Element abundance ratios in the quiet Sun transition region [SSA]


Element abundance ratios of magnesium to neon (Mg/Ne) and neon to oxygen (Ne/O) in the transition region of the quiet Sun have been derived by re-assessing previously published data from the Coronal Diagnostic Spectrometer on board the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory in the light of new atomic data. The quiet Sun Mg/Ne ratio is important for assessing the effect of magnetic activity on the mechanism of the first ionization potential (FIP) effect, while the Ne/O ratio can be used to infer the solar photospheric abundance of neon, which can not be measured directly. The average Mg/Ne ratio is found to be $0.52\pm 0.11$, which applies over the temperature region 0.2–0.7~MK, and is consistent with the earlier study. The Ne/O ratio is, however, about 40\%\ larger, taking the value $0.24\pm 0.05$ that applies to the temperature range 0.08–0.40~MK. The increase is mostly due to changes in ionization and recombination rates that affect the equilibrium ionization balance. If the Ne/O ratio is interpreted as reflecting the photospheric ratio, then the photospheric neon abundance is $8.08\pm 0.09$ or $8.15\pm 0.10$ (on a logarithmic scale for which hydrogen is 12), according to whether the oxygen abundances of M.~Asplund et al.\ or E.~Caffau et al.\ are used. The updated photospheric neon abundance implies a Mg/Ne FIP bias for the quiet Sun of $1.6\pm 0.6$.

Read this paper on arXiv…

P. Young
Fri, 19 Jan 18

Comments: Submitted to ApJ, 10 pages, 3 figures

$τ$ Ori and $τ$ Lib: Two new massive heartbeat binaries [SSA]


We report the discovery of two massive eccentric systems with BRITE data, $\tau$ Ori and $\tau$ Lib, showing heartbeat effects close to the periastron passage. $\tau$ Lib exhibits shallow eclipses that will soon vanish due to the apsidal motion in the system. In neither system, tidally excited oscillations were detected.

Read this paper on arXiv…

A. Pigulski, M. Kaminska, K. Kaminski, et. al.
Fri, 19 Jan 18

Comments: 3 pages, 1 figure, to appear in the Proceedings of the 3rd BRITE Science Conference

Magnetic braids in eruptions of a spiral structure in the solar atmosphere [SSA]


We report on high-resolution imaging and spectral observations of eruptions of a spiral structure in the transition region, which were taken with the Interface Region Imaging Spectrometer (IRIS), the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) and the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI). The eruption coincided with the appearance of two series of jets, with velocities comparable to the Alfv\’en speeds in their footpoints. Several pieces of evidence of magnetic braiding in the eruption are revealed, including localized bright knots, multiple well-separated jet threads, transition region explosive events and the fact that all these three are falling into the same locations within the eruptive structures. Through analysis of the extrapolated three-dimensional magnetic field in the region, we found that the eruptive spiral structure corresponded well to locations of twisted magnetic flux tubes with varying curl values along their lengths. The eruption occurred where strong parallel currents, high squashing factors, and large twist numbers were obtained. The electron number density of the eruptive structure is found to be $\sim3\times10^{12}$ cm$^{-3}$, indicating that significant amount of mass could be pumped into the corona by the jets. Following the eruption, the extrapolations revealed a set of seemingly relaxed loops, which were visible in the AIA 94 \AA\ channel indicating temperatures of around 6.3 MK. With these observations, we suggest that magnetic braiding could be part of the mechanisms explaining the formation of solar eruption and the mass and energy supplement to the corona.

Read this paper on arXiv…

Z. Huang, L. Xia, C. Nelson, et. al.
Fri, 19 Jan 18

Comments: 11 figs, accepted for publication in ApJ

The Of?p stars of the Magellanic Clouds: Are they strongly magnetic? [SSA]


All known Galactic Of?p stars have been shown to host strong, organized, magnetic fields. Recently, five Of?p stars have been discovered in the Magellanic Clouds. They posses photometric \citep{Naze} and spectroscopic \citep{Walborn} variability compatible with the Oblique Rotator Model (ORM). However, their magnetic fields have yet to be directly detected. We have developed an algorithm allowing for the synthesis of photometric observables based on the Analytic Dynamical Magnetosphere (ADM) model of \citet{Owocki}. We apply our model to OGLE photometry in order to constrain their magnetic geometries and surface dipole strengths. We predict that the field strengths for some of these candidate extra-Galactic magnetic stars may be within the detection limits of the FORS2 instrument.

