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See detailOrtho-to-para abundance ratios of NH2in 26 comets: implications for the real meaning of OPRs
Shinnaka, Yoshiharu; Kawakita, Hideyo; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2016), 462

Abundance ratios of nuclear-spin isomers for cometary molecules having identical protons, such as water and ammonia, have been measured and discussed from the viewpoint that they are primordial characters ... [more ▼]

Abundance ratios of nuclear-spin isomers for cometary molecules having identical protons, such as water and ammonia, have been measured and discussed from the viewpoint that they are primordial characters in comet. In the case of ammonia, its ortho-to-para abundance ratio (OPR) is usually estimated from OPRs of NH2 because of difficulty in measuring OPR of ammonia directly. We report our survey for OPRs of NH2 in 26 comets. A weighted mean of ammonia OPRs for the comets is 1.12 ± 0.01 and no significant difference is found between the Oort Cloud comets and the Jupiter-family comets. These values correspond to ∼30 K as nuclear-spin temperatures. The OPRs of ammonia in comets probably reflect the physicochemical conditions in coma, rather than the conditions for the molecular formation or condensation in the pre-solar molecular cloud/the solar nebula, based on comparison of OPRs (and nuclear-spin temperatures) of ammonia with those of water, 14N/15N ratios in ammonia, and D/H ratios in water. The OPRs could be reset to a nuclear-spin weights ratio in solid phase and modified by interactions with protonated ions like H3O+, water clusters (H2O)n, ice grains, and paramagnetic impurities (such as O2 molecules and grains) in the inner coma gas. Relationship between the OPRs of ammonia and water is a clue to understanding the real meaning of the OPRs. [less ▲]

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See detailNitrogen isotopic ratios of NH 2 in comets: implication for 15 N-fractionation in cometary ammonia
Shinnaka, Yoshiharu; Kawakita, Hideyo; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2016), 462

The isotopic ratios are diagnostics for the physico-chemical conditions governing molecular formation. In comets, 14N/15N ratios have been measured from HCN in three comets and from CN in more than 20 ... [more ▼]

The isotopic ratios are diagnostics for the physico-chemical conditions governing molecular formation. In comets, 14N/15N ratios have been measured from HCN in three comets and from CN in more than 20 comets. Those ratios are enriched in 15N compared to the Sun by a factor of ∼3, have a small diversity and do not depend on the dynamical type of the comets. The origin of this high 15N-fractionation is still in debate because CN probably comes not only from HCN, but also from other materials (such as polymers or organic dusts) in the coma. Consequently, an interpretation of the isotopic ratios in cometary CN is quite complicated due to the multiple possible parents of CN. In contrast with CN, the isotopic ratios of nitrogen in NH3 give us a much clearer interpretation than in CN because NH3 is directly incorporated in the nuclear ices. To estimate the 14N/15N ratios in NH3, 14N/15N ratios have been determined from high-resolution spectra of NH2 in the optical wavelength region. NH2 is indeed a dominant photodissociation product of NH3. Those ratios were also found to be enriched in 15N compared to the Sun by a factor of ∼3. In this paper, we present 14N/15N ratios in NH2 for an additional sample of 16 comets. Our sample includes short-period comets as well as long-period comets. We found that the 14N/15N ratios in cometary NH2 also show a small dispersion and do not depend on the dynamical origin of the comets. [less ▲]

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See detailTracing back the evolution of the candidate LBV HD 168625
Mahy, Laurent ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg; Royer, P. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 594

Context. The luminous blue variable phase is a crucial transitory phase that is not clearly understood in the massive star evolution. <BR /> Aims: We have obtained far-infrared Herschel/PACS imaging and ... [more ▼]

Context. The luminous blue variable phase is a crucial transitory phase that is not clearly understood in the massive star evolution. <BR /> Aims: We have obtained far-infrared Herschel/PACS imaging and spectroscopic observations of the nebula surrounding the candidate LBV HD 168625. By combining these data with optical spectra of the central star, we want to constrain the abundances in the nebula and in the star and compare them to trace back the evolution of this object. <BR /> Methods: We use the CMFGEN atmosphere code to determine the fundamental parameters and the CNO abundances of the central star whilst the abundances of the nebula are derived from the emission lines present in the Herschel/PACS spectrum. <BR /> Results: The far-infrared images show a nebula composed of an elliptical ring/torus of ejecta with a ESE-WNW axis and of a second perpendicular bipolar structure composed of empty caps/rings. We detect equatorial shells composed of dust and ionized material with different sizes when observed at different wavelengths, and bipolar caps more of less separated from the central star in Hα and mid-IR images. This complex global structure seems to show two different inclinations: ~40° for the equatorial torus and ~ 60° for the bipolar ejections. From the Herschel/PACS spectrum, we determine nebular abundances of N/H = 4.1 ± 0.8 × 10[SUP]-4[/SUP] and , as well as a mass of ionized gas of 0.17 ± 0.04 M[SUB]⊙[/SUB] and a neutral hydrogen mass of about 1.0 ± 0.3 M[SUB]⊙[/SUB] which dominates. Analysis of the central star reveals T[SUB]eff[/SUB] = 14 000 ± 2000 K, log g = 1.74 ± 0.05 and log (L/L[SUB]⊙[/SUB]) = 5.58 ± 0.11. We derive stellar CNO abundances of about N/H = 5.0 ± 1.5 × 10[SUP]-4[/SUP], C/H = 1.4 ± 0.5 × 10[SUP]-4[/SUP] and O/H = 3.5 ± 1.0 × 10[SUP]-4[/SUP], not significantly different from nebular abundances. All these measurements taken together are compatible with the evolutionary tracks of a star with an initial mass between 28 and 33 M[SUB]⊙[/SUB] and with a critical rotational rate between 0.3 and 0.4 that has lost its material during or just after the blue supergiant phase. Based in part on observations taken by Herschel satellite. Herschel is an ESA space observatory with science instruments provided by European-led Principal Investigator consortia and with important participation from NASA.Based in part on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, in Chile. [less ▲]

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See detailSurvey for Ortho-to-Para Abundance Ratios (OPRs) of NH2 in Comets: Revisit to the Meaning of OPRs of Cometary Volatiles
Kawakita, Hideyo; Shinnaka, Yoshiharu; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg et al

in Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society (2016, October 01), 48

Since molecules having identical protons can be classified into nuclear-spin isomers (e.g., ortho-H[SUB]2[/SUB]O and para-H[SUB]2[/SUB]O for water) and their inter-conversions by radiative and non ... [more ▼]

Since molecules having identical protons can be classified into nuclear-spin isomers (e.g., ortho-H[SUB]2[/SUB]O and para-H[SUB]2[/SUB]O for water) and their inter-conversions by radiative and non-destructive collisional processes are believed to be very slow, the ortho-to-para abundance ratios (OPRs) of cometary volatiles such as H[SUB]2[/SUB]O, NH[SUB]3[/SUB] and CH[SUB]4[/SUB] in coma have been considered as primordial characters of cometary molecules [1]. Those ratios are usually interpreted as nuclear-spin temperatures although the real meaning of OPRs is in strong debate. Recent progress in laboratory studies about nuclear-spin conversion in gas- and solid-phases [2,3] revealed short-time nuclear-spin conversions for water, and we have to reconsider the interpretation for observed OPRs of cometary volatiles. We have already performed the survey for OPRs of NH[SUB]2[/SUB] in more than 20 comets by large aperture telescopes with high-resolution spectrographs (UVES/VLT, HDS/Subaru, etc.) in the optical wavelength region [4]. The observed OPRs of ammonia estimated from OPRs of NH[SUB]2[/SUB], cluster around ~1.1 (cf. 1.0 as a high-temperature limit), indicative of ~30 K as nuclear-spin temperatures. We present our latest results for OPRs of cometary NH[SUB]2[/SUB] and discuss about the real meaning of OPRs of cometary ammonia, in relation to OPRs of water in cometary coma. Chemical processes in the inner coma may play an important role to achieve un-equilibrated OPRs of cometary volatiles in coma.This work was financially supported by MEXT Supported Program for the Strategic Research Foundation at Private Universities, 2014–2018 (No. S1411028) (HK) and by Graint-in-Aid for JSPS Fellows, 15J10864 (YS).References:[1] Mumma & Charnley, 2011, Annu. Rev. Astro. Astrophys. 49, 471.[2] Hama & Watanabe, 2013, Chem. Rev. 113, 8783.[3] Hama et al., 2008, Science 351, 6268.[4] Shinnaka et al., 2011, ApJ 729, 81. [less ▲]

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See detailThe OD/OH Isotope Ratio in Comets 8P/Tuttle and C/2012 F6 (Lemmon)
Rousselot, Philippe; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg et al

in Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society (2016, October 01), 48

The determination of isotopic ratios in solar system objects is an important source of information about their origin, especially for comets. Among these ratios the D/H is of particular importance because ... [more ▼]

The determination of isotopic ratios in solar system objects is an important source of information about their origin, especially for comets. Among these ratios the D/H is of particular importance because of its sensitivity to fractionation processes and physical environment, and the abundance of hydrogen in the solar system. The main molecule used to derive this ratio in comets is water. So far, apart water, only HCN has permitted to derive D/H ratio and not only upper limits.Most of the existing determinations of D/H in water molecules have been obtained by spectroscopic observations of water lines in the sub-mm or near infrared range [1,2]. So far only one measurement has been based on OD/OH emission lines radicals in the near-UV [3] and another one on the Lyman-alpha D emission [4]. In situ measurements have also been obtained in comets 1P/Halley and 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko using mass spectrometer [5,6,7,8].In this work we have used the OH and OD ultraviolet bands at 310 nm observed with the ESO 8-m Very Large Telescope feeding the Ultraviolet-Visual Echelle Spectrograph (UVES) for measuring the D/H ratio in comets 8P/Tuttle and C/2012 F6 (Lemmon). The OH and OD being the photodissociation products of H[SUB]2[/SUB]O and HDO such observations allow to derive D/H ratio for water molecules. This work constitutes an independant determination of the D/H ratios already published for these comets and based on observations performed in the sub-mm and near infrared range of H[SUB]2[/SUB]O and HDO lines. We present our modeling, data analysis and numerical values obtained for this ratio.[1] D. Bockelée-Morvan et al., 2015, SSR 197, 47-83 [2] N. Biver et al., 2016, A&A 589, id A78, 11p [3] D. Hutsemékers et al., 2008, A&A 490, L31 [4] H.A. