Asteroseismic inversions in the Kepler era: application to the Kepler Legacy sample [SSA]

In the past few years, the CoRoT and Kepler missions have carried out what is now called the space photometry revolution. This revolution is still ongoing thanks to K2 and will be continued by the Tess and Plato2.0 missions. However, the photometry revolution must also be followed by progress in stellar modelling, in order to lead to more precise and accurate determinations of fundamental stellar parameters such as masses, radii and ages. In this context, the long-lasting problems related to mixing processes in stellar interior is the main obstacle to further improvements of stellar modelling. In this contribution, we will apply structural asteroseismic inversion techniques to targets from the Kepler Legacy sample and analyse how these can help us constrain the fundamental parameters and mixing processes in these stars. Our approach is based on previous studies using the SOLA inversion technique to determine integrated quantities such as the mean density, the acoustic radius, and core conditions indicators, and has already been successfully applied to the 16Cyg binary system. We will show how this technique can be applied to the Kepler Legacy sample and how new indicators can help us to further constrain the chemical composition profiles of stars as well as provide stringent constraints on stellar ages.

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G. Buldgen, D. Reese and M. Dupret
Fri, 24 Feb 17

Comments: To appear in the proceedings of the Kasc 9 Tasc 2 workshop

A Hubble Space Telescope Survey for Novae in M87. III. Novae as Effective Standard Candles [SSA]

Ten weeks’ daily imaging of the giant elliptical galaxy M87 with the Hubble Space Telescope has yielded 41 nova light curves of unprecedented quality for extragalactic cataclysmic variables. We have recently used these light curves to demonstrate that the observational scatter in the so-called Maximum-Magnitude Rate of Decline (MMRD) relation for classical novae is so large as to render the nova-MMRD useless as a standard candle. Here we demonstrate that the Buscombe – de Vaucouleurs hypothesis, that all novae converge to nearly the same absolute magnitude about two weeks after maximum light, is strongly supported by our M87 nova data. For 24 novae in V-band (F606W filter) and I-band (F814W filter) light with daily-sampled light curves and well determined maxima, we find that the times of minimum scatter of nova absolute magnitude are, respectively, 17 and 20 days after maximum light. At those epochs novae display M_{V,17} = -6.06 +/- 0.23 and M_{I,20} = -6.11 +/- 0.34 . The distances of single novae in the Milky Way, sparse or elliptical galaxies, or free-floating in intergalactic space can be reasonably well-determined with the above calibrations.

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M. Shara, T. Doyle, A. Pagnotta, et. al.
Fri, 24 Feb 17

Comments: 11 pages, 4 figures, submitted to the Astrophysical Journal

A chemical signature from fast-rotating low-metallicity massive stars: ROA 276 in omega Centauri [SSA]

We present a chemical abundance analysis of a metal-poor star, ROA 276, in the stellar system omega Centauri. We confirm that this star has an unusually high [Sr/Ba] abundance ratio. Additionally, ROA 276 exhibits remarkably high abundance ratios, [X/Fe], for all elements from Cu to Mo along with normal abundance ratios for the elements from Ba to Pb. The chemical abundance pattern of ROA 276, relative to a primordial omega Cen star ROA 46, is best fit by a fast-rotating low-metallicity massive stellar model of 20 Msun, [Fe/H] = -1.8, and an initial rotation 0.4 times the critical value; no other nucleosynthetic source can match the neutron-capture element distribution. ROA 276 arguably offers the most definitive proof to date that fast-rotating massive stars contributed to the production of heavy elements in the early Universe.

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D. Yong, J. Norris, G. Costa, et. al.
Fri, 24 Feb 17

Comments: ApJ in press

The Ages of the Thin Disk, Thick Disk, and the Halo from Nearby White Dwarfs [SSA]

We present a detailed analysis of the white dwarf luminosity functions derived from the local 40 pc sample and the deep proper motion catalog of Munn et al (2014, 2017). Many of the previous studies ignored the contribution of thick disk white dwarfs to the Galactic disk luminosity function, which results in an erronous age measurement. We demonstrate that the ratio of thick/thin disk white dwarfs is roughly 20\% in the local sample. Simultaneously fitting for both disk components, we derive ages of 6.8-7.0 Gyr for the thin disk and 8.7 $\pm$ 0.1 Gyr for the thick disk from the local 40 pc sample. Similarly, we derive ages of 7.4-8.2 Gyr for the thin disk and 9.5-9.9 Gyr for the thick disk from the deep proper motion catalog, which shows no evidence of a deviation from a constant star formation rate in the past 2.5 Gyr. We constrain the time difference between the onset of star formation in the thin disk and the thick disk to be $1.6^{+0.3}_{-0.4}$ Gyr. The faint end of the luminosity function for the halo white dwarfs is less constrained, resulting in an age estimate of $12.5^{+1.4}_{-3.4}$ Gyr for the Galactic inner halo. This is the first time ages for all three major components of the Galaxy are obtained from a sample of field white dwarfs that is large enough to contain significant numbers of disk and halo objects. The resultant ages agree reasonably well with the age estimates for the oldest open and globular clusters.

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M. Kilic, J. Munn, H. Harris, et. al.
Fri, 24 Feb 17

Comments: ApJ, in press

FUSE Spectroscopy of the Accreting Hot Components in Symbiotic Variables [SSA]

We have conducted a spectroscopic analysis of the far ultraviolet archival spectra of four symbiotic variables, EG And, AE Ara, CQ Dra and RW Hya. RW Hya and EG And have never had a recorded outburst while CQ Dra and AE Ara have outburst histories. We analyze these systems while they are in quiescence in order to help reveal the physical properties of their hot components via comparisons of the observations with optically thick accretion disk models and NLTE model white dwarf photospheres. We have extended the wavelength coverage down to the Lyman Limit with FUSE spectra. We find that the hot component in RW Hya is a low mass white dwarf with a surface temperature of 160,000K. We re-examine whether or not the symbiotic system CQ Dra is a triple system with a red giant transferring matter to a hot component made up of a cataclysmic variable in which the white dwarf has a surface temperature as low as $\sim$20,000K. The very small size of the hot component contributing to the shortest wavelengths of the FUSE spectrum of CQ Dra agrees with an optically thick and geometrically thin ($\sim$4\% of the WD surface) hot ($\sim 120,000$K) boundary layer. Our analysis of EG And reveals that its hot component is a hot, bare, low mass white dwarf with a surface temperature of 80-95,000K, with a surface gravity $\log(g)= 7.5$. For AE Ara, we also find that a low gravity ($\log(g) \sim 6$) hot ($T \sim 130,000$K) WD accounts for the hot component.

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E. Sion, P. Godon, J. Mikolajewska, et. al.
Fri, 24 Feb 17

Comments: Accepted for publication in the Astronomical Journal. arXiv admin note: substantial text overlap with arXiv:1511.07352

Starspot activity and superflares on solar-type stars [SSA]

We analyze the correlation between starspots and superflares on solar-type stars using observations from the Kepler mission. The analysis shows that the observed fraction of stars with superflares decreases as the rotation period increases and as the amplitude of photometric variability associated with rotation decreases. We found that the fraction of stars with superflares among the stars showing large-amplitude rotational variations, which are thought to be the signature of the large starspots, also decreases as the rotation period increases. The small fraction of superflare stars among the stars with large starspots in the longer-period regime suggests that some of the stars with large starspots show a much lower flare activity than the superflare stars with the same spot area. Assuming simple relations between spot area and lifetime and between spot temperature and photospheric temperature, we compared the size distribution of large starspot groups on slowly-rotating solar-type stars with that of sunspot groups. The size distribution of starspots shows the power-law distribution and the size distribution of larger sunspots lies on this power-law line. We also found that frequency-energy distributions for flares originating from spots with different sizes are the same for solar-type stars with superflares and the Sun. These results suggest that the magnetic activity we observe on solar-type stars with superflares and that on the Sun is caused by the same physical processes.

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H. Maehara, Y. Notsu, S. Notsu, et. al.
Fri, 24 Feb 17

Comments: Accepted for publication in PASJ

On the origin of the flare emission in IRIS' SJI 2832 filter: Balmer continuum or spectral lines? [SSA]

Continuum (“White-light”, WL) emission dominates the energetics of flares. Filter-based observations, such as the IRIS SJI 2832 filter, show WL-like brightenings during flares, but it is unclear whether the emission arises from real continuum emission or enhanced spectral lines, possibly turning into emission. The difficulty in filter-based observations, contrary to spectral observations, is to determine which processes contribute to the observed brightening during flares. Here we determine the contribution of the Balmer continuum and the spectral line emission to IRIS’ SJI 2832 emission by analyzing the appropriate passband in simultaneous IRIS NUV spectra. We find that spectral line emission can contribute up to 100% to the observed SJI emission, that the relative contributions usually temporally vary, and that the highest SJI enhancements that are observed are most likely because of the Balmer continuum. We conclude that care should be taken when calling SJI 2832 a continuum filter during flares, because the influence of the lines on the emission can be significant.

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L. Kleint, P. Heinzel and S. Krucker
Fri, 24 Feb 17

Comments: Accepted for publication by ApJ