Solar differential rotation in the period 1964 – 2016 determined by the Kanzelhöhe data set [SSA]

The main aim of this work is to determine the solar differential rotation by tracing sunspot groups during the period 1964-2016, using the Kanzelh{\”o}he Observatory for Solar and Environmental Research (KSO) sunspot drawings and white light images. Two procedures for the determination of the heliographic positions were applied: an interactive procedure on the KSO sunspot drawings (1964 – 2008, solar cycles nos. 20 – 23) and an automatic procedure on the KSO white light images (2009 – 2016, solar cycle no. 24). For the determination of the synodic angular rotation velocities two different methods have been used: a daily shift (DS) method and a robust linear least-squares fit (rLSQ) method. Afterwards, the rotation velocities had to be converted from synodic to sidereal, which were then used in the least-squares fitting for the solar differential rotation law. For the test data from 2014, we found the rLSQ method for calculating rotational velocities to be more reliable than the DS method. The best fit solar differential rotation profile for the whole time period is $\omega(b)$ = (14.47 $\pm$ 0.01) – (2.66 $\pm$ 0.10) $\sin^2b$ (deg/day) for the DS method and $\omega(b)$ = (14.50 $\pm$ 0.01) – (2.87 $\pm$ 0.12) $\sin^2b$ (deg/day) for the rLSQ method. A barely noticeable north – south asymmetry is observed for the whole time period 1964 – 2016 in the present paper. Rotation profiles, using different data sets (e.g. Debrecen Photoheliographic Data, Greenwich Photoheliographic Results), presented by other authors for the same time periods and the same tracer types, are in good agreement with our results. Therefore, the KSO data set is suitable for the investigation of the long-term variabilities in the solar rotation profile.

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I. Beljan, R. Jurdana-Sepic, R. Brajsa, et. al.
Wed, 26 Jul 17

Comments: N/A

Ground-based parallax confirmed by Spitzer: binary microlensing event MOA-2015-BLG-020 [SSA]

We present the analysis of the binary gravitational microlensing event MOA-2015-BLG-020. The event has a fairly long timescale (about 63 days) and thus the light curve deviates significantly from the lensing model that is based on the rectilinear lens-source relative motion. This enables us to measure the microlensing parallax through the annual parallax effect. The microlensing parallax parameters constrained by the ground-based data are confirmed by the Spitzer observations through the satellite parallax method. By additionally measuring the angular Einstein radius from the analysis of the resolved caustic crossing, the physical parameters of the lens are determined. It is found that the binary lens is composed of two dwarf stars with masses $M_1 = 0.606 \pm 0.028M_\odot$ and $M_2 = 0.125 \pm 0.006M_\odot$ in the Galactic disk. Assuming the source star is at the same distance as the bulge red clump stars, we find the lens is at a distance $D_L = 2.44 \pm 0.10 kpc$. In the end, we provide a summary and short discussion of all published microlensing events in which the annual parallax effect is confirmed by other independent observations.

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T. Wang, W. Zhu, S. Mao, et. al.
Wed, 26 Jul 17

Comments: 16 pages, 5 figures

2010 August 1-2 sympathetic eruptions: II. Magnetic topology of the MHD background field [SSA]

Using a potential field source surface (PFSS) model, we recently analyzed the global topology of the background coronal magnetic field for a sequence of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that occurred on 2010 August 1-2. Here we repeat this analysis for the background field reproduced by a magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) model that incorporates plasma thermodynamics. As for the PFSS model, we find that all three CME source regions contain a coronal hole that is separated from neighboring coronal holes by topologically very similar pseudo-streamer structures. However, the two models yield very different results for the size, shape, and flux of the coronal holes. We find that the helmet-streamer cusp line, which corresponds to a source-surface null line in the PFSS model, is structurally unstable and does not form in the MHD model. Our analysis indicates that generally, in MHD configurations, this line rather consists of a multiple-null separator passing along the edge of disconnected flux regions. Some of these regions are transient and may be the origin of so-called streamer blobs. We show that the core topological structure of such blobs is a three-dimensional “plasmoid”, consisting of two conjoined flux ropes of opposite handedness, which connect at a spiral null point of the magnetic field. Our analysis reveals that such plasmoids appear also in pseudo-streamers on much smaller scales. These new insights into the coronal magnetic topology provide some intriguing implications for solar energetic particle events and for the properties of the slow solar wind.

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V. Titov, Z. Mikic, T. Torok, et. al.
Wed, 26 Jul 17

Comments: 29 pages, 7 figures

Stars caught in the braking stage in young Magellanic Clouds clusters [SSA]

The color-magnitude diagrams of many Magellanic Cloud clusters (with ages up to 2 billion years) display extended turnoff regions where the stars leave the main sequence, suggesting the presence of multiple stellar populations with ages which may differ even by hundreds million years (Mackey et al. 2008, Milone et al. 2009, Girardi et al. 2011). A strongly debated question is whether such an extended turnoff is instead due to populations with different stellar rotations (Girardi et al. 2011, Goudfrooij et al. 2011, Rubele et al. 2013, Li et al. 2014). The recent discovery of a `split’ main sequence in some younger clusters (about 80–400Myr) added another piece to this puzzle. The blue (red) side of the main sequence is consistent with slowly (rapidly) rotating stellar models (D’Antona et al. 2015, Milone et al. 2016, Correnti et al. 2017, Milone et al 2016), but a complete theoretical characterization of the observed color-magnitude diagram appeared to require also an age spread (Correnti et al. 2017). We show here that, in three clusters so far analyzed, if the blue main sequence stars are interpreted with models that have been always slowly rotating, they must be about 30% younger than the rest of the cluster. If they are instead interpreted as stars initially rapidly rotating, but that have later slowed down, the age difference disappears, and “braking” also helps to explain the apparent age differences of the extended turnoff. The age spreads in Magellanic Cloud clusters are a manifestation of rotational stellar evolution. Observational tests are suggested.

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F. DAntona, A. Milone, M. Tailo, et. al.
Wed, 26 Jul 17

Comments: Accepted for publication and in state of Advance Online Publication (from 24 July 2017) on Nature Astronomy

Abundance Tomography of Type Iax SN 2011ay with TARDIS [SSA]

We present a detailed spectral analysis of Type Iax SN 2011ay. Our spectra cover epochs between -3 and +19 days with respect to the maximum light in B-band. This time range allows us to employ a so-called abundance tomography technique. The synthetic spectral fitting was made with the 1D Monte Carlo radiative transfer code TARDIS. In this paper, we describe our method to fit multiple epochs with a self-consistent, stratified atmospheric model. We compare our results to previously published SYN++ models and the predictions of different explosion scenarios. Using a fixed density profile (exponential fit of W7), we find that a uniform abundance model cannot reproduce the spectral features before maximum light because of the emergence of excessively strong Fe lines. In our best-fit TARDIS model, we find an abundance profile that separated into two different regimes: a well-mixed region under 10,000 km s$^{-1}$ and a stratified region with decreasing IGE abundances above 10,000 km s$^{-1}$. Based on a detailed comparative analysis, our conclusion is that the available pure deflagration models cannot fully explain either the observed properties of SN 2011ay or the results of our TARDIS modeling. Further examinations are necessary to find an adequate explanation for the origin of this object.

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B. Barna, T. Szalai, M. Kromer, et. al.
Wed, 26 Jul 17

Comments: 11 pages, 13 figures, 2 tables; accepted for publication in MNRAS

Metallicity effect on stellar granulation detected from oscillating red giants in open clusters [SSA]

The effect of metallicity on the granulation activity in stars is still poorly understood. Available spectroscopic parameters from the updated APOGEE-\textit{Kepler} catalog, coupled with high-precision photometric observations from NASA’s \textit{Kepler} mission spanning more than four years of observation, make oscillating red giant stars in open clusters crucial testbeds. We determine the role of metallicity on the stellar granulation activity by discriminating its effect from that of different stellar properties such as surface gravity, mass, and temperature. We analyze 60 known red giant stars belonging to the open clusters NGC 6791, NGC 6819, and NGC 6811, spanning a metallicity range from [Fe/H] $\simeq -0.09$ to $0.32$. The parameters describing the granulation activity of these stars and their $\nu_\mathrm{max}$, are studied by considering the different masses, metallicities, and stellar evolutionary stages. We derive new scaling relations for the granulation activity, re-calibrate existing ones, and identify the best scaling relations from the available set of observations. We adopted the Bayesian code DIAMONDS for the analysis of the background signal in the Fourier spectra of the stars. We performed a Bayesian parameter estimation and model comparison to test the different model hypotheses proposed in this work and in the literature. Metallicity causes a statistically significant change in the amplitude of the granulation activity, with a dependency stronger than that induced by both stellar mass and surface gravity. We also find that the metallicity has a significant impact on the corresponding time scales of the phenomenon. The effect of metallicity on the time scale is stronger than that of mass. A higher metallicity increases the amplitude of granulation and meso-granulation signals and slows down their characteristic time scales toward longer periods.

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E. Corsaro, S. Mathur, R. Garcia, et. al.
Tue, 25 Jul 17

Comments: 20 pages, 11 figures, 9 tables. Accepted for publication in A&A

Chemical element transport in stellar evolution models [SSA]

Stellar evolution computations provide the foundation of several methods applied to study the evolutionary properties of stars and stellar populations, both Galactic and extragalactic. The accuracy of the results obtained with these techniques is linked to the accuracy of the stellar models, and in this context the correct treatment of the transport of chemical elements is crucial. Unfortunately, in many respects calculations of the evolution of the chemical abundance profiles in stars are still affected by sometime sizable uncertainties. Here, we review the various mechanisms of element transport included in the current generation of stellar evolution calculations, how they are implemented, the free parameters and uncertainties involved, the impact on the models, and the observational constraints.

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M. Salaris and S. Cassisi
Tue, 25 Jul 17

Comments: 72 pages, 33 figures, invited review paper to be published in Royal Society Open Science Journal