Publication archive

Publication archive

The Rosetta mission shall accompany comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from a heliocentric distance of >3.6 astronomical units through perihelion passage at 1.25 astronomical units, spanning low and maximum activity levels. Initially, the solar wind permeates the thin comet atmosphere formed from sublimation, until the size and plasma pressure of the ionized atmosphere define its boundaries: A magnetosphere is born. Using the Rosetta Plasma Consortium ion composition analyzer, we trace the evolution from the first detection of water ions to when the atmosphere begins repelling the solar wind (~3.3 astronomical units), and we report the spatial structure of this early interaction. The near-comet water population comprises accelerated ions (<800 electron volts), produced upstream of Rosetta, and lower energy locally produced ions; we estimate the fluxes of both ion species and energetic neutral atoms.
Published: 23 January 2015
Comets contain the best-preserved material from the beginning of our planetary system. Their nuclei and comae composition reveal clues about physical and chemical conditions during the early solar system when comets formed. ROSINA (Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis) onboard the Rosetta spacecraft has measured the coma composition of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko with well-sampled time resolution per rotation. Measurements were made over many comet rotation periods and a wide range of latitudes. These measurements show large fluctuations in composition in a heterogeneous coma that has diurnal and possibly seasonal variations in the major outgassing species: water, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. These results indicate a complex coma-nucleus relationship where seasonal variations may be driven by temperature differences just below the comet surface.
Published: 23 January 2015
Supermassive black holes (SMBHs) are found ubiquitously in large, bulge-dominated galaxies throughout the local universe, yet little is known about their presence and properties in bulgeless and low-mass galaxies. This is a significant deficiency, since the mass distribution and occupation fraction of nonstellar black holes provide important observational constraints on SMBH seed formation theories and many dwarf galaxies have not undergone major mergers that would erase information on their original black hole population. Using data from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, we discovered hundreds of bulgeless and dwarf galaxies that display mid-infrared signatures of extremely hot dust highly suggestive of powerful accreting massive black holes, despite having no signatures of black hole activity at optical wavelengths. Here we report, in our first follow-up X-ray investigation of this population, that the irregular dwarf galaxy J132932.41+323417.0 (z = 0.0156) contains a hard, unresolved X-ray source detected by XMM-Newton with luminosity L2-10 keV = 2.4 × 1040 erg s-1, over two orders of magnitude greater than that expected from star formation, strongly suggestive of the presence of an accreting massive black hole. While enhanced X-ray emission and hot dust can be produced in extremely low metallicity environments, J132932.41+323417.0 is not extremely metal poor (≈40% solar). With a stellar mass of 2.0 × 108 M, this galaxy is similar in mass to the Small Magellanic Cloud, and is one of the lowest mass galaxies with evidence for a massive nuclear black hole currently known.
Published: 18 December 2014
The structure of Earth's magnetosphere is poorly understood when the interplanetary magnetic field is northward. Under this condition, uncharacteristically energetic plasma is observed in the magnetotail lobes, which is not expected in the textbook model of the magnetosphere. Using satellite observations, we show that these lobe plasma signatures occur on high-latitude magnetic field lines that have been closed by the fundamental plasma process of magnetic reconnection. Previously, it has been suggested that closed flux can become trapped in the lobe and that this plasma-trapping process could explain another poorly understood phenomenon: the presence of auroras at extremely high latitudes, called transpolar arcs. Observations of the aurora at the same time as the lobe plasma signatures reveal the presence of a transpolar arc. The excellent correspondence between the transpolar arc and the trapped closed flux at high altitudes provides very strong evidence of the trapping mechanism as the cause of transpolar arcs.