Read this paper on arXiv…

M. Munoz, G. Wade, Y. Naze, et. al.
Fri, 19 Jan 18

Comments: 5 pages, 2 figures

Spectroscopic and photometric confirmation of chromospheric activity in four stars [SSA]


We present analysis of medium resolution optical spectra and long term V band photometry of four cool stars, BD+13 5000, BD+11 3024, TYC 3557-919-1 and TYC 5163-1764-1. Our spectroscopic analysis reveals that the stars are giant or sub-giant from K0 or K1 spectral type, and all of them exhibit emission features in their Ca ii H& K lines. These features appear to be modulated with the rotation of the stars. Except BD+11 3024, we observe that the radial velocities of the target stars are not stable, which suggests that each of them might be a member of a binary system. Global analysis of photometric data indicates clear cyclic variation for BD+13 5000 and TYC 5163-1764-1 with a period of 8.0$\pm$0.3 and 5.04$\pm$0.04 year, respectively. Besides that, we observe a dramatic increase ($\sim$0\fm7) in the mean brightness of BD+11 3024, accompanied with a 2.87$\pm$0.12 cyclic variation, embedded into the global brightening trend, which indicates possible multiple cycles on this star.

Read this paper on arXiv…

O. Ozdarcan and H. Dal
Fri, 19 Jan 18

Comments: 10 pages, 6 figures, 5 tables, accepted for publication in AN

Sun-to-Earth MHD Simulation of the 14 July 2000 "Bastille Day" Eruption [SSA]


Solar eruptions are the main driver of space-weather disturbances at the Earth. Extreme events are of particular interest, not only because of the scientific challenges they pose, but also because of their possible societal consequences. Here we present a magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulation of the 14 July 2000 Bastille Day eruption, which produced a very strong geomagnetic storm. After constructing a thermodynamic MHD model of the corona and solar wind, we insert a magnetically stable flux rope along the polarity inversion line of the eruption’s source region and initiate the eruption by boundary flows. More than 10^33 ergs of magnetic energy are released in the eruption within a few minutes, driving a flare, an EUV wave, and a coronal mass ejection (CME) that travels in the outer corona at about 1500 km/s, close to the observed speed. We then propagate the CME to Earth, using a heliospheric MHD code. Our simulation thus provides the opportunity to test how well in situ observations of extreme events are matched if the eruption is initiated from a stable magnetic-equilibrium state. We find that the flux-rope center is very similar in character to the observed magnetic cloud, but arrives about 8.5 hours later and about 15 degrees too far to the North, with field strengths that are too weak by a factor of about 1.6. The front of the flux rope is highly distorted, exhibiting localized magnetic-field concentrations as it passes 1 AU. We discuss these properties with regard to the development of space-weather predictions based on MHD simulations of solar eruptions.

Read this paper on arXiv…

T. Torok, C. Downs, J. Linker, et. al.
Fri, 19 Jan 18

Comments: 27 pages, 13 figures, under revision for publication in the Astrophysical Journal

The contact binary VW Cephei revisited: surface activity and period variation [SSA]


Context. Despite the fact that VW Cephei is one of the well-studied contact binaries in the literature, there is no fully consistent model available that can explain every observed property of this system.
Aims. Our motivation is to obtain new spectra along with photometric measurements, to analyze what kind of changes may have happened in the system in the past two decades, and to propose new ideas for explaining them.
Methods. For the period analysis we determined 10 new times of minima from our light curves, and constructed a new O$-$C diagram of the system. Radial velocities of the components were determined using the cross-correlation technique. The light curves and radial velocities were modelled simultaneously with the PHOEBE code. All observed spectra were compared to synthetic spectra and equivalent widths of the H$\alpha$ line were measured on their differences.
Results. We have re-determined the physical parameters of the system according to our new light curve and spectral models. We confirm that the primary component is more active than the secondary, and there is a correlation between spottedness and the chromospheric activity. We propose that flip-flop phenomenon occurring on the primary component could be a possible explanation of the observed nature of the activity. To explain the period variation of VW Cep, we test two previously suggested scenarios: presence of a fourth body in the system, and the Applegate-mechanism caused by periodic magnetic activity. We conclude that although none of these mechanisms can be ruled out entirely, the available data suggest that mass transfer with a slowly decreasing rate gives the most likely explanation for the period variation of VW Cep.

Read this paper on arXiv…

T. Mitnyan, A. Bodi, T. Szalai, et. al.
Fri, 19 Jan 18

Comments: 13 pages, 18 figures, 9 tables, accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics