Featured Researches

Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics

CMB/kSZ and Compton- y Maps from 2500 square degrees of SPT-SZ and Planck Survey Data

We present component-separated maps of the primary cosmic microwave background/kinematic Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (SZ) amplitude and the thermal SZ Compton- y parameter, created using data from the South Pole Telescope (SPT) and the Planck satellite. These maps, which cover the ??2500 square degrees of the Southern sky imaged by the SPT-SZ survey, represent a significant improvement over previous such products available in this region by virtue of their higher angular resolution (1.25 arcminutes for our highest resolution Compton- y maps) and lower noise at small angular scales. In this work we detail the construction of these maps using linear combination techniques, including our method for limiting the correlation of our lowest-noise Compton- y map products with the cosmic infrared background. We perform a range of validation tests on these data products to test our sky modeling and combination algorithms, and we find good performance in all of these tests. Recognizing the potential utility of these data products for a wide range of astrophysical and cosmological analyses, including studies of the gas properties of galaxies, groups, and clusters, we make these products publicly available at this http URL and on the NASA/LAMBDA website.

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Earth and Planetary Astrophysics

The Reflectance of Cold Classical Trans-Neptunian Objects in the Nearest Infrared

Recent photometric surveys of Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs) have revealed that the cold classical TNOs have distinct z-band color characteristics, and occupy their own distinct surface class. This suggested the presence of an absorption band in the reflectance spectra of cold classicals at wavelengths above 0.8 micron. Here we present reflectance spectra spanning 0.55-1.0 micron for six TNOs occupying dynamically cold orbits at semimajor axes close to 44 au. Five of our spectra show a clear and broadly consistent reduction in spectral gradient above 0.8 micron that diverges from their linear red optical continuum and agrees with their reported photometric colour data. Despite predictions, we find no evidence that the spectral flattening is caused by an absorption band centered near 1.0 micron. We predict that the overall consistent shape of these five spectra is related to the presence of similar refractory organics on each of their surfaces, and/or their similar physical surface properties such as porosity or grain size distribution. The observed consistency of the reflectance spectra of these five targets aligns with predictions that the cold classicals share a common history in terms of formation and surface evolution. Our sixth target, which has been ambiguously classified as either a hot or cold classical at various points in the past, has a spectrum which remains nearly linear across the full range observed. This suggests that this TNO is a hot classical interloper in the cold classical dynamical range, and supports the idea that other such interlopers may be identifiable by their linear reflectance spectra in the range 0.8-1.0 micron.

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Solar and Stellar Astrophysics

Different to the core: the pre-supernova structures of massive single and binary-stripped stars

The majority of massive stars live in binary or multiple systems and will interact during their lifetimes, which helps to explain the observed diversity of core-collapse supernovae. Donor stars in binary systems can lose most of their hydrogen-rich envelopes through mass transfer, which not only affects the surface properties, but also the core structure. However, most calculations of the core-collapse properties of massive stars rely on single-star models. We present a systematic study of the difference between the pre-supernova structures of single stars and stars of the same initial mass (11 - 21\Msun) that have been stripped due to stable post-main sequence mass transfer at solar metallicity. We present the pre-supernova core composition with novel diagrams that give an intuitive representation of the isotope distribution. As shown in previous studies, at the edge of the carbon-oxygen core, the binary-stripped star models contain an extended gradient of carbon, oxygen, and neon. This layer originates from the receding of the convective helium core during core helium burning in binary-stripped stars, which does not occur in single-star models. We find that this same evolutionary phase leads to systematic differences in the final density and nuclear energy generation profiles. Binary-stripped star models have systematically higher total masses of carbon at the moment of core collapse compared to single star models, which likely results in systematically different supernova yields. In about half of our models, the silicon-burning and oxygen-rich layers merge after core silicon burning. We discuss the implications of our findings for the explodability, supernova observations, and nucleosynthesis from these stars. Our models will be publicly available and can be readily used as input for supernova simulations. [Abridged]

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Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics

Testing a Prototype 1U CubeSat on a Stratospheric Balloon Flight

High-altitude balloon experiments are becoming very popular among universities and research institutes as they can be used for testing instruments eventually intended for space, and for simple astronomical observations of Solar System objects like the Moon, comets, and asteroids, difficult to observe from the ground due to atmosphere. Further, they are one of the best platforms for atmospheric studies. In this experiment, we build a simple 1U CubeSat and, by flying it on a high-altitude balloon to an altitude of about 30 km, where the total payload weighted 4.9 kg and examine how some parameters, such as magnetic field, humidity, temperature or pressure, vary as a function of altitude. We also calibrate the magnetometer to remove the hard iron and soft iron errors. Such experiments and studies through a stratospheric balloon flights can also be used to study the performance of easily available commercial sensors in extreme conditions as well. We present the results of the first flight, which helped us study the functionality of the various sensors and electronics at low temperatures reaching about -40 degrees Celsius. Further the motion of the payload has been tracked throughout this flight. This experiment took place on 8 March 2020 from the CREST campus of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore. Using the results from this flight, we identify and rectify the errors to obtain better results from the subsequent flights.

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High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena

Dissecting the Energy Budget of a Gamma-Ray Burst Fireball

The jet composition and radiative efficiency of GRBs are poorly constrained from the data. If the jet composition is matter-dominated (i.e. a fireball), the GRB prompt emission spectra would include a dominant thermal component originating from the fireball photosphere, and a non-thermal component presumably originating from internal shocks whose radii are greater than the photosphere radius. We propose a method to directly dissect the GRB fireball energy budget into three components and measure their values by combining the prompt emission and early afterglow data. The measured parameters include the initial dimensionless specific enthalpy density ( η ), bulk Lorentz factors at the photosphere radius ( ? ph ) and before fireball deceleration ( ? 0 ), the amount of mass loading ( M ), as well as the GRB radiative efficiency ( η γ ). All the parameters can be derived from the data for a GRB with a dominant thermal spectral component, a deceleration bump feature in the early afterglow lightcurve, and a measured redshift. The results only weakly depend on the density n of the interstellar medium when the composition Y parameter (typically unity) is specified.

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Astrophysics of Galaxies

Synergies between low- and intermediate-redshift galaxy populations revealed with unsupervised machine learning

The colour bimodality of galaxies provides an empirical basis for theories of galaxy evolution. However, the balance of processes that begets this bimodality has not yet been constrained. A more detailed view of the galaxy population is needed, which we achieve in this paper by using unsupervised machine learning to combine multi-dimensional data at two different epochs. We aim to understand the cosmic evolution of galaxy subpopulations by uncovering substructures within the colour bimodality. We choose a clustering algorithm that models clusters using only the most discriminative data available, and apply it to two galaxy samples: one from the second edition of the GALEX-SDSS-WISE Legacy Catalogue (GSWLC-2; z??.06 ), and the other from the VIMOS Public Extragalactic Redshift Survey (VIPERS; z??.65 ). We cluster within a nine-dimensional feature space defined purely by rest-frame ultraviolet-through-near-infrared colours. Both samples are similarly partitioned into seven clusters, breaking down into four of mostly star-forming galaxies (including the vast majority of green valley galaxies) and three of mostly passive galaxies. The separation between these two families of clusters suggests differences in the evolution of their galaxies, and that these differences are strongly expressed in their colours alone. The samples are closely related, with star-forming/green-valley clusters at both epochs forming morphological sequences, capturing the gradual internally-driven growth of galaxy bulges. At high stellar masses, this growth is linked with quenching. However, it is only in our low-redshift sample that additional, environmental processes appear to be involved in the evolution of low-mass passive galaxies.

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Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics

CMB/kSZ and Compton- y Maps from 2500 square degrees of SPT-SZ and Planck Survey Data

We present component-separated maps of the primary cosmic microwave background/kinematic Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (SZ) amplitude and the thermal SZ Compton- y parameter, created using data from the South Pole Telescope (SPT) and the Planck satellite. These maps, which cover the ??2500 square degrees of the Southern sky imaged by the SPT-SZ survey, represent a significant improvement over previous such products available in this region by virtue of their higher angular resolution (1.25 arcminutes for our highest resolution Compton- y maps) and lower noise at small angular scales. In this work we detail the construction of these maps using linear combination techniques, including our method for limiting the correlation of our lowest-noise Compton- y map products with the cosmic infrared background. We perform a range of validation tests on these data products to test our sky modeling and combination algorithms, and we find good performance in all of these tests. Recognizing the potential utility of these data products for a wide range of astrophysical and cosmological analyses, including studies of the gas properties of galaxies, groups, and clusters, we make these products publicly available at this http URL and on the NASA/LAMBDA website.

More from Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
Detecting neutrino mass by combining matter clustering, halos, and voids

We quantify the information content of the non-linear matter power spectrum, the halo mass function, and the void size function, using the Quijote N-body simulations. We find that these three statistics exhibit very different degeneracies amongst the cosmological parameters, and thus the combination of all three probes enables the breaking of degeneracies, in turn yielding remarkably tight constraints. We perform a Fisher analysis using the full covariance matrix, including all auto- and cross-correlations, finding that this increases the information content for neutrino mass compared to a correlation-free analysis. The multiplicative improvement of the constraints on the cosmological parameters obtained by combining all three probes compared to using the power spectrum alone are: 137, 5, 8, 20, 10, and 43, for Ω m , Ω b , h , n s , ? 8 , and M ν , respectively. The marginalized error on the sum of the neutrino masses is ?( M ν )=0.018eV for a cosmological volume of 1( h ?? Gpc ) 3 , using k max =0.5h Mpc ?? , and without CMB priors. We note that this error is an underestimate insomuch as we do not consider super-sample covariance, baryonic effects, and realistic survey noises and systematics. On the other hand, it is an overestimate insomuch as our cuts and binning are suboptimal due to restrictions imposed by the simulation resolution. Given upcoming galaxy surveys will observe volumes spanning ??00( h ?? Gpc ) 3 , this presents a promising new avenue to measure neutrino mass without being restricted by the need for accurate knowledge of the optical depth, which is required for CMB-based measurements. Furthermore, the improved constraints on other cosmological parameters, notably Ω m , may also be competitive with CMB-based measurements.

More from Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
The trouble beyond H 0 and the new cosmic triangles

The distance ladder using supernovae yields higher values of the Hubble constant H 0 than those inferred from measurements of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) and galaxy surveys, a discrepancy that has come to be known as the `Hubble tension'. This has motivated the exploration of extensions to the standard cosmological model in which higher values of H 0 can be obtained from CMB measurements and galaxy surveys. The trouble, however, goes beyond H 0 ; such modifications affect other quantities, too. In particular, their effects on cosmic times are usually neglected. We explore here the implications that measurements of the age t U of the Universe, such as a recent inference from the age of the oldest globular clusters, can have for potential solutions to the H 0 tension. The value of H 0 inferred from the CMB and galaxy surveys is related to the sound horizon at CMB decoupling (or at radiation drag), but it is also related to the matter density and to t U . Given this observation, we show how model-independent measurements may support or disfavor proposed new-physics solutions to the Hubble tension. Finally, we argue that cosmological measurements today provide constraints that, within a given cosmological model, represent an over-constrained system, offering a powerful diagnostic tool of consistency. We propose the use of ternary plots to simultaneously visualize independent constraints on key quantities related to H 0 like t U , the sound horizon at radiation drag, and the matter density parameter. We envision that this representation will help find a solution to the trouble of and beyond H 0 .

More from Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
Earth and Planetary Astrophysics

The Reflectance of Cold Classical Trans-Neptunian Objects in the Nearest Infrared

Recent photometric surveys of Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs) have revealed that the cold classical TNOs have distinct z-band color characteristics, and occupy their own distinct surface class. This suggested the presence of an absorption band in the reflectance spectra of cold classicals at wavelengths above 0.8 micron. Here we present reflectance spectra spanning 0.55-1.0 micron for six TNOs occupying dynamically cold orbits at semimajor axes close to 44 au. Five of our spectra show a clear and broadly consistent reduction in spectral gradient above 0.8 micron that diverges from their linear red optical continuum and agrees with their reported photometric colour data. Despite predictions, we find no evidence that the spectral flattening is caused by an absorption band centered near 1.0 micron. We predict that the overall consistent shape of these five spectra is related to the presence of similar refractory organics on each of their surfaces, and/or their similar physical surface properties such as porosity or grain size distribution. The observed consistency of the reflectance spectra of these five targets aligns with predictions that the cold classicals share a common history in terms of formation and surface evolution. Our sixth target, which has been ambiguously classified as either a hot or cold classical at various points in the past, has a spectrum which remains nearly linear across the full range observed. This suggests that this TNO is a hot classical interloper in the cold classical dynamical range, and supports the idea that other such interlopers may be identifiable by their linear reflectance spectra in the range 0.8-1.0 micron.

More from Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
Nitrogen Dioxide Pollution as a Signature of Extraterrestrial Technology

Nitrogen dioxide (NO 2 ) on Earth today has biogenic and anthropogenic sources. During the COVID-19 pandemic, observations of global NO 2 emissions have shown significant decrease in urban areas. Drawing upon this example of NO 2 as an industrial byproduct, we use a one-dimensional photochemical model and synthetic spectral generator to assess the detectability of NO 2 as an atmospheric technosignature on exoplanets. We consider cases of an Earth-like planet around Sun-like, K-dwarf and M-dwarf stars. We find that NO 2 concentrations increase on planets around cooler stars due to less short-wavelength photons that can photolyze NO 2 . In cloud-free results, present Earth-level NO 2 on an Earth-like planet around a Sun-like star at 10pc can be detected with SNR ~5 within ~400 hours with a 15 meter LUVOIR-like telescope when observed in the 0.2 - 0.7micron range where NO 2 has a strong absorption. However, clouds and aerosols can reduce the detectability and could mimic the NO 2 feature. Historically, global NO 2 levels were 3x higher, indicating the capability of detecting a 40-year old Earth-level civilization. Transit and direct imaging observations to detect infrared spectral signatures of NO 2 on habitable planets around M-dwarfs would need several 100s of hours of observation time, both due to weaker NO 2 absorption in this region, and also because of masking features by dominant H 2 O and CO 2 bands in the infrared part of the spectrum. Non-detection at these levels could be used to place upper limits on the prevalence of NO 2 as a technosignature.

More from Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
Theoretical constraints imposed by gradient detection and dispersal on microbial size in astrobiological environments

The capacity to sense gradients efficiently and acquire information about the ambient environment confers many advantages like facilitating movement toward nutrient sources or away from toxic chemicals. The amplified dispersal evinced by organisms endowed with motility is possibly beneficial in related contexts. Hence, the connections between information acquisition, motility, and microbial size are explored from an explicitly astrobiological standpoint. By using prior theoretical models, the constraints on organism size imposed by gradient detection and motility are elucidated in the form of simple heuristic scaling relations. It is argued that environments such as alkaline hydrothermal vents, which are distinguished by the presence of steep gradients, might be conducive to the existence of "small" microbes (with radii of ??.1 μ m) in principle, when only the above two factors are considered; other biological functions (e.g., metabolism and genetic exchange) could, however, regulate the lower bound on microbial size and elevate it. The derived expressions are potentially applicable to a diverse array of settings, including those entailing solvents other than water; for example, the lakes and seas of Titan. The paper concludes with a brief exposition of how this formalism may be of practical and theoretical value to astrobiology.

More from Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
Solar and Stellar Astrophysics

Different to the core: the pre-supernova structures of massive single and binary-stripped stars

The majority of massive stars live in binary or multiple systems and will interact during their lifetimes, which helps to explain the observed diversity of core-collapse supernovae. Donor stars in binary systems can lose most of their hydrogen-rich envelopes through mass transfer, which not only affects the surface properties, but also the core structure. However, most calculations of the core-collapse properties of massive stars rely on single-star models. We present a systematic study of the difference between the pre-supernova structures of single stars and stars of the same initial mass (11 - 21\Msun) that have been stripped due to stable post-main sequence mass transfer at solar metallicity. We present the pre-supernova core composition with novel diagrams that give an intuitive representation of the isotope distribution. As shown in previous studies, at the edge of the carbon-oxygen core, the binary-stripped star models contain an extended gradient of carbon, oxygen, and neon. This layer originates from the receding of the convective helium core during core helium burning in binary-stripped stars, which does not occur in single-star models. We find that this same evolutionary phase leads to systematic differences in the final density and nuclear energy generation profiles. Binary-stripped star models have systematically higher total masses of carbon at the moment of core collapse compared to single star models, which likely results in systematically different supernova yields. In about half of our models, the silicon-burning and oxygen-rich layers merge after core silicon burning. We discuss the implications of our findings for the explodability, supernova observations, and nucleosynthesis from these stars. Our models will be publicly available and can be readily used as input for supernova simulations. [Abridged]

More from Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
The active region source of a type III radio storm observed by Parker Solar Probe during Encounter 2

Context. To investigate the source of a type III radio burst storm during encounter 2 of NASA's Parker Solar Probe (PSP) mission. Aims. It was observed that in encounter 2 of NASA's Parker Solar Probe mission there was a large amount of radio activity, and in particular a noise storm of frequent, small type III bursts from 31st March to 6th April 2019. Our aim is to investigate the source of these small and frequent bursts. Methods. In order to do this, we analysed data from the Hinode EUV Imaging Spectrometer (EIS), PSP FIELDS, and the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA). We studied the behaviour of active region 12737, whose emergence and evolution coincides with the timing of the radio noise storm and determined the possible origins of the electron beams within the active region. To do this, we probe the dynamics, Doppler velocity, non-thermal velocity, FIP bias, densities, and carry out magnetic modelling. Results. We demonstrate that although the active region on the disk produces no significant flares, its evolution indicates it is a source of the electron beams causing the radio storm. They most likely originate from the area at the edge of the active region that shows strong blue-shifted plasma. We demonstrate that as the active region grows and expands, the area of the blue-shifted region at the edge increases, which is also consistent with the increasing area where large-scale or expanding magnetic field lines from our modelling are anchored. This expansion is most significant between 1 and 4 April 2019, coinciding with the onset of the type III storm and the decrease of the individual burst's peak frequency, indicating the height at which the peak radiation is emitted increases as the active region evolves.

More from Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
Energetic Electron Distribution of the Coronal Acceleration Region: First results from Joint Microwave and Hard X-ray Imaging Spectroscopy

Nonthermal sources located above bright flare arcades, referred to as the "above-the-loop-top" sources, have been often suggested as the primary electron acceleration site in major solar flares. The X8.2 limb flare on 2017 September 10 features such an above-the-loop-top source, which was observed in both microwaves and hard X-rays (HXRs) by the Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array (EOVSA) and the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI), respectively. By combining the microwave and HXR imaging spectroscopy observations with multi-filter extreme ultraviolet and soft X-ray imaging data, we derive the energetic electron distribution of this source over a broad energy range from < 10 keV up to ??MeV during the early impulsive phase of the flare. The best-fit electron distribution consists of a thermal "core" from ??25 MK plasma. Meanwhile, a nonthermal power-law "tail" joins the thermal core at ??16 keV with a spectral index of ??3.6, which breaks down at above ??160 keV to > 6.0. In addition, temporally resolved analysis suggests that the electron distribution above the break energy rapidly hardens with the spectral index decreasing from > 20 to ??6.0 within 20 s, or less than ??10 Alfvén crossing times in the source. These results provide strong support for the above-the-loop-top source as the primary site where an on-going bulk acceleration of energetic electrons is taking place very early in the flare energy release.

More from Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics

Testing a Prototype 1U CubeSat on a Stratospheric Balloon Flight

High-altitude balloon experiments are becoming very popular among universities and research institutes as they can be used for testing instruments eventually intended for space, and for simple astronomical observations of Solar System objects like the Moon, comets, and asteroids, difficult to observe from the ground due to atmosphere. Further, they are one of the best platforms for atmospheric studies. In this experiment, we build a simple 1U CubeSat and, by flying it on a high-altitude balloon to an altitude of about 30 km, where the total payload weighted 4.9 kg and examine how some parameters, such as magnetic field, humidity, temperature or pressure, vary as a function of altitude. We also calibrate the magnetometer to remove the hard iron and soft iron errors. Such experiments and studies through a stratospheric balloon flights can also be used to study the performance of easily available commercial sensors in extreme conditions as well. We present the results of the first flight, which helped us study the functionality of the various sensors and electronics at low temperatures reaching about -40 degrees Celsius. Further the motion of the payload has been tracked throughout this flight. This experiment took place on 8 March 2020 from the CREST campus of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore. Using the results from this flight, we identify and rectify the errors to obtain better results from the subsequent flights.

More from Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
Going Forward with the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope Transient Survey: Validation of Precision Forward-Modeling Photometry for Undersampled Imaging

The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope (Roman) is an observatory for both wide-field observations and coronagraphy that is scheduled for launch in the mid 2020's. Part of the planned survey is a deep, cadenced field or fields that enable cosmological measurements with type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia). With a pixel scale of 0".11, the Wide Field Instrument will be undersampled, presenting a difficulty for precisely subtracting the galaxy light underneath the SNe. We use simulated data to validate the ability of a forward-model code (such codes are frequently also called "scene-modeling" codes) to perform precision supernova photometry for the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope SN survey. Our simulation includes over 760,000 image cutouts around SNe Ia or host galaxies (~ 10% of a full-scale survey). To have a realistic 2D distribution of underlying galaxy light, we use the VELA simulated high-resolution images of galaxies. We run each set of cutouts through our forward-modeling code which automatically measures time-dependent SN fluxes. Given our assumed inputs of a perfect model of the instrument PSFs and calibration, we find biases at the millimagnitude level from this method in four red filters (Y106, J129, H158, and F184), easily meeting the 0.5% Roman inter-filter calibration requirement for a cutting-edge measurement of cosmological parameters using SNe Ia. Simulated data in the bluer Z087 filter shows larger ~ 2--3 millimagnitude biases, also meeting this requirement, but with more room for improvement. Our forward-model code has been released on Zenodo.

More from Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
Confirming ALMA Calibration using Planck and ACT Observations

We test the accuracy of ALMA flux density calibration by comparing ALMA flux density measurements of extragalactic sources to measurements made by the Planck mission; Planck is absolutely calibrated to sub-percent precision using the dipole signal induced by the satellite's orbit around the solar system barycenter. Planck observations ended before ALMA began systematic observations, however, and many of the sources are variable, so we employ measurements by the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) to bridge the two epochs. We compare ACT observations at 93 and ??145 GHz to Planck measurements at 100 and 143 GHz and to ALMA measurements made at 91.5 and 103.5 GHz in Band 3. For both comparisons, flux density measurements were corrected to account for the small differences in frequency using the best available spectral index for each source. We find the ALMA flux density scale (based on observations of Uranus) is consistent with Planck. All methods used to make the comparison are consistent with ALMA flux densities in Band 3 averaging 0.99 times those measured by Planck. One specific test gives ALMA/Planck = 0.996±0.024. We also test the absolute calibration of both ACT at 93 and ??145 GHz and the South Pole Telescope (SPT) at 97.43, 152.9 and 215.8 GHz, again with reference to Planck measurements at 100, 143 and 217 GHz, as well as the internal consistency of measurements of compact sources made by all three instruments.

More from Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena

Dissecting the Energy Budget of a Gamma-Ray Burst Fireball

The jet composition and radiative efficiency of GRBs are poorly constrained from the data. If the jet composition is matter-dominated (i.e. a fireball), the GRB prompt emission spectra would include a dominant thermal component originating from the fireball photosphere, and a non-thermal component presumably originating from internal shocks whose radii are greater than the photosphere radius. We propose a method to directly dissect the GRB fireball energy budget into three components and measure their values by combining the prompt emission and early afterglow data. The measured parameters include the initial dimensionless specific enthalpy density ( η ), bulk Lorentz factors at the photosphere radius ( ? ph ) and before fireball deceleration ( ? 0 ), the amount of mass loading ( M ), as well as the GRB radiative efficiency ( η γ ). All the parameters can be derived from the data for a GRB with a dominant thermal spectral component, a deceleration bump feature in the early afterglow lightcurve, and a measured redshift. The results only weakly depend on the density n of the interstellar medium when the composition Y parameter (typically unity) is specified.

More from High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
Estimates of the early EM emission from compact binary mergers

Compact binary mergers that involve at least one neutron star, either binary neutron star or black hole--neutron star coalescences, are thought to be the potential sources of electromagnetic emission due to the material ejected during the merger or those left outside the central object after the merger. Since the intensity of these electromagnetic transients decay rapidly with time, one should pay more attention to early emissions from such events, which are useful in revealing the nature of these mergers. In this work, we study the early emission of kilonovae, short γ -ray bursts and cocoons that could be produced in those mergers. We estimate their luminosities and time scales as functions of the chirp mass which is the most readily constrained parameter from the gravitational wave detections of these events. We focus on the range of chirp mass as 1.3 M ????.7 M ??which is compatible with one of the merging component being a so-called `mass gap' black hole. We show that the electromagnetic observation of these transients could be used to distinguish the types of the mergers when the detected chirp mass falls in the range of 1.5 M ????.7 M ??. Applying our analysis to the sub-threshold GRB GBM-190816, we found that for this particular event the effective spin should be larger than 0.6 and the mass of the heavier object might be larger than 5.5 M ??for the SFHo equation of state.

More from High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
The Relativistic Binary Programme on MeerKAT: Science objectives and first results

We describe the ongoing Relativistic Binary programme (RelBin), a part of the MeerTime large survey project with the MeerKAT radio telescope. RelBin is primarily focused on observations of relativistic effects in binary pulsars to enable measurements of neutron star masses and tests of theories of gravity. We selected 25 pulsars as an initial high priority list of targets based on their characteristics and observational history with other telescopes. In this paper, we provide an outline of the programme, present polarisation calibrated pulse profiles for all selected pulsars as a reference catalogue along with updated dispersion measures. We report Faraday rotation measures for 24 pulsars, twelve of which have been measured for the first time. More than a third of our selected pulsars show a flat position angle swing confirming earlier observations. We demonstrate the ability of the Rotating Vector Model (RVM), fitted here to seven binary pulsars, including the Double Pulsar (PSR J0737 ??3039A), to obtain information about the orbital inclination angle. We present a high time resolution light curve of the eclipse of PSR J0737 ??3039A by the companion's magnetosphere, a high-phase resolution position angle swing for PSR J1141 ??6545, an improved detection of the Shapiro delay of PSR J1811 ??2405, and pulse scattering measurements for PSRs J1227 ??6208, J1757 ??1854, and J1811 ??1736. Finally, we demonstrate that timing observations with MeerKAT improve on existing data sets by a factor of, typically, 2-3, sometimes by an order of magnitude.

More from High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
Astrophysics of Galaxies

Synergies between low- and intermediate-redshift galaxy populations revealed with unsupervised machine learning

The colour bimodality of galaxies provides an empirical basis for theories of galaxy evolution. However, the balance of processes that begets this bimodality has not yet been constrained. A more detailed view of the galaxy population is needed, which we achieve in this paper by using unsupervised machine learning to combine multi-dimensional data at two different epochs. We aim to understand the cosmic evolution of galaxy subpopulations by uncovering substructures within the colour bimodality. We choose a clustering algorithm that models clusters using only the most discriminative data available, and apply it to two galaxy samples: one from the second edition of the GALEX-SDSS-WISE Legacy Catalogue (GSWLC-2; z??.06 ), and the other from the VIMOS Public Extragalactic Redshift Survey (VIPERS; z??.65 ). We cluster within a nine-dimensional feature space defined purely by rest-frame ultraviolet-through-near-infrared colours. Both samples are similarly partitioned into seven clusters, breaking down into four of mostly star-forming galaxies (including the vast majority of green valley galaxies) and three of mostly passive galaxies. The separation between these two families of clusters suggests differences in the evolution of their galaxies, and that these differences are strongly expressed in their colours alone. The samples are closely related, with star-forming/green-valley clusters at both epochs forming morphological sequences, capturing the gradual internally-driven growth of galaxy bulges. At high stellar masses, this growth is linked with quenching. However, it is only in our low-redshift sample that additional, environmental processes appear to be involved in the evolution of low-mass passive galaxies.

More from Astrophysics of Galaxies
Forming massive seed black holes in high-redshift quasar host progenitors

The presence of massive black holes (BHs) with masses of order 10 9 M ??, powering bright quasars when the Universe was less than 1 Gyr old, poses strong constraints on their formation mechanism. Several scenarios have been proposed to date to explain massive BH formation, from the low-mass seed BH remnants of the first generation of stars to the massive seed BHs resulting from the rapid collapse of massive gas clouds. However, the plausibility of some of these scenarios to occur within the progenitors of high-z quasars has not yet been thoroughly explored. In this work, we investigate, by combining dark-matter only N-body simulations with a semi-analytic framework, whether the conditions for the formation of massive seed BHs from synchronised atomic-cooling halo pairs and/or dynamically-heated mini-haloes are fulfilled in the overdense regions where the progenitors of a typical high-redshift quasar host form and evolve. Our analysis shows that the peculiar conditions in such regions, i.e. strong halo clustering and high star formation rates, are crucial to produce a non-negligible number of massive seed BH host candidates: we find ??400 dynamically heated metal-free mini-haloes, including one of these which evolves to a synchronised pair and ends up in the massive quasar-host halo by z=6 . This demonstrates that the progenitors of high-redshift quasar host haloes can harbour early massive seed BHs. Our results further suggest that multiple massive seed BHs may form in or near the quasar host's progenitors, potentially merging at lower redshifts and yielding gravitational wave events.

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It's Cloud's Illusions I Recall: Mixing Drives the Acceleration of Clouds from Ram Pressure Stripped Galaxies

Ram Pressure Stripping can remove gas from satellite galaxies in clusters via a direct interaction between the intracluster medium (ICM) and the interstellar medium. This interaction is generally thought of as a contact force per area, however we point out that these gases must interact in a hydrodynamic fashion, and argue that this will lead to mixing of the galactic gas with the ICM wind. We develop an analytic framework for how mixing is related to the acceleration of stripped gas from a satellite galaxy. We then test this model using three "wind-tunnel" simulations of Milky Way-like galaxies interacting with a moving ICM, and find excellent agreement with predictions using the analytic framework. Focusing on the dense clumps in the stripped tails, we find that they are nearly uniformly mixed with the ICM, indicating that all gas in the tail mixes with the surroundings, and dense clumps are not separate entities to be modeled differently than diffuse gas. We find that while mixing drives acceleration of stripped gas, the density and velocity of the surrounding wind will determine whether the mixing results in the heating of stripped gas into the ICM, or the cooling of the ICM into dense clouds.

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