Published: 18 December 2014
Dusty, star-forming galaxies have a critical role in the formation and evolution of massive galaxies in the Universe. Using deep far-infrared imaging in the range 100-500 μm obtained with the Herschel telescope, we investigate the dust-obscured star formation (SF) in the galaxy cluster XDCP J0044.0-2033 at z = 1.58, the most massive cluster at z > 1.5, with a measured mass M200 = 4.7+1.4-0.9 × 1014 M. We perform an analysis of the spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of 12 cluster members (5 spectroscopically confirmed) detected with ≥3σ significance in the PACS maps, all ultraluminous infrared galaxies. The individual star formation rates (SFRs) lie in the range 155-824 M yr-1, with dust temperatures of 24-35 K. We measure a strikingly high amount of SF in the cluster core, SFR (<250 kpc) ≥ 1875 ± 158 M yr-1, four times higher than the amount of SF in the cluster outskirts. This scenario is unprecedented in a galaxy cluster, showing for the first time a reversal of the SF-density relation at z ~ 1.6 in a massive cluster.
Published: 13 December 2014
Late stages of stellar evolution are characterized by copious mass-loss events whose signature is the formation of circumstellar envelopes (CSE). Planck multi-frequency measurements have provided relevant information on a sample of Galactic planetary nebulae (PNe) in the important and relatively unexplored observational band between 30 and 857 GHz. Planck enables the assembly of comprehensive PNe spectral energy distributions (SEDs) from radio to far-IR frequencies. Modelling the derived SEDs provides us with information on physical properties of CSEs and the mass content of both main components: ionized gas, traced by the free-free emission at cm–mm waves; and thermal dust, traced by the millimetre and far-IR emission. In particular, the amount of ionized gas and dust has been derived here. Such quantities have also been estimated for the very young PN CRL 618, where the strong variability observed in its radio and millimetre emission has previously prevented constructing its SED. A morphological study of the Helix Nebula was also performed. Planck maps reveal, for the first time, the spatial distribution of the dust inside the envelope, allowing us to identify different components, the most interesting of which is a very extended component (up to 1 pc) that may be related to a region where the slow expanding envelope is interacting with the surrounding interstellar medium.
Published: 08 December 2014
We use measurements of nitrogen abundances in red giants to search for multiple stellar populations in the four most metal-poor globular clusters (GCs) in the Fornax dwarf spheroidal galaxy (Fornax 1, 2, 3, and 5). New imaging in the F343N filter, obtained with the Wide Field Camera 3 on the Hubble Space Telescope, is combined with archival F555W and F814W observations to determine the strength of the NH band near 3370 AA. After accounting for observational errors, the spread in the F343N-F555W colors of red giants in the Fornax GCs is similar to that in M15 and corresponds to an abundance range of Delta([N/Fe])=2 dex, as observed also in several Galactic GCs. The spread in F555W-F814W is, instead, fully accounted for by observational errors. The stars with the reddest F343N-F555W colors (indicative of N-enhanced composition) have more centrally concentrated radial distributions in all four clusters, although the difference is not highly statistically significant within any individual cluster. From double-Gaussian fits to the color distributions we find roughly equal numbers of "N-normal" and "N-enhanced" stars (formally about 40% N-normal stars in Fornax 1, 3, and 5 and 60% in Fornax 2). We conclude that GC formation, in particular regarding the processes responsible for the origin of multiple stellar populations, appears to have operated similarly in the Milky Way and in the Fornax dSph. Combined with the high ratio of metal-poor GCs to field stars in the Fornax dSph, this places an important constraint on scenarios for the origin of multiple stellar populations in GCs.
Published: 20 November 2014
We provide a revised assessment of the number of exoplanets that should be discovered by Gaia astrometry, extending previous studies to a broader range of spectral types, distances, and magnitudes. Our assessment is based on a large representative sample of host stars from the TRILEGAL Galaxy population synthesis model, recent estimates of the exoplanet frequency distributions as a function of stellar type, and detailed simulation of the Gaia observations using the updated instrument performance and scanning law. We use two approaches to estimate detectable planetary systems: one based on the signal-to-noise ratio of the astrometric signature per field crossing, easily reproducible and allowing comparisons with previous estimates, and a new and more robust metric based on orbit fitting to the simulated satellite data. With some plausible assumptions on planet occurrences, we find that some 21,000 (±6000) high-mass (~1-15MJ) long-period planets should be discovered out to distances of ~500 pc for the nominal 5 yr mission (including at least 1000-1500 around M dwarfs out to 100 pc), rising to some 70,000 (±20, 000) for a 10 yr mission. We indicate some of the expected features of this exoplanet population, amongst them ~25-50 intermediate-period (P ~ 2-3 yr) transiting systems.
