Publication archive

Publication archive

Planck has mapped the intensity and polarization of the sky at microwave frequencies with unprecedented sensitivity. We use these data to characterize the frequency dependence of dust emission. We make use of the Planck 353 GHz I, Q, and U Stokes maps as dust templates, and cross-correlate them with the Planck and WMAP data at 12 frequencies from 23 to 353 GHz, over circular patches with 10° radius. The cross-correlation analysis is performed for both intensity and polarization data in a consistent manner. The results are corrected for the chance correlation between the templates and the anisotropies of the cosmic microwave background. We use a mask that focuses our analysis on the diffuse interstellar medium at intermediate Galactic latitudes. We determine the spectral indices of dust emission in intensity and polarization between 100 and 353 GHz, for each sky patch. Both indices are found to be remarkably constant over the sky. The mean values, 1.59 ± 0.02 for polarization and 1.51 ± 0.01 for intensity, for a mean dust temperature of 19.6 K, are close, but significantly different (3.6σ). We determine the mean spectral energy distribution (SED) of the microwave emission, correlated with the 353 GHz dust templates, by averaging the results of the correlation over all sky patches. We find that the mean SED increases for decreasing frequencies at ν< 60 GHz for both intensity and polarization. The rise of the polarization SED towards low frequencies may be accounted for by a synchrotron component correlated with dust, with no need for any polarization of the anomalous microwave emission. We use a spectral model to separate the synchrotron and dust polarization and to characterize the spectral dependence of the dust polarization fraction. The polarization fraction (p) of the dust emission decreases by (21 ± 6)% from 353 to 70 GHz. We discuss this result within the context of existing dust models.
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Published: 14 April 2015
The Planck survey provides unprecedented full-sky coverage of the submillimetre polarized emission from Galactic dust. In addition to the information on the direction of the Galactic magnetic field, this also brings new constraints on the properties of dust. The dust grains that emit the radiation seen by Planck in the submillimetre also extinguish and polarize starlight in the visible. Comparison of the polarization of the emission and of the interstellar polarization on selected lines of sight probed by stars provides unique new diagnostics of the emission and light scattering properties of dust, and therefore of the important dust model parameters, composition, size, and shape. Using ancillary catalogues of interstellar polarization and extinction of starlight, we obtain the degree of polarization, pV, and the optical depth in the V band to the star, τV. Toward these stars we measure the submillimetre polarized intensity, PS, and total intensity, IS, in the Planck 353 GHz channel. We compare the column density measure in the visible, E(B − V), with that inferred from the Planck product map of the submillimetre dust optical depth and compare the polarization direction (position angle) in the visible with that in the submillimetre. For those lines of sight through the diffuse interstellar medium with comparable values of the estimated column density and polarization directions close to orthogonal, we correlate properties in the submillimetre and visible to find two ratios, RS/V = (PS/IS) / (pVV) and RP/p = PS/pV, the latter focusing directly on the polarization properties of the aligned grain population alone.
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Published: 14 April 2015
Polarized emission observed by Planck HFI at 353 GHz towards a sample of nearby fields is presented, focusing on the statistics of polarization fractions p and angles ψ. The polarization fractions and column densities in these nearby fields are representative of the range of values obtained over the whole sky. We find that: (i) the largest polarization fractions are reached in the most diffuse fields; (ii) the maximum polarization fraction pmax decreases with column density NH in the more opaque fields with NH>1021 cm-2; and (iii) the polarization fraction along a given line of sight is correlated with the local spatial coherence of the polarization angle. These observations are compared to polarized emission maps computed in simulations of anisotropic magnetohydrodynamical turbulence in which we assume a uniform intrinsic polarization fraction of the dust grains. We find that an estimate of this parameter may be recovered from the maximum polarization fraction pmax in diffuse regions where the magnetic field is ordered on large scales and perpendicular to the line of sight. This emphasizes the impact of anisotropies of the magnetic field on the emerging polarization signal. The decrease of the maximum polarization fraction with column density in nearby molecular clouds is well reproduced in the simulations, indicating that it is essentially due to the turbulent structure of the magnetic field: an accumulation of variously polarized structures along the line of sight leads to such an anti-correlation. In the simulations, polarization fractions are also found to anti-correlate with the angle dispersion function .
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Published: 14 April 2015
We have used the Planck all-sky submillimetre and millimetre maps to search for rare sources distinguished by extreme brightness, a few hundred millijanskies, and their potential for being situated at high redshift. These "cold" Planck sources, selected using the High Frequency Instrument (HFI) directly from the maps and from the Planck Catalogue of Compact Sources (PCCS), all satisfy the criterion of having their rest-frame far-infrared peak redshifted to the frequency range 353–857 GHz. This colour-selection favours galaxies in the redshift range z = 2–4, which we consider as cold peaks in the cosmic infrared background. With a 4.5' beam at the four highest frequencies, our sample is expected to include overdensities of galaxies in groups or clusters, lensed galaxies, and chance line-of-sight projections. We perform a dedicated Herschel-SPIRE follow-up of 234 such Planck targets, finding a significant excess of red 350 and 500 μm sources, in comparison to reference SPIRE fields. About 94% of the SPIRE sources in the Planck fields are consistent with being overdensities of galaxies peaking at 350 μm, with 3% peaking at 500 μm, and none peaking at 250 μm. About 3% are candidate lensed systems, all 12 of which have secure spectroscopic confirmations, placing them at redshifts z > 2.2. Only four targets are Galactic cirrus, yielding a success rate in our search strategy for identifying extragalactic sources within the Planck beam of better than 98%. The galaxy verdensities are detected with high significance, half of the sample showing statistical significance above 10σ. The SPIRE photometric redshifts of galaxies in overdensities suggest a peak at z ≃ 2, assuming a single common dust temperature for the sources of Td = 35 K.
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Published: 01 April 2015
We have used the Planck all-sky submillimetre and millimetre maps to search for rare sources distinguished by extreme brightness, a few hundred millijanskies, and their potential for being situated at high redshift. These "cold" Planck sources, selected using the High Frequency Instrument (HFI) directly from the maps and from the Planck Catalogue of Compact Sources (PCCS), all satisfy the criterion of having their rest-frame far-infrared peak redshifted to the frequency range 353–857 GHz. This colour-selection favours galaxies in the redshift range z = 2–4, which we consider as cold peaks in the cosmic infrared background. With a 4.5' beam at the four highest frequencies, our sample is expected to include overdensities of galaxies in groups or clusters, lensed galaxies, and chance line-of-sight projections. We perform a dedicated Herschel-SPIRE follow-up of 234 such Planck targets, finding a significant excess of red 350 and 500 μm sources, in comparison to reference SPIRE fields. About 94% of the SPIRE sources in the Planck fields are consistent with being overdensities of galaxies peaking at 350 μm, with 3% peaking at 500 μm, and none peaking at 250 μm. About 3% are candidate lensed systems, all 12 of which have secure spectroscopic confirmations, placing them at redshifts z > 2.2. Only four targets are Galactic cirrus, yielding a success rate in our search strategy for identifying extragalactic sources within the Planck beam of better than 98%. The galaxy verdensities are detected with high significance, half of the sample showing statistical significance above 10σ. The SPIRE photometric redshifts of galaxies in overdensities suggest a peak at z ≃ 2, assuming a single common dust temperature for the sources of Td = 35 K.
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Published: 01 April 2015
Collisions between galaxy clusters provide a test of the nongravitational forces acting on dark matter. Dark matter's lack of deceleration in the "bullet cluster" collision constrained its self-interaction cross section σDM/m < 1.25 square centimeters per gram (cm2/g) [68% confidence limit (CL)] (σDM, self-interaction cross section; m, unit mass of dark matter) for long-ranged forces. Using the Chandra and Hubble Space Telescopes, we have now observed 72 collisions, including both major and minor mergers. Combining these measurements statistically, we detect the existence of dark mass at 7.6σ significance. The position of the dark mass has remained closely aligned within 5.8 ± 8.2 kiloparsecs of associated stars, implying a self-interaction cross section σDM/m < 0.47 cm2/g (95% CL) and disfavoring some proposed extensions to the standard model.
Published: 27 March 2015
Powerful winds driven by active galactic nuclei are often thought to affect the evolution of both supermassive black holes and their host galaxies, quenching star formation and explaining the close relationship between black holes and galaxies. Recent observations of large-scale molecular outflows in ultraluminous infrared galaxies support this quasar-feedback idea, because they directly trace the gas from which stars form. Theoretical models suggest that these outflows originate as energy-conserving flows driven by fast accretion-disk winds. Proposed connections between large-scale molecular outflows and accretion-disk activity in ultraluminous galaxies were incomplete because no accretion-disk wind had been detected. Conversely, studies of powerful accretion-disk winds have until now focused only on X-ray observations of local Seyfert galaxies and a few higher-redshift quasars. Here we report observations of a powerful accretion-disk wind with a mildly relativistic velocity (a quarter that of light) in the X-ray spectrum of IRAS F11119+3257, a nearby (redshift 0.189) optically classified type 1 ultraluminous infrared galaxy hosting a powerful molecular outflow. The active galactic nucleus is responsible for about 80 per cent of the emission, with a quasar-like luminosity of 1.5 × 1046 ergs per second. The energetics of these two types of wide-angle outflows is consistent with the energy-conserving mechanism that is the basis of the quasar feedback in active galactic nuclei that lack powerful radio jets (such jets are an alternative way to drive molecular outflows).
Published: 26 March 2015
Published online 19 March 2015.

Molecular nitrogen (N2) is thought to have been the most abundant form of nitrogen in the protosolar nebula. It is the main N-bearing molecule in the atmospheres of Pluto and Triton, and probably the main nitrogen reservoir from which the giant planets formed. Yet in comets, often considered as the most primitive bodies in the solar system, N2 has not been detected. Here we report the direct in situ measurement of N2 in the Jupiter family comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko made by the ROSINA mass spectrometer aboard the Rosetta spacecraft. A N2/CO ratio of (5.70 ± 0.66) × 10-3 (SEM) corresponds to depletion by a factor of ~25.4 ± 8.9 compared to the protosolar value. This depletion suggests that cometary grains formed at low temperature conditions below ~30 K.

Published: 19 March 2015
First published online: 19 March 2015

We present Cluster measurements of large amplitude electric fields correlated with intense downward field-aligned currents, observed during a nightside crossing of the auroral zone. The data are reproduced by a simple model of magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling which, under different conditions, can also produce a divergent electric field signature in the downward current region, or correlation between the electric and perturbed magnetic fields. We conclude that strong electric field associated with intense downward field-aligned current, such as this observation, is a signature of ionospheric plasma depletion caused by the downward current. It is also shown that the electric field in the downward current region correlates with downward current density if a background field is present, e.g., due to magnetospheric convection.

Published: 19 March 2015
Detection of sodium-salt-rich ice grains emitted from the plume of the Saturnian moon Enceladus suggests that the grains formed as frozen droplets from a liquid water reservoir that is, or has been, in contact with rock. Gravitational field measurements suggest a regional south polar subsurface ocean of about 10 kilometres thickness located beneath an ice crust 30 to 40 kilometres thick. These findings imply rock–water interactions in regions surrounding the core of Enceladus. The resulting chemical 'footprints' are expected to be preserved in the liquid and subsequently transported upwards to the near-surface plume sources, where they eventually would be ejected and could be measured by a spacecraft. Here we report an analysis of silicon-rich, nanometre-sized dust particles (so-called stream particles) that stand out from the water-ice-dominated objects characteristic of Saturn. We interpret these grains as nanometre-sized SiO2 (silica) particles, initially embedded in icy grains emitted from Enceladus' subsurface waters and released by sputter erosion in Saturn's E ring. The composition and the limited size range (2 to 8 nanometres in radius) of stream particles indicate ongoing high-temperature (>90 °C) hydrothermal reactions associated with global-scale geothermal activity that quickly transports hydrothermal products from the ocean floor at a depth of at least 40 kilometres up to the plume of Enceladus.
Published: 12 March 2015
In 1964, Refsdal hypothesized that a supernova whose light traversed multiple paths around a strong gravitational lens could be used to measure the rate of cosmic expansion. We report the discovery of such a system. In Hubble Space Telescope imaging, we have found four images of a single supernova forming an Einstein cross configuration around a redshift z = 0.54 elliptical galaxy in the MACS J1149.6+2223 cluster. The cluster's gravitational potential also creates multiple images of the z = 1.49 spiral supernova host galaxy, and a future appearance of the supernova elsewhere in the cluster field is expected. The magnifications and staggered arrivals of the supernova images probe the cosmic expansion rate, as well as the distribution of matter in the galaxy and cluster lenses.
Published: 06 March 2015
On 2014 October 14 the Sun Watcher with Active Pixels and Image Processing EUV solar telescope on board the Project for On Board Autonomy 2 spacecraft observed an eruption that led to the formation of perhaps the largest post-eruptive loop system seen in the solar corona in solar cycle 24. The initial eruption occurred at about 18:30 UT on October 14, behind the east Solar limb, and was observed as a a coronal mass ejection and an M2.2 solar flare. In the 48 hr following the eruption, the associated post-eruptive loops grew to a height of approximately 4 × 105 km > 0.5 RSun) at rates between 2 and 6 km s-1. We conclude from our observations of this event that ordinary post-eruptive loops and so-called post-flare giant arches are fundamentally the same and are formed by the same magnetic reconnection mechanism.
Published: 01 March 2015
Published online 2 February 2015

The internal ocean of Enceladus can be expected to present conditions favorable to the trapping of volatiles in clathrates. This process could influence the eventual composition of the ocean and therefore of the plumes emitted by the south polar region. Here we used a statistical thermodynamic model to assess which species detected in the plumes by the Cassini-INMS experiment are trapped in clathrates. We treated Enceladus' internal ocean as a terrestrial subglacial lake with a mixture of dissolved volatiles indicated by plume gas measurements. We find that the conditions for clathrate formation are met in this ocean, except above 20 km or in hypothetical hot spots. The formation of multiple guest clathrates depletes methane below plume levels, suggesting that clathrates eventually dissociate (releasing methane) in the fissure that connects the ocean to the surface or that another mechanism (such as hydrothermal reactions) is compensating by adding methane into the ocean.

Published: 26 February 2015
The evolution of galaxies is connected to the growth of supermassive black holes in their centers. During the quasar phase, a huge luminosity is released as matter falls onto the black hole, and radiation-driven winds can transfer most of this energy back to the host galaxy. Over five different epochs, we detected the signatures of a nearly spherical stream of highly ionized gas in the broadband x-ray spectra of the luminous quasar PDS 456. This persistent wind is expelled at relativistic speeds from the inner accretion disk, and its wide aperture suggests an effective coupling with the ambient gas. The outflow's kinetic power larger than 1046 ergs per second is enough to provide the feedback required by models of black hole and host galaxy coevolution.
Published: 20 February 2015
Stars which pass close to the Sun can perturb the Oort cloud, injecting comets into the inner solar system where they may collide with the Earth. Using van Leeuwen's re-reduction of the HIPPARCOS data complemented by the original HIPPARCOS and Tycho-2 catalogues, along with recent radial velocity surveys, I integrate the orbits of over 50 000 stars through the Galaxy to look for close encounters. The search uses a Monte Carlo sampling of the covariance of the data in order to properly characterize the uncertainties in the times, distances, and speeds of the encounters. I show that modelling stellar encounters by assuming instead a linear relative motion produces, for many encounters, inaccurate and biased results. I find 42, 14, and 4 stars which have encounter distances below 2, 1, and 0.5 pc respectively, although some of these stars have questionable data. Of the 14 stars coming within 1 pc, 5 were found by at least one of three previous studies (which found a total of 7 coming within 1 pc). The closest encounter appears to be Hip 85605, a K or M star, which has a 90% probability of coming between 0.04 and 0.20 pc between 240 and 470 kyr from now (90% Bayesian confidence interval). However, its astrometry may be incorrect, in which case the closest encounter found is the K7 dwarf GL 710, which has a 90% probability of coming within 0.10–0.44 pc in about 1.3 Myr. A larger perturbation may have been caused by gamma Microscopii, a G6 giant with a mass of about 2.5 M, which came within 0.35–1.34 pc (90% confidence interval) around 3.8 Myr ago.
Published: 19 February 2015
Context. The first release of astrometric data from Gaia will contain the mean stellar positions and magnitudes from the first year of observations, and proper motions from the combination of Gaia data with Hipparcos prior information (HTPM).
Aims. We study the potential of using the positions from the Tycho-2 Catalogue as additional information for a joint solution with early Gaia data. We call this the Tycho-Gaia astrometric solution (TGAS).
Methods. We adapt Gaia's Astrometric Global Iterative Solution (AGIS) to incorporate Tycho information, and use simulated Gaia observations to demonstrate the feasibility of TGAS and to estimate its performance.
Results. Using six to twelve months of Gaia data, TGAS could deliver positions, parallaxes, and annual proper motions for the 2.5 million Tycho-2 stars, with sub-milliarcsecond accuracy. TGAS overcomes some of the limitations of the HTPM project and allows its execution half a year earlier. Furthermore, if the parallaxes from Hipparcos are not incorporated in the solution, they can be used as a consistency check of the TGAS/HTPM results.
Published: 04 February 2015
In the advent of the Rosetta arrival at the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, we present a global 3D hybrid simulation model of the cometary plasma interaction which resolves the innermost coma sufficiently. As Rosetta will only provide local information, global simulations are required to put these local observations into a wider global perspective. In the selected scenario close to the perihelion, the gas production of the comet is large enough to trigger a cometary bow shock and a small diamagnetic cavity around the nucleus. The simulation reveals the presence of a cometary ionopause and a recombination layer, which is in general agreement with single-fluid MHD simulations. However, we found an asymmetry in the interaction region caused by the pick-up of the cometary ions, which effects all known boundaries. In addition, we study the velocity distributions of the ions and find the presence of three distinct populations of cometary ions at the inner boundaries. The bifurcation created in the ion energy spectrum might be observable by the instruments onboard the Rosetta spacecraft.
Published: 31 January 2015
Published online 26 January 2015

Comets are composed of dust and frozen gases. The ices are mixed with the refractory material either as an icy conglomerate, or as an aggregate of pre-solar grains (grains that existed prior to the formation of the Solar System), mantled by an ice layer. The presence of water-ice grains in periodic comets is now well established. Modelling of infrared spectra obtained about ten kilometres from the nucleus of comet Hartley 2 suggests that larger dust particles are being physically decoupled from fine-grained water-ice particles that may be aggregates, which supports the icy-conglomerate model. It is known that comets build up crusts of dust that are subsequently shed as they approach perihelion. Micrometre-sized interplanetary dust particles collected in the Earth's stratosphere and certain micrometeorites are assumed to be of cometary origin. Here we report that grains collected from the Jupiter-family comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko come from a dusty crust that quenches the material outflow activity at the comet surface. The larger grains (exceeding 50 micrometres across) are fluffy (with porosity over 50 per cent), and many shattered when collected on the target plate, suggesting that they are agglomerates of entities in the size range of interplanetary dust particles. Their surfaces are generally rich in sodium, which explains the high sodium abundance in cometary meteoroids. The particles collected to date therefore probably represent parent material of interplanetary dust particles. This argues against comet dust being composed of a silicate core mantled by organic refractory material and then by a mixture of water-dominated ices. At its previous recurrence (orbital period 6.5 years), the comet's dust production doubled when it was between 2.7 and 2.5 astronomical units from the Sun, indicating that this was when the nucleus shed its mantle.
[Remainder of abstract truncated due to character limitations]

Published: 26 January 2015
Published online 10 December 2014

The provenance of water and organic compounds on the Earth and other terrestrial planets has been discussed for a long time without reaching a consensus. One of the best means to distinguish between different scenarios is by determining the D/H ratios in the reservoirs for comets and the Earth's oceans. Here we report the direct in situ measurement of the D/H ratio in the Jupiter family comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by the ROSINA mass spectrometer aboard ESA's Rosetta spacecraft, which is found to be (5.3 ± 0.7) × 10−4, that is, ~3 times the terrestrial value. Previous cometary measurements and our new finding suggest a wide range of D/H ratios in the water within Jupiter family objects and preclude the idea that this reservoir is solely composed of Earth ocean-like water.

Published: 23 January 2015
24-Nov-2020 09:08 UT

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