Young and Intermediate-age Distance Indicators [SSA]

Distance measurements beyond geometrical and semi-geometrical methods, rely mainly on standard candles. As the name suggests, these objects have known luminosities by virtue of their intrinsic proprieties and play a major role in our understanding of modern cosmology. The main caveats associated with standard candles are their absolute calibration, contamination of the sample from other sources and systematic uncertainties. The absolute calibration mainly depends on their chemical composition and age. To understand the impact of these effects on the distance scale, it is essential to develop methods based on different sample of standard candles. Here we review the fundamental properties of young and intermediate-age distance indicators such as Cepheids, Mira variables and Red Clump stars and the recent developments in their application as distance indicators.

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S. Subramanian, M. Marengo, A. Bhardwaj, et. al.
Fri, 22 Sep 17

Comments: Review article, 63 pages (28 figures), Accepted for publication in Space Science Reviews (Chapter 3 of a special collection resulting from the May 2016 ISSI-BJ workshop on Astronomical Distance Determination in the Space Age)

The radio structure of the peculiar narrow-line Seyfert 1 galaxy candidate J1100+4421 [GA]

Narrow-line Seyfert 1 galaxies (NLS1) are an intriguing subclass of active galactic nuclei. Their observed properties indicate low central black hole mass and high accretion rate. The extremely radio-loud NLS1 sources often show relativistic beaming and are usually regarded as younger counterparts of blazars. Recently, the object SDSS J110006.07+442144.3 was reported as a candidate NLS1 source. The characteristics of its dramatic optical flare indicated its jet-related origin. The spectral energy distribution of the object was similar to that of the gamma-ray detected radio-loud NLS1, PMN J0948+0022. Our high-resolution European Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network observations at 1.7 and 5 GHz revealed a compact core feature with a brightness temperature of >~ 10^(10) K. Using the lowest brightness temperature value and assuming a moderate Lorentz factor of ~9 the jet viewing angle is <~ 26 deg. Archival Very Large Array data show a large-scale radio structure with a projected linear size of ~150 kpc reminiscent of double-sided morphology.

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K. Gabanyi, S. Frey, Z. Paragi, et. al.
Fri, 22 Sep 17

Comments: 8 pages, 5 figures. Accepted for publication in MNRAS

On the formation mechanisms of compact elliptical galaxies [GA]

In order to investigate the formation mechanisms of the rare compact elliptical galaxies (cE) we have compiled a sample of 25 cEs with good SDSS spectra, covering a range of stellar masses, sizes and environments. They have been visually classified according to the interaction with their host, representing different evolutionary stages. We have included clearly disrupted galaxies, galaxies that despite not showing signs of interaction are located close to a massive neighbor (thus are good candidates for a stripping process), and cEs with no host nearby. For the latter, tidal stripping is less likely to have happened and instead they could simply represent the very low-mass, faint end of the ellipticals. We study a set of properties (structural parameters, stellar populations, star formation histories and mass ratios) that can be used to discriminate between an intrinsic or stripped origin. We find that one diagnostic tool alone is inconclusive for the majority of objects. However, if we combine all the tools a clear picture emerges. The most plausible origin, as well as the evolutionary stage and progenitor type, can be then determined. Our results favor the stripping mechanism for those galaxies in groups and clusters that have a plausible host nearby, but favors an intrinsic origin for those rare cEs without a plausible host and that are located in looser environments.

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A. Ferre-Mateu, D. Forbes, A. Romanowsky, et. al.
Fri, 22 Sep 17

Comments: Accepeted for publication in MNRAS. 24 pages, 21 figures, 5 tables

On the extended stellar structure around NGC 288 [GA]

We report on observational evidence of an extra-tidal clumpy structure around NGC 288 from an homogeneous coverage of a large area with the Pan-STARRS PS1 database. The extra-tidal star population has been disentangled from that of the Milky Way field by using a cleaning technique that successfully reproduced the stellar density, luminosity function and colour distributions of MW field stars. We have produced the cluster stellar density radial profile and a stellar density map from independent approaches, from which we found results in excellent agreement : the feature extends up to 3.5 times the cluster tidal radius. Previous works based on shallower photometric data sets have speculated on the existence of several long tidal tails, similar to that found in Pal 5. The present outcome shows that NGC 288 could hardly have such tails, but favours the notion that interactions with the MW tidal field has been a relatively inefficient process for stripping stars off the cluster. These results point to the need of a renewed overall study of the external regions of Galactic globular clusters (GGCs) in order to reliably characterise them. Hence, it will be possible to investigate whether there is any connection between detected tidal tails, extra-tidal stellar populations, extent diffuse halo-like structures with the GGCs’ dynamical histories in the Galaxy.

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A. Piatti
Fri, 22 Sep 17

Comments: 7 pages, 3 figures. Accepted for publication in MNRAS

NuSTAR hard X-ray data and Gemini 3D spectra reveal powerful AGN and outflow histories in two low-redshift Lyman-$α$ blobs [GA]

We have shown that Lyman-$\alpha$ blobs (LABs) may still exist even at $z\sim0.3$, about 7 billion years later than most other LABs known (Schirmer et al. 2016). Their luminous Ly$\alpha$ and [OIII] emitters at $z\sim0.3$ offer new insights into the ionization mechanism. This paper focuses on the two X-ray brightest LABs at $z\sim0.3$, SDSS J0113$+$0106 (J0113) and SDSS J1155$-$0147 (J1155), comparable in size and luminosity to `B1′, one of the best-studied LABs at $z \gtrsim$ 2. Our NuSTAR hard X-ray (3–30 keV) observations reveal powerful active galactic nuclei (AGN) with $L_{2-10{\;\rm keV}}=(0.5$–$3)\times10^{44}$ erg cm$^{-2}$ s$^{-1}$. J0113 also faded by a factor of $\sim 5$ between 2014 and 2016, emphasizing that variable AGN may cause apparent ionization deficits in LABs. Joint spectral analyses including Chandra data constrain column densities of $N_{\rm H}=5.1^{+3.1}{-3.3}\times10^{23}$ cm$^{-2}$ (J0113) and $N{\rm H}=6.0^{+1.4}_{-1.1}\times10^{22}$ cm$^{-2}$ (J1155). J0113 is likely buried in a torus with a narrow ionization cone, but ionizing radiation is also leaking in other directions as revealed by our Gemini/GMOS 3D spectroscopy. The latter shows a bipolar outflow over $10$ kpc, with a peculiar velocity profile that is best explained by AGN flickering. X-ray analysis of J1155 reveals a weakly absorbed AGN that may ionize over a wide solid angle, consistent with our 3D spectra. Extinction corrected [OIII] log-luminosities are high, $\sim43.6$. The velocity dispersions are low, $\sim100$–$150$ km s$^{-1}$, even at the AGN positions. We argue that this is a combination of high extinction hiding the turbulent gas, and previous outflows that have cleared the escape paths for their successors.

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T. Kawamuro, M. Schirmer, J. Turner, et. al.
Fri, 22 Sep 17

Comments: 15 pages, 17 Figures, accepted for publication in ApJ

GALARIO: a GPU Accelerated Library for Analysing Radio Interferometer Observations [IMA]

We present GALARIO, a computational library that exploits the power of modern graphical processing units (GPUs) to accelerate the analysis of observations from radio interferometers like ALMA or Jansky VLA. GALARIO speeds up the computation of synthetic visibilities from a generic 2D model image or a radial brightness profile (for axisymmetric sources). On a GPU, GALARIO is 150 faster than standard Python and 10 times faster than serial C++ code on a CPU. Highly modular, easy to use and to adopt in existing code, GALARIO comes as two compiled libraries, one for Nvidia GPUs and one for multicore CPUs, where both have the same functions with identical interfaces. GALARIO comes with Python bindings but can also be directly used in C or C++. The versatility and the speed of GALARIO open new analysis pathways that otherwise would be prohibitively time consuming, e.g. fitting high resolution observations of large number of objects, or entire spectral cubes of molecular gas emission. It is a general tool that can be applied to any field that uses radio interferometer observations. The source code is available online at under the open source GNU Lesser General Public License v3.

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M. Tazzari, F. Beaujean and L. Testi
Fri, 22 Sep 17

Comments: 13 pages, 9 figures. Submitted to MNRAS. Code at this https URL and documentation at this https URL

Modeling $237$ Lyman-$α$ spectra of the MUSE-Wide survey [GA]

We compare $237$ Lyman-$\alpha$ (Ly$\alpha$) spectra of the “MUSE-Wide survey” (Herenz et al. 2017) to a suite of radiative transfer simulations consisting of a central luminous source within a concentric, moving shell of neutral gas, and dust. This six parameter shell-model has been used numerously in previous studies, however, on significantly smaller data-sets. We find that the shell-model can reproduce the observed spectral shape very well – better than the also common `Gaussian-minus-Gaussian’ model which we also fitted to the dataset. Specifically, we find that $\sim 94\%$ of the fits possess a goodness-of-fit value of $p(\chi^2)>0.1$. The large number of spectra allows us to robustly characterize the shell-model parameter range, and consequently, the spectral shapes typical for realistic spectra. We find that the vast majority of the Ly$\alpha$ spectral shapes require an outflow and only $\sim 5\%$ are well-fitted through an inflowing shell. In addition, we find $\sim 46\%$ of the spectra to be consistent with a neutral hydrogen column density $<10^{17}\,\mathrm{cm}^{-2}$ – suggestive of a non-negligible fraction of continuum leakers in the MUSE-Wide sample. Furthermore, we correlate the spectral against the Ly$\alpha$ halo properties against each other but do not find any strong correlation.

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M. Gronke
Fri, 22 Sep 17

Comments: 10 pages, 7 figures; data can be downloaded at this http URL