Published: 19 November 2014
Context. The first release of astrometric data from Gaia is expected in 2016. It will contain the mean stellar positions and magnitudes from the first year of observations. For more than 100 000 stars in common with the Hipparcos Catalogue it will be possible to compute very accurate proper motions due to the time difference of about 24 years between the two missions. This Hundred Thousand Proper Motions (HTPM) project is planned to be part of the first release.
Aims. Our aim is to investigate how early Gaia data can be optimally combined with information from the Hipparcos Catalogue in order to provide the most accurate and reliable results for HTPM.
Methods. The Astrometric Global Iterative Solution (AGIS) was developed to compute the astrometric core solution based on the Gaia observations and will be used for all releases of astrometric data from Gaia. We adapt AGIS to process Hipparcos data in addition to Gaia observations, and use simulations to verify and study the joint solution method.
Results. For the HTPM stars we predict proper motion accuracies between 14 and 134 μas yr-1, depending on stellar magnitude and amount of Gaia data available. Perspective effects will be important for a significant number of HTPM stars, and in order to treat these effects accurately we introduce a formalism called scaled model of kinematics (SMOK). We define a goodness-of-fit statistic which is sensitive to deviations from uniform space motion, caused for example by binaries with periods of 10–50 years.
Conclusions. HTPM will significantly improve the proper motions of the Hipparcos Catalogue well before highly accurate Gaia-only results become available.
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Published: 14 November 2014
The bursting pulsar GRO J1744-28 is a Galactic low-mass X-ray binary that distinguishes itself by displaying type-II X-ray bursts: brief, bright flashes of X-ray emission that likely arise from spasmodic accretion. Combined with its coherent 2.1 Hz X-ray pulsations and relatively high estimated magnetic field, it is a particularly interesting source to study the physics of accretion flows around neutron stars. Here we report on ChandraHigh Energy Transmission Grating observations obtained near the peak of its bright 2014 accretion outburst. Spectral analysis suggests the presence of a broad iron emission line centered at E1 ≃ 6.7 keV. Fits with a disk reflection model yield an inclination angle of i ≃ 52° and an inner disk radius of Rin ≃85 GM/c², which is much further out than typically found for neutron star low-mass X-ray binaries. Assuming that the disk is truncated at the magnetospheric radius of the neutron star, we estimate a magnetic field strength of B ≃ (2-6) × 1010 G. Furthermore, we identify an absorption feature near ≃ 6.85 keV that could correspond to blue-shifted Fe XXV and point to a fast disk wind with an outflow velocity of vout ≃ (7.5-8.2) × 10³ km s-1 (≃ 0.025c-0.027c). If the covering fraction and filling factor are large, this wind could be energetically important and perhaps account for the fact that the companion star lost significant mass while the magnetic field of the neutron star remained strong.
Published: 03 November 2014
The Planck design and scanning strategy provide many levels of redundancy that can be exploited to provide tests of internal consistency. One of the most important is the comparison of the 70 GHz (amplifier) and 100 GHz (bolometer) channels. Based on different instrument technologies, with feeds located differently in the focal plane, analysed independently by different teams using different software, and near the minimum of diffuse foreground emission, these channels are in effect two different experiments. The 143 GHz channel has the lowest noise level on Planck, and is near the minimum of unresolved foreground emission. In this paper, we analyse the level of consistency achieved in the 2013 Planck data. We concentrate on comparisons between the 70, 100, and 143 GHz channel maps and power spectra, particularly over the angular scales of the first and second acoustic peaks, on maps masked for diffuse Galactic emission and for strong unresolved sources. Difference maps covering angular scales from 8° to 15′ are consistent with noise, and show no evidence of cosmic microwave background structure. Including small but important corrections for unresolved-source residuals, we demonstrate agreement (measured by deviation of the ratio from unity) between 70 and 100 GHz power spectra averaged over 70 ≤ ℓ ≤ 390 at the 0.8% level, and agreement between 143 and 100 GHz power spectra of 0.4% over the same ℓ range. These values are within and consistent with the overall uncertainties in calibration given in the Planck 2013 results. We also present results based on the 2013 likelihood analysis showing consistency at the 0.35% between the 100, 143, and 217 GHz power spectra.
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Published: 29 October 2014
We present new measurements of cosmic infrared background (CIB) anisotropies using Planck. Combining HFI data with IRAS, the angular auto- and cross-frequency power spectrum is measured from 143 to 3000  GHz, and the auto-bispectrum from 217 to 545  GHz. The total areas used to compute the CIB power spectrum and bispectrum are about 2240 and 4400 deg2, respectively. After careful removal of the contaminants (cosmic microwave background anisotropies, Galactic dust, and Sunyaev-Zeldovich emission), and a complete study of systematics, the CIB power spectrum is measured with unprecedented signal to noise ratio from angular multipoles ℓ ~ 150 to 2500. The bispectrum due to the clustering of dusty, star-forming galaxies is measured from ℓ ~ 130 to 1100, with a total signal to noise ratio of around 6, 19, and 29 at 217, 353, and 545  GHz, respectively. Two approaches are developed for modelling CIB power spectrum anisotropies. The first approach takes advantage of the unique measurements by Planck at large angular scales, and models only the linear part of the power spectrum, with a mean bias of dark matter haloes hosting dusty galaxies at a given redshift weighted by their contribution to the emissivities. The second approach is based on a model that associates star-forming galaxies with dark matter haloes and their subhaloes, using a parametrized relation between the dust-processed infrared luminosity and (sub-)halo mass. The two approaches simultaneously fit all auto- and cross-power spectra very well. We find that the star formation history is well constrained up to redshifts around 2, and agrees with recent estimates of the obscured star-formation density using Spitzer and Herschel. However, at higher redshift, the accuracy of the star formation history measurement is strongly degraded by the uncertainty in the spectral energy distribution of CIB galaxies.
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Published: 29 October 2014
We describe the all-sky Planck catalogue of clusters and cluster candidates derived from Sunyaev-Zeldovich (SZ) effect detections using the first 15.5 months of Planck satellite observations. The catalogue contains 1227 entries, making it over six times the size of the Planck Early SZ (ESZ) sample and the largest SZ-selected catalogue to date. It contains 861 confirmed clusters, of which 178 have been confirmed as clusters, mostly through follow-up observations, and a further 683 are previously-known clusters. The remaining 366 have the status of cluster candidates, and we divide them into three classes according to the quality of evidence that they are likely to be true clusters. The Planck SZ catalogue is the deepest all-sky cluster catalogue, with redshifts up to about one, and spans the broadest cluster mass range from (0.1 to 1.6) × 1015 M. Confirmation of cluster candidates through comparison with existing surveys or cluster catalogues is extensively described, as is the statistical characterization of the catalogue in terms of completeness and statistical reliability. The outputs of the validation process are provided as additional information. This gives, in particular, an ensemble of 813 cluster redshifts, and for all these Planck clusters we also include a mass estimated from a newly-proposed SZ-mass proxy. A refined measure of the SZ Compton parameter for the clusters with X-ray counter-parts is provided, as is an X-ray flux for all the Planck clusters not previously detected in X-ray surveys.
Published: 29 October 2014
The Planck Catalogue of Compact Sources (PCCS) is the catalogue of sources detected in the first 15 months of Planck operations, the "nominal" mission. It consists of nine single-frequency catalogues of compact sources, both Galactic and extragalactic, detected over the entire sky. The PCCS covers the frequency range 30–857 GHz with higher sensitivity (it is 90% complete at 180 mJy in the best channel) and better angular resolution (from 32.88′ to 4.33′) than previous all-sky surveys in this frequency band. By construction its reliability is >80% and more than 65% of the sources have been detected in at least two contiguous Planck channels. In this paper we present the construction and validation of the PCCS, its contents and its statistical characterization.
