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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: The extremely massive (〉 90 Stellar Mass) and luminous (= 5 x 10(exp 6) Stellar Luminosity) star Eta Carinae, with its spectacular bipolar "Homunculus" nebula, comprises one of the most remarkable and intensely observed stellar systems in the Galaxy. However, many of its underlying physical parameters remain unknown. Multiwavelength variations observed to occur every 5.54 years are interpreted as being due to the collision of a massive wind from the primary star with the fast, less dense wind of a hot companion star in a highly elliptical (e approx. 0.9) orbit. Using three-dimensional (3-D) Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) simulations of the binary wind-wind collision, together with radiative transfer codes, we compute synthetic spectral images of [Fe III] emission line structures and compare them to existing Hubble Space Telescope/Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (HST/STIS) observations. We are thus able, for the first time, to tightly constrain the absolute orientation of the binary orbit on the sky. An orbit with an inclination of approx. 40deg, an argument of periapsis omega approx. 255deg, and a projected orbital axis with a position angle of approx. 312deg east of north provides the best fit to the observations, implying that the orbital axis is closely aligned in 3-D space with the Homunculus symmetry axis, and that the companion star orbits clockwise on the sky relative to the primary.
    Keywords: Astronomy
    Type: Bulletin de la Societe Royale des Sciences de Liege; Volume 80; 694-698
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: We investigate the radio luminosity function and radio source population for two fields within the Coma cluster of galaxies, with the fields centered on the cluster core and southwest infall region and each covering about half a square degree. Using VLA data with a typical rms sensitivity of 28 (mu)Jy per 4.4" beam, we identify 249 radio sources with optical counterparts brighter than r = 22 (equivalent to M(sub r) = -13 for cluster member galaxies). Comprehensive optical spectroscopy identifies 38 of these as members of the Coma cluster, evenly split between sources powered by an active nucleus and sources powered by active star formation. The radio-detected star-forming galaxies are restricted to radio luminosities between about 10(exp 21) and 10(exp 22) W/Hz, an interesting result given that star formation dominates field radio luminosity functions below about 10(exp 23) W/Hz. The majority of the radio-detected star-forming galaxies have characteristics of starbursts, including high specific star formation rates and optical spectra with strong emission lines. In conjunction with prior studies on post-starburst galaxies within the Coma cluster, this is consistent with a picture in which late-type galaxies entering Coma undergo a starburst prior to a rapid cessation of star formation. Optically bright elliptical galaxies (Mr less than or equals -20.5) make the largest contribution to the radio luminosity function at both the high (〉 approx. 3x10(exp 22) W/Hz) and low (〈 approx. 10(exp 21) W/Hz) ends. Through a stacking analysis of these optically-bright ellipticals we find that they continue to harbor radio sources down to luminosities as faint as 3x10(exp 19) W/Hz. However, contrary to published results for the Virgo cluster we find no evidence for the existence of a population of optically faint (M(sub r) approx. equals -14) dwarf ellipticals hosting strong radio AGN.
    Keywords: Astronomy
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2004-12-03
    Description: We examine the infrared emission of the Herbig Ae/Be stars and show that some possess characteristics indicative of partially crystalline grains similar to those seen in Beta Pictoris and some solar system comets.
    Keywords: Astronomy
    Type: From Stardust to Planetesimals: Contributed Papers; 19-22; NASA-CP-3343
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2011-08-23
    Description: The magnetic flux content of the Jovian magnetosphere is set by the internal dynamo, but those magnetic field lines are constantly being loaded by heavy ions at the orbit of lo and dragged inexorably outward by the centrifugal force. Vasyliunas has proposed a steady state reconnecting magnetospheric model that sheds plasma islands of zero net magnetic flux and returns nearly empty flux tubes to the inner magnetosphere. The Galileo observations indicate that beyond 40 Rj the current sheet begins to tear and beyond 50 Rj on the nightside explosively reconnects as the tearing site reaches the low density lobe region above and below the current sheet. Small events occur irregularly but on average about every 4 hours and large events about once a day. The magnetic flux reconnected in such events amounts up to about 70,000 Webers/sec and is sufficient to return the outwardly convected magnetic flux to the inner magnetosphere. Since this process releases plasmoids into the jovian tail, as do terrestrial substorms; since this process involves explosive reconnection across the current sheet on the nightside of the planet, as do terrestrial substorms; and since the process is a key in closing the circulation pattern of the magnetic and plasma flux, as it is in terrestrial substorms; we refer to these events as jovian substorms.
    Keywords: Astronomy
    Type: Advanced Space Research (ISSN 0273-1177); Volume 26; No. 10; 1499-1504
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2011-08-23
    Description: A 10 micron silicate emission feature has been discovered in the spectra of comets P/BorrelIy and P/Faye at R approximately 1.5 AU. These are the first short period comets in which silicate emission has definitely been detected. The broad emission features are about 25% above the continuum. No emission feature was present in the spectrum of P/Schaumasse; it is possible that the nucleus of P/Schaumasse was directly detected. If all of the observed flux originated from the nucleus, then the effective radius is about 3 km; the observed color temperature is consistent with a rapidly rotating nucleus. We present models that show how the shape of the silicate feature can depend on the way in which silicate and absorbing material are mixed in the grains.
    Keywords: Astronomy
    Type: ICARUS (ISSN 0019-1035); Volume 124; Article No. 0209; 344-351
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: We present results from a program to develop an X-ray telescope made from thin plastic shells. Our initial results have been obtained from multi-shell cylindrical lenses that are used in a point-to-point configuration to image the small focal spot of a an X-ray tube on a microchannel plate detector. We describe the steps that led up to the present design and present data from the tests that have been used to identify the properties of the plastic material that make it a suitable X-ray reflector. We discuss two applications of our technology to X-ray missions that are designed to address some of the scientific priorities set forth in NASA's long term plans for high energy astrophysics. One mission will observe in the 1 - 10 keV band, the other will extend up to ca. 100 keV.
    Keywords: Astronomy
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2019-07-12
    Description: One of the key predictions of modeling from the IR excess of Herbig Ae stars is that for protoplanetary disks, where significant grain growth and settling has occurred, the dust disk has flattened to the point that it can be partially or largely shadowed by the innermost material at or near the dust sublimation radius. When the self-shadowing has already started, the outer disk is expected to be detected in scattered light only in the exceptional cases that the scale height of the dust disk at the sublimation radius is smaller than usual. High-contrast imaging combined with the IR spectral energy distribution allow us to measure the degree of flattening of the disk, as well as to determine the properties of the outer disk. We present polarimetric differential imaging in H band obtained with Subaru/HiCIAO of one such system, MWC 480. The HiCIAO data were obtained at a historic minimum of the NIR excess. The disk is detected in scattered light from 0".2-1"0 (27.4-137 AU). Together with the marginal detection of the disk from 1998 February 24 by HST / NICMOS, our data constrain the opening half angle for the disk to lie between 1.3 〈= Theta 〈=2.2 deg. When compared with similar measures in CO for the gas disk from the literature, the dust disk subtends only approx 30% of the gas disk scale height (H/R approx 0. 03). Such a dust disk is a factor of 5-7 flatter than transitional disks, which have structural signatures that giant planets have formed.
    Keywords: Astronomy
    Type: GSFC.JA.7391.2012
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2019-07-12
    Description: Infrared photometry and spectroscopy covering a time span of a quarter century are presented for HD 31648 (MWC 480) and HD 163296 (MWC 275). Both are isolated Herbig Ae stars that exhibit signs of active accretion, including driving bipolar flows with embedded Herbig-Haro (HH) objects. HD 163296 was found to be relatively quiescent photometrically in its inner disk region, with the exception of a major increase in emitted flux in a broad wavelength region centered near 3 pm in 2002. In contrast, HD 31648 has exhibited sporadic changes in the entire 3-13 pm region throughout this span of time. In both stars the changes in the 1-5 pm flux indicate structural changes in the region of the disk near the dust sublimation zone, possibly causing its distance from the star to vary with time. Repeated thermal cycling through this region will result in the preferential survival of large grains, and an increase in the degree of crystallinity. The variability observed in these objects has important consequences for the interpretation of other types of observations. For example, source variability will compromise models based on interferometry measurements unless the interferometry observations are accompanied by nearly-simultaneous photometric data.
    Keywords: Astronomy
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2019-07-12
    Description: Eta-Carinae is considered to be a massive colliding wind binary system with a highly eccentric (e approximately 0.9), 5.54-yr orbit. However, the companion star continues to evade direct detection as the primary dwarfs its emission at most wavelengths. Using three-dimensional (3-D) SPH simulations of eta-Car's colliding winds and radiative transfer codes, we are able to compute synthetic observables across multiple wavebands for comparison to the observations. The models show that the presence of a companion star has a profound influence on the observed HST/STIS UV spectrum and H-alpha line profiles, as well as the ground-based photometric monitoring. Here, we focus on the Bore Hole effect, wherein the fast wind from the hot secondary star carves a cavity in the dense primary wind, allowing increased escape of radiation from the hotter/deeper layers of the primary's extended wind photosphere. The results have important implications for interpretations of eta-Car's observables at multiple wavelengths.
    Keywords: Astronomy
    Type: GSFC.JA.5685.2011
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2019-07-12
    Description: We present a three-dimensional (3-D) dynamical model for the broad [Fe III] emission observed in Eta Carinae using the Hubble Space Telescope/Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (HST/STIS). This model is based on full 3-D Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) simulations of Eta Car's binary colliding winds. Radiative transfer codes are used to generate synthetic spectro-images of [Fe III] emission line structures at various observed orbital phases and STIS slit position angles (PAs). Through a parameter study that varies the orbital inclination i, the PA(theta) that the orbital plane projection of the line-of-sight makes with the apastron side of the semi-major axis, and the PA on the sky of the orbital axis, we are able, for the first time, to tightly constrain the absolute 3-D orientation of the binary orbit. To simultaneously reproduce the blue-shifted emission arcs observed at orbital phase 0.976, STIS slit PA = +38deg, and the temporal variations in emission seen at negative slit PAs, the binary needs to have an i approx. = 130deg to 145deg, Theta approx. = -15deg to +30deg, and an orbital axis projected on the sky at a P A approx. = 302deg to 327deg east of north. This represents a system with an orbital axis that is closely aligned with the inferred polar axis of the Homunculus nebula, in 3-D. The companion star, Eta(sub B), thus orbits clockwise on the sky and is on the observer's side of the system at apastron. This orientation has important implications for theories for the formation of the Homunculus and helps lay the groundwork for orbital modeling to determine the stellar masses.
    Keywords: Astronomy
    Type: GSFC.JA.5510.2011
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