ray mass composition in the knee region through TeV secondary particle fluxes from solar surroundings [HEAP]


The possibility of estimating the mass composition of primary cosmic rays above the knee of its energy spectrum through the study of high energy gamma rays, muons and neutrinos produced in the interactions of cosmic rays with the solar ambient matter and radiation has been explored. It is found that the theoretical fluxes of TeV gamma rays, muons and neutrinos from a region around $15^{o}$ of the Sun are sensitive to mass composition of cosmic rays in the PeV energy range. The experimental prospects for detection of such TeV gamma rays/neutrinos by future experiments are discussed.

Read this paper on arXiv…

P. Banik, B. Bijay, S. Sarkar, et. al.
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: 10 pages, 7 figures, to appear in Physical Review D

Descattering of Giant Pulses in PSR B1957+20 [HEAP]


The interstellar medium scatters radio waves which causes pulsars to scintillate. For intrinsically short bursts of emission, the observed signal should be a direct measurement of the impulse response function. We show that this is indeed the case for giant pulses from PSR B1957+20: from baseband observations at 327 MHz, we demonstrate that the observed voltages of a bright pulse allow one to coherently descatter nearby ones. We find that while the scattering timescale is $12.3\,\mu$s, the power in the descattered pulses is concentrated within a span almost two orders of magnitude shorter, of $\lesssim\!200\,$ns. This sets an upper limit to the intrinsic duration of the giant pulses. We verify that the response inferred from the giant pulses is consistent with the scintillation pattern obtained by folding the regular pulsed emission, and that it decorrelates on the same timescale, of~$84\,$s. In principle, with large sets of giant pulses, it should be possible to constrain the structure of the scattering screen much more directly than with other current techniques, such as holography on the dynamic spectrum and cyclic spectroscopy.

Read this paper on arXiv…

R. Main, M. Kerkwijk, U. Pen, et. al.
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: 7 pages, 5 figures

Powerful Solar Signatures of Long-Lived Dark Mediators [HEAP]


Dark matter capture and annihilation in the Sun can produce detectable high-energy neutrinos, providing a probe of the dark matter-proton scattering cross section. We consider the case when annihilation proceeds via long-lived dark mediators, which allows gamma rays to escape the Sun and reduces the attenuation of neutrinos. For gamma rays, there are exciting new opportunities, due to detailed measurements of GeV solar gamma rays with Fermi, and unprecedented sensitivities in the TeV range with HAWC and LHAASO. For neutrinos, the enhanced flux, particularly at higher energies ($\sim$TeV), allows a more sensitive dark matter search with IceCube and KM3NeT. We show that these search channels can be extremely powerful, potentially improving sensitivity to the dark matter spin-dependent scattering cross section by several orders of magnitude relative to present searches for high-energy solar neutrinos, as well as direct detection experiments.

Read this paper on arXiv…

R. Leane, K. Ng and J. Beacom
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: 16 pages, 8 figures

Cosmic rays, gas and dust in nearby anticentre clouds : I — CO-to-H2 conversion factors and dust opacities [HEAP]


We aim to explore the capabilities of dust emission and rays for probing the properties of the interstellar medium in the nearby anti-centre region, using gamma-ray observations with the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT), and the thermal dust optical depth inferred from Planck and IRAS observations. In particular, we aim at quantifying potential variations in cosmic-ray density and dust properties per gas nucleon across the different gas phases and different clouds, and at measuring the CO-to-H2 conversion factor, X$_{CO}$ , in different environments. We have separated six nearby anti-centre clouds that are coherent in velocities and distances, from the Galactic-disc background in HI 21-cm and $^{12}$CO 2.6-mm line emission. We have jointly modelled the gamma-ray intensity recorded between 0.4 and 100 GeV, and the dust optical depth at 353 GHz as a combination of HI-bright, CO-bright, and ionised gas components. The complementary information from dust emission and gamma rays was used to reveal the gas not seen, or poorly traced, by HI , free-free, and $^{12}$CO emissions, namely (i) the opaque HI and diffuse H$_2$ present in the Dark Neutral Medium at the atomic-molecular transition, and (ii) the dense H$_2$ to be added where $^{12}$CO lines saturate. The measured interstellar gamma-ray spectra support a uniform penetration of the cosmic rays with energies above a few GeV through the clouds. We find a gradual increase in grain opacity as the gas becomes more dense. The increase reaches a factor of four to six in the cold molecular regions that are well shielded from stellar radiation. Consequently, the X$_{CO}$ factor derived from dust is systematically larger by 30% to 130% than the gamma-ray estimate. We also evaluate the average gamma-ray X$_{CO}$ factorfor each cloud, and find that X$_{CO}$ tends to decrease from diffuse to more compact molecular clouds, as expected from theory.

Read this paper on arXiv…

Q. Remy, I. Grenier, D. Marshall, et. al.
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: N/A

Probing the Interstellar Dust towards the Galactic Centre: Dust Scattering Halo around AX J1745.6-2901 [HEAP]


AX J1745.6-2901 is an X-ray binary located at only 1.45 arcmin from Sgr A*, showcasing a strong X-ray dust scattering halo. We combine Chandra and XMM-Newton observations to study the halo around this X-ray binary. Our study shows two major thick dust layers along the line of sight (LOS) towards AX J1745.6-2901. The LOS position and $N_{H}$ of these two layers depend on the dust grain models with different grain size distribution and abundances. But for all the 19 dust grain models considered, dust Layer-1 is consistently found to be within a fractional distance of 0.11 (mean value: 0.05) to AX J1745.6-2901 and contains only (19-34)% (mean value: 26%) of the total LOS dust. The remaining dust is contained in Layer-2, which is distributed from the Earth up to a mean fractional distance of 0.64. A significant separation between the two layers is found for all the dust grain models, with a mean fractional distance of 0.31. Besides, an extended wing component is discovered in the halo, which implies a higher fraction of dust grains with typical sizes $\lesssim$ 590 \AA\ than considered in current dust grain models. Assuming AX J1745.6-2901 is 8 kpc away, dust Layer-2 would be located in the Galactic disk several kpc away from the Galactic Centre (GC). The dust scattering halo biases the observed spectrum of AX J1745.6-2901 severely in both spectral shape and flux, and also introduces a strong dependence on the size of the instrumental point spread function and the source extraction region. We build Xspec models to account for this spectral bias, which allow us to recover the intrinsic spectrum of AX J1745.6-2901 free from dust scattering opacity. If dust Layer-2 also intervenes along the LOS to Sgr A* and other nearby GC sources, a significant spectral correction for the dust scattering opacity would be necessary for all these GC sources.

Read this paper on arXiv…

C. Jin, G. Ponti, F. Haberl, et. al.
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: 20 pages, 18 figures, 5 tables, accepted for publication in MNRAS

XMM-Newton and NuSTAR simultaneous X-ray observations of IGR J11215-5952 [HEAP]


We report the results of an XMM-Newton and NuSTAR coordinated observation of the Supergiant Fast X-ray Transient (SFXT) IGRJ11215-5952, performed on February 14, 2016, during the expected peak of its brief outburst, which repeats every about 165 days. Timing and spectral analysis were performed simultaneously in the energy band 0.4-78 keV. A spin period of 187.0 +/- 0.4 s was measured, consistent with previous observations performed in 2007. The X-ray intensity shows a large variability (more than one order of magnitude) on timescales longer than the spin period, with several luminous X-ray flares which repeat every 2-2.5 ks, some of which simultaneously observed by both satellites. The broad-band (0.4-78 keV) time-averaged spectrum was well deconvolved with a double-component model (a blackbody plus a power-law with a high energy cutoff) together with a weak iron line in emission at 6.4 keV (equivalent width, EW, of 40+/-10 eV). Alternatively, a partial covering model also resulted in an adequate description of the data. The source time-averaged X-ray luminosity was 1E36 erg/s (0.1-100 keV; assuming 7 kpc). We discuss the results of these observations in the framework of the different models proposed to explain SFXTs, supporting a quasi-spherical settling accretion regime, although alternative possibilities (e.g. centrifugal barrier) cannot be ruled out.

Read this paper on arXiv…

L. Sidoli, A. Tiengo, A. Paizis, et. al.
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: 13 pages, 11 figures, accepted for publication on The Astrophysical Journal

Indication of a massive circumbinary planet orbiting the Low Mass X-ray Binary MXB 1658-298 [HEAP]


We present an X-ray timing analysis of the transient X-ray binary MXB 1658-298, using data obtained from the RXTE and XMM-Newton observatories. We have made 27 new mid eclipse time measurements from observations made during the two outbursts of the source. These new measurements have been combined with the previously known values to study long term changes in orbital period of the binary system. We have found that the mid-eclipse timing record of MXB 1658-298 is quite unusual. The long term evolution of mid-eclipse times indicates an overall orbital period decay with a time scale of — 6.5(7) x 10^7 year. Over and above this orbital period decay, the O-C residual curve also shows a periodic residual on shorter timescales. This sinusoidal variation has an amplitude of ~9 lt-sec and a period of ~760 d. This is indicative of presence of a third body around the compact X-ray binary. The mass and orbital radius of the third body are estimated to lie in the range, 20.5-26.9 Jupiter mass and 750-860 lt-sec, respectively. If true, then it will be the most massive circumbinary planet and also the smallest period binary known to host a planet.

Read this paper on arXiv…

C. Jain, B. Paul, R. Sharma, et. al.
Tue, 14 Mar 17

Comments: 5 pages, 3 figures, Accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters

The X-ray continuum time-lags and intrinsic coherence in AGN [HEAP]


We present the results from a systematic analysis of the X-ray continuum (`hard’) time-lags and intrinsic coherence between the $2-4\,\mathrm{keV}$ and various energy bands in the $0.3-10\,\mathrm{keV}$ range, for ten X-ray bright and highly variable active galactic nuclei (AGN). We used all available archival \textit{XMM-Newton} data, and estimated the time-lags following Epitropakis \& Papadakis (2016). By performing extensive numerical simulations, we arrived at useful guidelines for computing intrinsic coherence estimates that are minimally biased, have known errors, and are (approximately) Gaussian distributed. Owing to the way we estimated the time-lags and intrinsic coherence, we were able to do a proper model fitting to the data. Regarding the continuum time-lags, we are able to demonstrate that they have a power-law dependence on frequency, with a slope of $-1$, and that their amplitude scales with the logarithm of the light-curve mean-energy ratio. We also find that their amplitude increases with the square root of the X-ray Eddington ratio. Regarding the intrinsic coherence, we found that it is approximately constant at low frequencies. It then decreases exponentially at frequencies higher than a characteristic `break frequency.’ Both the low-frequency constant intrinsic-coherence value and the break frequency have a logarithmic dependence on the light-curve mean-energy ratio. Neither the low-frequency constant intrinsic-coherence value, nor the break frequency exhibit a universal scaling with either the central black hole mass, or the the X-ray Eddington ratio. Our results could constrain various theoretical models of AGN X-ray variability.

Read this paper on arXiv…

A. Epitropakis and I. Papadakis
Tue, 14 Mar 17

Comments: 36 pages, 6 tables, 42 figures (accepted for publication in MNRAS)

Do FRB Mark Dark Core Collapse? [HEAP]


Are some neutron stars produced without a supernova, without ejecting mass in a remnant? Theoretical calculations of core collapse in massive stars often predict this. The observation of the repeating FRB 121102, whose dispersion measure has not changed over several years, suggests that dark core collapses are not just failures of computer codes, but may be real. The existence of one repeating FRB with unchanging dispersion measure is not conclusive, but within a decade hundreds or thousands of FRB are expected to be discovered, likely including scores of repeaters, permitting useful statistical inferences. A na\”{\i}ve supernova remnant model predicts observable decline in dispersion measure for 100 years after its formation. If an upper limit on the decline of 2 pc/cm$^3$-y is set for five repeating FRB, then the na\”{\i}ve model is rejected at the 95\% level of confidence. This may indicate dark neutron star formation without a supernova or supernova remnant. This hypothesis may also be tested with LSST data that would show, if present, a supernova at an interferometric FRB position if it occurred within the LSST epoch.

Read this paper on arXiv…

J. Katz
Tue, 14 Mar 17

Comments: 4 pp

Determination of the Magnetic Fields of Magellanic X-Ray Pulsars [HEAP]


The 80 high-mass X-ray binary (HMXB) pulsars that are known to reside in the Magellanic Clouds (MCs) have been observed by the XMM-Newton and Chandra X-ray telescopes on a regular basis for 15 years, and the XMM-Newton and Chandra archives contain nearly complete information about the duty cycles of the sources with spin periods P_S < 100 s. We have rerprocessed the archival data from both observatories and we combined the output products with all the published observations of 31 MC pulsars with P_S < 100 s in an attempt to investigate the faintest X-ray emission states of these objects that occur when accretion to the polar caps proceeds at the smallest possible rates. These states determine the so-called propeller lines of the accreting pulsars and yield information about the magnitudes of their surface magnetic fields. We have found that the faintest states of the pulsars segregate into five discrete groups which obey to a high degree of accuracy the theoretical relation between spin period and X-ray luminosity. So the entire population of these pulsars can be described by just five propeller lines and the five corresponding magnetic moments (0.29, 0.53, 1.2, 2.9, and 7.3, in units of 10^30 G cm^3).

Read this paper on arXiv…

D. Christodoulou, S. Laycock, J. Yang, et. al.
Tue, 14 Mar 17

Comments: To appear in Reserch in Astronomy and Astrophysics

Radial modes of levitating atmospheres around Eddington-luminosity neutron stars [HEAP]


We consider an optically thin radiation-supported levitating atmosphere suspended well above the stellar surface, as discussed recently in the Schwarzschild metric for a star of luminosity close to the Eddington value. Assuming the atmosphere to be geometrically thin and polytropic, we investigate the eigenmodes and calculate the frequencies of the oscillations of the atmosphere in Newtonian formalism. The ratio of the two lowest eigenfrequencies is $\sqrt{\gamma+1}$, i.e., it only depends on the adiabatic index.

Read this paper on arXiv…

D. Bollimpalli and W. Kluzniak
Tue, 14 Mar 17

Comments: 6 pages, 3 figures, Submitted for publication to MNRAS

First Detection of Mid-Infrared Variability from an Ultraluminous X-Ray Source Holmberg II X-1 [HEAP]


We present mid-infrared (IR) light curves of the Ultraluminous X-ray Source (ULX) Holmberg II X-1 from observations taken between 2014 January 13 and 2017 January 5 with the \textit{Spitzer Space Telescope} at 3.6 and 4.5 $\mu$m in the \textit{Spitzer} Infrared Intensive Transients Survey (SPIRITS). The mid-IR light curves, which reveal the first detection of mid-IR variability from a ULX, is determined to arise primarily from dust emission rather than from a jet or an accretion disk outflow. We derived the evolution of the dust temperature ($T_\mathrm{d}\sim600 – 800$ K), IR luminosity ($L_\mathrm{IR}\sim3\times10^4$ $\mathrm{L}_\odot$), mass ($M_\mathrm{d}\sim1-3\times10^{-6}$ $\mathrm{M}_\odot$), and equilibrium temperature radius ($R_\mathrm{eq}\sim10-20$ AU). A comparison of X-1 with a sample spectroscopically identified massive stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud on a mid-IR color-magnitude diagram suggests that the mass donor in X-1 is a supergiant (sg) B[e]-star. The sgB[e]-interpretation is consistent with the derived dust properties and the presence of the [Fe II] ($\lambda=1.644$ $\mu$m) emission line revealed from previous near-IR studies of X-1. We attribute the mid-IR variability of X-1 to increased heating of dust located in a circumbinary torus. It is unclear what physical processes are responsible for the increased dust heating; however, it does not appear to be associated with the X-ray flux from the ULX given the constant X-ray luminosities provided by serendipitous, near-contemporaneous X-ray observations around the first mid-IR variability event in 2014. Our results highlight the importance of mid-IR observations of luminous X-ray sources traditionally studied at X-ray and radio wavelengths.

Read this paper on arXiv…

R. Lau, M. Heida, M. Kasliwal, et. al.
Tue, 14 Mar 17

Comments: 9 page, 4 figures, 1 table, Accepted to ApJ Letters

Double O-Ne-Mg white dwarfs merging as the source of the Powerfull Gravitational Waves for LIGO/VIRGO type interferometers [HEAP]


New strong non spiralling gravitational waves (GW) source for LIGO/VIRGO detectors are proposed. It is noted that double O-Ne-Mg white dwarfs mergers can produce strong gravitational waves with frequencies in the 600-1200 Hz range. Such events can be followed by the Super Nova type Ia.

Read this paper on arXiv…

V. Lipunov
Tue, 14 Mar 17

Comments: 4 pages, submitted to New Astronomy

On the Absence of Non-thermal X-ray emission around Runaway O stars [HEAP]


Theoretical models predict that the compressed interstellar medium around runaway O stars can produce high-energy non-thermal diffuse emission, in particular, non-thermal X-ray and $\gamma$-ray emission. So far, detection of non-thermal X-ray emission was claimed for only one runaway star AE Aur. We present a search for non-thermal diffuse X-ray emission from bow shocks using archived XMM-Newton observations for a clean sample of 6 well-determined runaway O stars. We find that none of these objects present diffuse X-ray emission associated to their bow shocks, similarly to previous X-ray studies toward $\zeta$ Oph and BD$+$43$^{\circ}$3654. We carefully investigated multi-wavelength observations of AE Aur and could not confirm previous findings of non-thermal X-rays. We conclude that so far there is no clear evidence of non-thermal extended emission in bow shocks around runaway O stars.

Read this paper on arXiv…

J. Toala, L. Oskinova and R. Ignace
Tue, 14 Mar 17

Comments: 6 pages, 2 tables, 3 figures; Accepted to ApJ Letters

Probing the Extragalactic Cosmic Rays origin with gamma-ray and neutrino backgrounds [HEAP]


The GeV-TeV gamma-rays and the PeV-EeV neutrino backgrounds provide a unique window on the nature of the ultra-high-energy cosmic-ray (UHECR). We discuss the implications of the recent Fermi-LAT data regarding the extragalactic gamma-ray background (EGB) and related estimates of the contribution of point sources as well as IceCube neutrino data on the origin of the ultra-high-energy cosmic-ray (UHECR). We calculate the diffuse flux of cosmogenic $\gamma$-rays and neutrinos produced by the UHECRs and derive constraints on the possible cosmological evolution of UHECR sources. In particular, we show that the mixed-composition scenario considered in \citet{Globus2015b}, that is in agreement with both (i) Auger measurements of the energy spectrum and composition up to the highest energies and (ii) the ankle-like feature in the light component detected by KASCADE-Grande, is compatible with both the Fermi-LAT measurements and with current IceCube limits. We also discuss the possibility for future experiments to detect associated cosmogenic neutrinos and further constrain the UHECR models, including possible subdominant UHECR proton sources.

Read this paper on arXiv…

N. Globus, D. Allard, E. Parizot, et. al.
Tue, 14 Mar 17

Comments: 6 pages, 4 figures, submitted to ApJ Letters

Stable accretion from a cold disc in highly magnetized neutron stars [HEAP]


The aim of this paper is to investigate the transition of a strongly magnetized neutron star into the accretion regime with very low accretion rate. For this purpose we monitored the Be-transient X-ray pulsar GRO J1008-57 throughout a full orbital cycle. The current observational campaign was performed with the Swift/XRT telescope in the soft X-ray band (0.5-10 keV) between two subsequent Type I outbursts in January and September 2016. The expected transition to the propeller regime was not observed. However, the transitions between different regimes of accretion were detected. In particular, after an outburst the source entered a stable accretion state characterised by the accretion rate of ~10^14-10^15 g/s. We associate this state with accretion from a cold (non-ionised) disc of temperature below ~6500 K. We argue that a transition to such accretion regime should be observed in all X-ray pulsars with certain combination of the rotation frequency and magnetic field strength. Moreover, the propeller effect should never be observed in such sources even for very low mass accretion rates. The proposed model of accretion from a cold disc is able to explain several puzzling observational properties of X-ray pulsars.

Read this paper on arXiv…

S. Tsygankov, A. Mushtukov, V. Suleimanov, et. al.
Tue, 14 Mar 17

Comments: 10 pages, 4 figures, 1 table, submitted to A&A

Novae: I. The maximum magnitude relation with decline time (MMRD) and distance [HEAP]


The origin and calibration of the maximum absolute magnitude relation with decline time (MMRD) for novae, first derived by Zwicky (1936) empirically validated by McLaughlin (1940) and widely used to estimate distances to classical novae and the near-constancy of the absolute magnitude of novae, 15 days after optical maximum, suggested by Buscombe and de Vaucouleurs (1955) are revisited in this paper and found to be valid. The main results presented in the paper are: (1) A physical derivation of the MMRD based on instantaneous injection of energy to the nova system. (2) A significantly better-constrained MMRD: M_{V,0} = 2.16(+-0.16)log_{10}t_2 – 10.804(+-0.117) using a two step calibration procedure. (3) It is shown that the MMRD is one of the best distance estimators to novae available to us and that accuracy of the distances is predominantly limited by an underestimated peak apparent brightness. (4) It is shown that the same MMRD calibration is applicable to novae of all speed class and to both Galactic and extragalactic novae. (5) It is shown that the absolute magnitudes of novae with 2.4 < t_2 < 86$days have a smaller scatter on day 12 (M_{V,12} = -6.616 +-0.043) compared to day 15 following optical maximum.
We reiterate the need for homogenised high fidelity spectrophotometric data in optical bands on classical and recurrent novae in outburst to effectively utilise the potential of the MMRD and M_{V,12} in determining their luminosities and distances.

Read this paper on arXiv…

N. Kantharia
Tue, 14 Mar 17

Comments: 25 pages

The SNR Puppis A Revisited with Seven Years of Fermi Large Area Telescope Observations [HEAP]


Puppis A is a very famous and extensively studied supernova remnant (SNR) that shows strong evidence of shock-cloud interaction. We re-analyze the GeV $\gamma$-ray emission of it using seven years Pass 8 data recorded by the Fermi Large Area Telescope (Fermi-LAT). The morphology of the $\gamma$-ray emission is more compatible with that of the thermal X-ray and IR emissions than the radio image, which suggests a possible correlation between the gamma-ray emitting region and dense clouds. The $\gamma$-ray spectrum in the energy range of 1-500 GeV shows a break at $7.92\pm1.91$ GeV with the photon indices of $1.81\pm0.08$ below the break and $2.53\pm0.12$ above the break, which can naturally explain the lack of TeV $\gamma$-ray emission from Puppis A. The multi-wavelength observations favor a hadronic origin for the $\gamma$-ray emission.

Read this paper on arXiv…

Y. Xin, X. Guo, N. Liao, et. al.
Tue, 14 Mar 17

Comments: 9 pages, 3 figures, 4 tables, submitted to ApJ, comments are welcome

Light curve and SED modeling of the gamma-ray binary 1FGL J1018.6$-$5856: constraints on the orbital geometry and relativistic flow [HEAP]


We present broadband spectral energy distributions (SEDs) and light curves of the gamma-ray binary 1FGL J1018.6$-$5856 measured in the X-ray and the gamma-ray bands. We find that the orbital modulation in the low-energy gamma-ray band is similar to that in the X-ray band, suggesting a common spectral component. However, above a GeV the orbital light curve changes significantly. We suggest that the GeV band contains significant flux from a pulsar magnetosphere, while the X-ray to TeV light curves are dominated by synchrotron and Compton emission from an intrabinary shock (IBS). We find that a simple one-zone model is inadequate to explain the IBS emission, but that beamed Synchrotron-self Compton radiation from adiabatically accelerated plasma in the shocked pulsar wind can reproduce the complex multiband light curves, including the variable X-ray spike coincident with the gamma-ray maximum. The model requires inclination $\sim$50$^\circ$ and orbital eccentricity $\sim$0.35, consistent with the limited constraints from existing optical observations. This picture motivates searches for pulsations from the energetic young pulsar powering the wind shock.

Read this paper on arXiv…

H. An and R. Romani
Tue, 14 Mar 17

Comments: 10 pages, 5 figures, accepted for publication in ApJ

Steep Decay of GRB X-ray Flares: the Result of Anisotropic Synchrotron Radiation [HEAP]


When an emitting spherical shell with a constant Lorentz factor turns off emission abruptly at some radius, its high-latitude emission would obey the relation of $\hat{\alpha}$ (the temporal index) = $2 + \hat{\beta}$ (the spectral index). However, this relation is violated by the X-ray fares in some gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), whose $\hat{\alpha}$ is much more steeper. We show that the synchrotron radiation should be anisotropic when the angular distribution of accelerated electrons has preferable orientation, and this anisotropy would naturally lead to the steeper decay for the high-latitude emission if the the intrinsic emission is limb-brightened. We use our simple toy model to reproduce the temporal and the spectral evolution of the X-ray flares. We show that our model can well interpret the steep decay of the X-ray flares in the three GRBs selected as example. Recent simulations on particle acceleration may support the specific anisotropic distribution of the electrons adopted in our work. Reversely, confirmation of the anisotropy in the radiation would give meaningful clues to the details of electron acceleration in the emitting region.

Read this paper on arXiv…

J. Geng, Y. Huang and Z. Dai
Tue, 14 Mar 17

Comments: 5 pages, 1 figure, comments are welcome

Cosmic ray driven winds in the Galactic environment and the cosmic ray spectrum [HEAP]


Cosmic Rays escaping the Galaxy exert a force on the interstellar medium directed away from the Galactic disk. If this force is larger than the gravitational pull due to the mass embedded in the Galaxy, then galactic winds may be launched. Such outflows may have important implications for the history of star formation of the host galaxy, and in turn affect in a crucial way the transport of cosmic rays, both due to advection with the wind and to the excitation of waves by the same cosmic rays, through streaming instability. The possibility to launch cosmic ray induced winds and the properties of such winds depend on environmental conditions, such as the density and temperature of the plasma at the base of the wind and the gravitational potential, especially the one contributed by the dark matter halo. In this paper we make a critical assessment of the possibility to launch cosmic ray induced winds for a Milky-Way-like galaxy and how the properties of the wind depend upon the conditions at the base of the wind. Special attention is devoted to the implications of different conditions for wind launching on the spectrum of cosmic rays observed at different locations in the disc of the galaxy. We also comment on how cosmic ray induced winds compare with recent observations of Oxygen absorption lines in quasar spectra and emission lines from blank-sky, as measured by XMM-Newton/EPIC-MOS.

Read this paper on arXiv…

S. Recchia, P. Blasi and G. Morlino
Tue, 14 Mar 17

Comments: N/A

On the orbital evolution of supermassive black hole binaries with circumbinary accretion discs [HEAP]


Gaseous circumbinary accretion discs provide a promising mechanism to facilitate the mergers of supermassive black holes (SMBHs) in galactic nuclei. We measure the torques exerted on accreting SMBH binaries, using 2D, isothermal, moving-mesh, viscous hydrodynamical simulations of circumbinary accretion discs. Our computational domain includes the entire inner region of the circumbinary disk with the individual black holes (BHs) included as point masses on the grid and a sink prescription to model accretion onto each BH. The BHs each acquire their own well-resolved accretion discs (“minidiscs”). We explore a range of mass removal rates for the sink prescription removing gas from the central regions of the minidiscs. We find that the torque exerted on the binary is primarily gravitational, and dominated by the gas orbiting close behind and ahead of the individual BHs. The torques from the distorted circumbinary disc farther out and from the direct accretion of angular momentum are subdominant. The torques are sensitive to the sink prescription: slower sinks result in more gas accumulating near the BHs and more negative torques, driving the binary to merger more rapidly. For faster sinks, the torques are less negative and eventually turn positive (for unphysically fast sinks). When the minidiscs are modeled as standard alpha discs, our results are insensitive to the choice of sink radius. Scaling the simulations to a binary orbital period tbin = 1yr and background disc accretion rate Mdot = 0.3MEdd in Eddington units, the binary inspirals on a timescale of 3X10^6 years, irrespective of the SMBH masses. For binaries with total mass <10^7Msun, this is shorter than the inspiral time due to gravitational wave (GW) emission alone, implying that gas discs will have a significant impact on the SMBH binary population and can affect the GW signal for Pulsar Timing Arrays.

Read this paper on arXiv…

Y. Tang, A. MacFadyen and Z. Haiman
Tue, 14 Mar 17

Comments: N/A

Study of the accretion torque during the 2014 outburst of the X-ray pulsar GRO J1744-28 [HEAP]


We present the spectral and timing analysis of the X-ray pulsar GRO J1744-28 during its 2014 outburst using data collected with the X-ray satellites Swift, INTEGRAL, Chandra, and XMM-Newton. We derived, by phase-connected timing analysis of the observed pulses, an updated set of the source ephemeris. We were also able to investigate the spin-up of the X-ray pulsar as a consequence of the accretion torque during the outburst. Relating the spin-up rate and the mass accretion rate as $\dot{\nu}\propto\dot{M}^{\beta}$, we fitted the pulse phase delays obtaining a value of $\beta=0.96(3)$. Combining the results from the source spin-up frequency derivative and the flux estimation, we constrained the source distance to be between 3.4-4.1 kpc, assuming a disc viscous parameter $\alpha$ to be in the range 0.1-1. Finally, we investigated the presence of a possible spin-down torque by adding a quadratic component to the pulse phase delay model. The marginal statistical improvement of the updated model does not allow us to firmly confirm the presence of this component.

Read this paper on arXiv…

A. Sanna, A. Riggio, L. Burderi, et. al.
Tue, 14 Mar 17

Comments: 12 pages, 5 figures. Accepted for publication in MNRAS

Model-independent search for neutrino sources with the ANTARES neutrino telescope [HEAP]


A novel method to analyse the spatial distribution of neutrino candidates recorded with the ANTARES neutrino telescope is introduced, searching for an excess of neutrinos in a region of arbitrary size and shape from any direction in the sky. Techniques originating from the domains of machine learning, pattern recognition and image processing are used to purify the sample of neutrino candidates and for the analysis of the obtained skymap. In contrast to a dedicated search for a specific neutrino emission model, this approach is sensitive to a wide range of possible morphologies of potential sources of high-energy neutrino emission. The application of these methods to ANTARES data yields a large-scale excess with a post-trial significance of 2.5$\sigma$. Applied to public data from IceCube in its IC40 configuration, an excess consistent with the results from ANTARES is observed with a post-trial significance of 2.1$\sigma$.

Read this paper on arXiv…

A. Albert, M. Andre, M. Anghinolfi, et. al.
Tue, 14 Mar 17

Comments: N/A

White paper on EUSO-SPB2 [HEAP]


EUSO-SPB2 is a second generation Extreme Universe Space Observatory (EUSO) on a Super-Pressure Balloon (SPB). This document describes the physics capabilities, the proposed technical design of the instruments, and the simulation and analysis software.

Read this paper on arXiv…

J. Adams, L. Anchordoqui, J. Apple, et. al.
Tue, 14 Mar 17

Comments: 50 pages revtex, 27 figures

A powerful flare from Sgr A* confirms the synchrotron nature of the X-ray emission [HEAP]


We present the first fully simultaneous fits to the NIR and X-ray spectral slope (and its evolution) during a very bright flare from Sgr A*, the supermassive black hole at the Milky Way’s center. Our study arises from ambitious multi-wavelength monitoring campaigns with XMM-Newton, NuSTAR and SINFONI. The average multi-wavelength spectrum is well reproduced by a broken power-law with $\Gamma_{NIR}=1.7\pm0.1$ and $\Gamma_X=2.27\pm0.12$. The difference in spectral slopes ($\Delta\Gamma=0.57\pm0.09$) strongly supports synchrotron emission with a cooling break. The flare starts first in the NIR with a flat and bright NIR spectrum, while X-ray radiation is detected only after about $10^3$ s, when a very steep X-ray spectrum ($\Delta\Gamma=1.8\pm0.4$) is observed. These measurements are consistent with synchrotron emission with a cooling break and they suggest that the high energy cut-off in the electron distribution ($\gamma_{max}$) induces an initial cut-off in the optical-UV band that evolves slowly into the X-ray band. The temporal and spectral evolution observed in all bright X-ray flares are also in line with a slow evolution of $\gamma_{max}$. We also observe hints for a variation of the cooling break that might be induced by an evolution of the magnetic field (from $B\sim30\pm8$ G to $B\sim4.8\pm1.7$ G at the X-ray peak). Such drop of the magnetic field at the flare peak would be expected if the acceleration mechanism is tapping energy from the magnetic field, such as in magnetic reconnection. We conclude that synchrotron emission with a cooling break is a viable process for Sgr A*’s flaring emission.

Read this paper on arXiv…

G. Ponti, E. George, S. Scaringi, et. al.
Mon, 13 Mar 17

Comments: Accepted for publication in MNRAS

A minority view on the majority: A personal meeting summary on the explosion mechanism of supernovae [HEAP]


In the meeting SN 1987A 30 years later, I presented my minority view that the majority (or even all) of core collapse supernovae (CCSNe) are driven by jets rather than by neutrinos, and that the majority of type Ia supernovae (SN Ia) reach their explosion via the core degenerate scenario. New simulations presented at the meeting did not achieve an explosion of CCSNe. I critically examine other arguments that where presented in support of the neutrino-driven model, and present counter arguments that support the jet-driven explosion mechanism. The jets operate via a negative jet feedback mechanism (JFM). The negative feedback mechanism explains the explosion energy being several times the binding energy of the core in most CCSNe. At the present time when we do not know yet what mechanism explodes massive stars and we do not know yet what evolutionary route leads white dwarfs to explode as SN Ia, we must be open to different ideas and critically examine old notions.

Read this paper on arXiv…

N. Soker
Mon, 13 Mar 17

Comments: To be submitted in a week (to allow comments by readers) to the proceedings of the meeting SN 1987A 30 years later

Investigating multi-frequency pulse profiles of PSRs B0329+54 and B1642-03 in an inverse Compton scattering (ICS) model [HEAP]


The emission geometries, e.g. the emission region height, the beam shape, and radius-to-frequency mapping, are important predictions of pulsar radiation model. The multi-band radio observations carry such valuable information. In this paper, we study two bright pulsars, (PSRs B0329+54 and B1642-03) and observe them in high frequency (2.5 GHz, 5 GHz, and 8 GHz). The newly acquired data together with historical archive provide an atlas of multi-frequency profiles spanning from 100 MHz to 10 GHz. We study the frequency evolution of pulse profiles and the radiation regions with the these data. We firstly fit the pulse profiles with Gaussian functions to determine the phase of each component, and then calculate the radiation altitudes of different emission components and the radiation regions. We find that the inverse Compton scattering (ICS) model can reproduce the radiation geometry of these two pulsars. But for PSR B0329+54 the radiation can be generated in either annular gap (AG) or core gap (CG), while the radiation of PSR B1642-03 can only be generated in the CG. This difference is caused by the inclination angle and the impact angle of these two pulsars. The relation of beaming angle (the angle between the radiation direction and the magnetic axis) and the radiation altitudes versus frequency is also presented by modelling the beam-frequency evolution in the ICS model. The multi-band pulse profiles of these two pulsars can be described well by the ICS model combined with the CG and AG.

Read this paper on arXiv…

L. Shang, J. Lu, Y. Du, et. al.
Mon, 13 Mar 17

Comments: N/A

First results of the Lomonosov TUS and GRB experiments [HEAP]


On April 28, 2016, the Lomonosov satellite, equipped with a number of scientific instruments, was launched into orbit. Here we present briefly some of the results obtained with the first orbital telescope of extreme energy cosmic rays TUS and by a group of detectors aimed at multi-messenger observations of gamma-ray bursts.

Read this paper on arXiv…

S. Biktemerova, A. Bogomolov, V. Bogomolov, et. al.
Mon, 13 Mar 17

Comments: XXV ECRS 2016 Proceedings – eConf C16-09-04.3

Dark neutron stars [HEAP]


There is good evidence that electron-positron pair formation is not present in that section of the pulsar open magnetosphere which is the source of coherent radio emission, but the possibility of two-photon pair creation in an outer gap remains. Calculation of transition rates for this process based on measured whole-surface temperatures, combined with a survey of gamma-ray, X-ray and optical luminosities, expressed per primary beam lepton, shows that few Fermi LAT pulsars have significant outer-gap pair creation. For radio-loud pulsars with positive polar-cap corotational charge density and an ion-proton plasma there must be an outward flow of electrons from some other part of the magnetosphere to maintain a constant net charge on the star. In the absence of pair creation, it is likely that this current is the source of GeV gamma-emission observed by the Fermi LAT and its origin is in the region of the outer gap. With negative polar-cap corotational charge density, the compensating current in the absence of pair creation can consist only of ion or protons. These neutron stars are likely to be radio-quiet, have no observable gamma-emission, and hence can be described as dark neutron stars.

Read this paper on arXiv…

P. Jones
Mon, 13 Mar 17

Comments: 9 pages