Published: 29 October 2014
Our velocity relative to the rest frame of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) generates a dipole temperature anisotropy on the sky which has been well measured for more than 30 years, and has an accepted amplitude of v/c = 1.23 × 10-3, or v = 369. In addition to this signal generated by Doppler boosting of the CMB monopole, our motion also modulates and aberrates the CMB temperature fluctuations (as well as every other source of radiation at cosmological distances). This is an order 10-3 effect applied to fluctuations which are already one part in roughly 105, so it is quite small. Nevertheless, it becomes detectable with the all-sky coverage, high angular resolution, and low noise levels of the Planck satellite. Here we report a first measurement of this velocity signature using the aberration and modulation effects on the CMB temperature anisotropies, finding a component in the known dipole direction, (l,b) = (264°,48°), of 384 km s-1 ± 78 km s-1 (stat.) ± 115 km s-1 (syst.). This is a significant confirmation of the expected velocity.
Published: 29 October 2014
The new cosmic microwave background (CMB) temperature maps from Planck provide the highest-quality full-sky view of the surface of last scattering available to date. This allows us to detect possible departures from the standard model of a globally homogeneous and isotropic cosmology on the largest scales. We search for correlations induced by a possible non-trivial topology with a fundamental domain intersecting, or nearly intersecting, the last scattering surface (at comoving distance χrec), both via a direct search for matched circular patterns at the intersections and by an optimal likelihood search for specific topologies. For the latter we consider flat spaces with cubic toroidal (T3), equal-sided chimney (T2) and slab (T1) topologies, three multi-connected spaces of constant positive curvature (dodecahedral, truncated cube and octahedral) and two compact negative-curvature spaces. These searches yield no detection of the compact topology with the scale below the diameter of the last scattering surface. For most compact topologies studied the likelihood maximized over the orientation of the space relative to the observed map shows some preference for multi-connected models just larger than the diameter of the last scattering surface. Since this effect is also present in simulated realizations of isotropic maps, we interpret it as the inevitable alignment of mild anisotropic correlations with chance features in a single sky realization; such a feature can also be present, in milder form, when the likelihood is marginalized over orientations.
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Published: 29 October 2014
Planck data have been used to provide stringent new constraints on cosmic strings and other defects. We describe forecasts of the CMB power spectrum induced by cosmic strings, calculating these from network models and simulations using line-of-sight Boltzmann solvers. We have studied Nambu-Goto cosmic strings, as well as field theory strings for which radiative effects are important, thus spanning the range of theoretical uncertainty in the underlying strings models. We have added the angular power spectrum from strings to that for a simple adiabatic model, with the extra fraction defined as f10 at multipole ℓ = 10. This parameter has been added to the standard six parameter fit using COSMOMC with flat priors. For the Nambu-Goto string model, we have obtained a constraint on the string tension of Gμ/c2 < 1.5 × 10-7 and f10 < 0.015 at 95% confidence that can be improved to Gμ/c2 < 1.3 × 10-7 and f10 < 0.010 on inclusion of high-ℓ CMB data. For the Abelian-Higgs field theory model we find, GμAH/c2< 3.2 × 10-7 and f10 < 0.028. The marginalised likelihoods for f10 and in the f10–Ωbh2 plane are also presented. We have additionally obtained comparable constraints on f10 for models with semilocal strings and global textures. In terms of the effective defect energy scale these are somewhat weaker at Gμ/c2 < 1.1 × 10-6. We have made complementarity searches for the specific non-Gaussian signatures of cosmic strings, calibrating with all-sky Planck resolution CMB maps generated from networks of post-recombination strings. We have validated our non-Gaussian searches using these simulated maps in a Planck-realistic context, estimating sensitivities of up to ΔGμ/c2 ≈ 4 × 10-7.
