The HAWC real-time flare monitor for rapid detection of transient events [HEAP]

We present the development of a real-time flare monitor for the High Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) observatory. The flare monitor has been fully operational since 2017 January and is designed to detect very high energy (VHE; $E\gtrsim100$ GeV) transient events from blazars on time scales lasting from 2 minutes to 10 hours in order to facilitate multiwavelength and multimessenger studies. These flares provide information for investigations into the mechanisms that power the blazars’ relativistic jets and accelerate particles within them, and they may also serve as probes of the populations of particles and fields in intergalactic space. To date, the detection of blazar flares in the VHE range has relied primarily on pointed observations by imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes. The recently completed HAWC observatory offers the opportunity to study VHE flares in survey mode, scanning 2/3 of the entire sky every day with a field of view of $\sim$1.8 steradians. In this work, we report on the sensitivity of the HAWC real-time flare monitor and demonstrate its capabilities via the detection of three high-confidence VHE events in the blazars Markarian 421 and Markarian 501.

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A. Abeysekara, R. Alfaro, C. Alvarez, et. al.
Wed, 26 Apr 17

Comments: 17 pages, 11 figures, submitted to The Astrophysical Journal on 24 April 2017

Constraining Models of Binary Black Hole Formation with Gravitational-Wave Observations [HEAP]

Gravitational waves from binary black hole mergers provide a new probe of massive-star evolution and the formation channels of binary compact objects. By coupling the growing sample of binary black hole systems with realistic population synthesis models, we can begin to constrain the parameters of such models and glean unprecedented knowledge of the inherent physical processes that underpin binary stellar evolution. In this study, we apply a hierarchical Bayesian model on mass measurements from a synthetic gravitational-wave sample to constrain the physical prescriptions in population models and the relative fractions of systems generated from various channels. We employ population models of two canonical formation scenarios in our analysis — isolated binary evolution involving common-envelope evolution and dynamical formation within globular clusters — with model variations for different black-hole natal kick magnitude prescriptions. We show that solely with chirp mass measurements, it is possible to constrain natal kick prescriptions and the relative fraction of systems detected from each formation channel with $\mathcal{O}(100)$ of confident detections. This framework can be extended to include additional formation scenarios, model parameters, and measured properties of the compact binary.

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M. Zevin, C. Pankow, C. Rodriguez, et. al.
Wed, 26 Apr 17

Comments: 11 pages, 8 figures. Submitted to ApJ

Chandra Observations of the field containing HESS J1616-508 [HEAP]

We report the results of three Chandra observations covering most of the extent of the TeV gamma-ray source HESS J1616-508 and a search for a lower energy counterpart to this source. We detect 56 X-ray sources, of which 37 have counterparts at lower frequencies, including a young massive star cluster, but none of them appears to be a particularly promising counterpart to the TeV source. The brightest X-ray source, CXOU J161423.4-505738 with a flux of 5×10^{-13} c.g.s. in the 0.5-7.0 keV band, has a hard spectrum that is well fit by a power-law model with a photon index of 0.2+/-0.3 and is a likely intermediate polar CV candidate. No counterparts of this source were detected at other wavelengths. CVs are not known to produce extended TeV emission, and the source is also largely offset (19′) from HESS J1616-508, making them unlikely to be associated. We have also set an upper limit on the X-ray flux of PSR J1614-5048 in the 0.5-8 keV band (F<5×10^{-15} c.g.s. at a 90% confidence level). This makes PSR J1614-5048 one of the least X-ray efficient pulsars known, with an X-ray efficiency {\eta}=L_x/Edot < 2×10^{-5} in the 0.5-8 keV band. We find no evidence supporting the association between the pulsar and the TeV source. We rule out a number of X-ray sources as possible counterparts to the TeV emission and do not find a plausible counterpart among the other sources. Lastly, we discuss the possible relation of PSR J1617-5055 to HESS J1616-508 in light of the new observations.

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J. Hare, O. Kargaltsev, G. Pavlov, et. al.
Wed, 26 Apr 17

Comments: Accepted to ApJ

Gravitational Waves from Binary Black Hole Mergers Inside of Stars [HEAP]

We present results from a controlled numerical experiment investigating the effect of stellar density gas on the coalescence of binary black holes (BBHs) and the resulting gravitational waves (GWs). This investigation is motivated by the proposed stellar core fragmentation scenario for BBH formation and the associated possibility of an electromagnetic counterpart to a BBH GW event. We employ full numerical relativity coupled with general-relativistic hydrodynamics and set up a $30 + 30 M_\odot$ BBH (motivated by GW150914) inside gas with realistic stellar densities. Our results show that at densities $\rho \gtrsim 10^6 – 10^7 \, \mathrm{g \,
cm}^{-3}$ dynamical friction between the BHs and gas changes the coalescence dynamics and the GW signal in an unmistakable way. We show that for GW150914, LIGO observations conclusively rule out BBH coalescence inside stellar gas of $\rho \gtrsim 10^7 \, \mathrm{g\,cm}^{-3}$. Typical densities in the collapsing cores of massive stars are in excess of this density. This excludes the fragmentation scenario for the formation of GW150914.

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J. Fedrow, C. Ott, U. Sperhake, et. al.
Wed, 26 Apr 17

Comments: 8 pages, 5 figures, submitted, comments welcome

Cross-spectral modelling of the black hole X-ray binary XTEJ1550-564: challenges to the propagating fluctuations paradigm [HEAP]

Timing properties of black hole X-ray binaries in outburst can be modeled with mass accretion rate fluctuations propagating towards the black hole. Such models predict time lags between energy bands due to propagation delays. First application of a propagating fluctuations model to black hole power spectra showed good agreement with the data. Indeed, hard lags observed from these systems appear to be in agreement with this generic prediction. Our PROPFLUC code allows to simultaneously predict power spectra, time lags, and coherence of the variability as a function of energy. This was successfully applied to Swift data on the black hole MAXIJ1659-152, fitting jointly the power spectra in two energy bands and the cross-spectrum between these two bands. In the current work, we attempt to to model two high signal to noise Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) observations of the black hole XTE J1550-564. We find that neither observation can be adequately explained by the model even when considering, additionally to previous PROPFLUC versions, different propagation speeds of the fluctuations. After extensive exploration of model extensions, we tentatively conclude that the quantitative and qualitative discrepancy between model predictions and data is generic to the propagating fluctuations paradigm. This result encourages further investigation of the fundamental hypotheses of the propagating fluctuations model. We discuss some of these hypotheses with an eye to future works.

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S. Rapisarda, A. Ingram and M. Klis
Wed, 26 Apr 17

Comments: 14 pages, 12 figures, accepted for publication in MNRAS

Black hole ringdown echoes and howls [CL]

Recently the possibility of detecting echoes of ringdown gravitational waves from binary black hole mergers was shown. The presence of echoes is expected if the black hole is surrounded by a mirror that reflects gravitational waves near the horizon. Here, we present a little more sophisticated templates motivated by a waveform which is obtained by solving the linear perturbation equation around a Kerr black hole with a complete reflecting boundary condition. We also point out that the completely reflecting boundary leads to a super-radiant instability, and hence it is not consistent with the presence of rotating black holes.

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H. Nakano, N. Sago, H. Tagoshi, et. al.
Tue, 25 Apr 17

Comments: 9 pages, 5 figures

On the Radio Emitting Particles of the Crab Nebula: Stochastic Acceleration Model [HEAP]

The broadband emission of Pulsar Wind Nebulae (PWNe) is well described by non-thermal emissions from accelerated electrons and positrons. However, the standard shock acceleration model of PWNe does not account for the hard spectrum in radio wavelengths. The origin of the radio-emitting particles is also important to determine the pair production efficiency in the pulsar magnetosphere. Here, we propose a possible resolution for the particle energy distribution in PWNe; the radio-emitting particles are not accelerated at the pulsar wind termination shock but are stochastically accelerated by turbulence inside PWNe. We upgrade our past one-zone spectral evolution model including the energy diffusion, i.e., the stochastic acceleration, and apply to the Crab Nebula. A fairly simple form of the energy diffusion coefficient is assumed for this demonstrative study. For a particle injection to the stochastic acceleration process, we consider the continuous injection from the supernova ejecta or the impulsive injection associated with supernova explosion. The observed broadband spectrum and the decay of the radio flux are reproduced by tuning the amount of the particle injected to the stochastic acceleration process. The acceleration time-scale and the duration of the acceleration are required to be a few decades and a few hundred years, respectively. Our results imply that some unveiled mechanisms, such as back reaction to the turbulence, are required to make the energies of stochastically and shock accelerated particles comparable.

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S. Tanaka and K. Asano
Tue, 25 Apr 17

Comments: Accepted for publication in ApJ, 11 pages, 4 figures