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Published: 29 October 2014
The Planck nominal mission cosmic microwave background (CMB) maps yield unprecedented constraints on primordial non-Gaussianity (NG). Using three optimal bispectrum estimators, separable template-fitting (KSW), binned, and modal, we obtain consistent values for the primordial local, equilateral, and orthogonal bispectrum amplitudes, quoting as our final result fNLlocal = 2.7 ± 5.8, fNLequil = -42 ± 75, and fNLorth = -25 ± 39 (68% CL statistical). Non-Gaussianity is detected in the data; using skew-C statistics we find a nonzero bispectrum from residual point sources, and the integrated-Sachs-Wolfe-lensing bispectrum at a level expected in the ΛCDM scenario. The results are based on comprehensive cross-validation of these estimators on Gaussian and non-Gaussian simulations, are stable across component separation techniques, pass an extensive suite of tests, and are confirmed by skew-C, wavelet bispectrum and Minkowski functional estimators. Beyond estimates of individual shape amplitudes, we present model-independent, three-dimensional reconstructions of the Planck CMB bispectrum and thus derive constraints on early-Universe scenarios that generate primordial NG, including general single-field models of inflation, excited initial states (non-Bunch-Davies vacua), and directionally-dependent vector models. We provide an initial survey of scale-dependent feature and resonance models. These results bound both general single-field and multi-field model parameter ranges, such as the speed of sound, cs ≥ 0.02 (95% CL), in an effective field theory parametrization, and the curvaton decay fraction rD ≥ 0.15 (95% CL). The Planck data significantly limit the viable parameter space of the ekpyrotic/cyclic scenarios.
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Published: 29 October 2014
The two fundamental assumptions of the standard cosmological model – that the initial fluctuations are statistically isotropic and Gaussian – are rigorously tested using maps of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) anisotropy from the Planck satellite. The detailed results are based on studies of four independent estimates of the CMB that are compared to simulations using a fiducial ΛCDM model and incorporating essential aspects of the Planck measurement process. Deviations from isotropy have been found and demonstrated to be robust against component separation algorithm, mask choice, and frequency dependence. Many of these anomalies were previously observed in the WMAP data, and are now confirmed at similar levels of significance (about 3σ). However, we find little evidence of non-Gaussianity, with the exception of a few statistical signatures that seem to be associated with specific anomalies. In particular, we find that the quadrupole-octopole alignment is also connected to a low observed variance in the CMB signal. A power asymmetry is now found to persist on scales corresponding to about ℓ = 600 and can be described in the low-ℓ regime by a phenomenological dipole modulation model. However, any primordial power asymmetry is strongly scale-dependent and does not extend toarbitrarily small angular scales. Finally, it is plausible that some of these features may be reflected in the angular power spectrum of the data, which shows a deficit of power on similar scales. Indeed, when the power spectra of two hemispheres defined by a preferred direction are considered separately, one shows evidence of a deficit in power, while its opposite contains oscillations between odd and even modes that may be related to the parity violation and phase correlations also detected in the data. Although these analyses represent a step forward in building an understanding of the anomalies, a satisfactory explanation based on physically motivated models is still lacking.
Published: 29 October 2014
We analyse the implications of the Planck data for cosmic inflation. The Planck nominal mission temperature anisotropy measurements, combined with the WMAP large-angle polarization, constrain the scalar spectral index to be ns = 0.9603 ± 0.0073, ruling out exact scale invariance at over 5σ.Planck establishes an upper bound on the tensor-to-scalar ratio of r< 0.11 (95% CL). The Planck data thus shrink the space of allowed standard inflationary models, preferring potentials with V′′< 0. Exponential potential models, the simplest hybrid inflationary models, and monomial potential models of degree n ≥ 2 do not provide a good fit to the data. Planck does not find statistically significant running of the scalar spectral index, obtaining dns/ dlnk = − 0.0134 ± 0.0090. We verify these conclusions through a numerical analysis, which makes no slow-roll approximation, and carry out a Bayesian parameter estimation and model-selection analysis for a number of inflationary models including monomial, natural, and hilltop potentials. For each model, we present the Planck constraints on the parameters of the potential and explore several possibilities for the post-inflationary entropy generation epoch, thus obtaining nontrivial data-driven constraints. We also present a direct reconstruction of the observable range of the inflaton potential. Unless a quartic term is allowed in the potential, we find results consistent with second-order slow-roll predictions. We also investigate whether the primordial power spectrum contains any features. We find that models with a parameterized oscillatory feature improve the fit by Δχ2eff ≈ 10; however, Bayesian evidence does not prefer these models. We constrain several single-field inflation models with generalized Lagrangians by combining power spectrum data with Planck bounds on fNL.
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Published: 29 October 2014
22-Nov-2019 07:33 UT

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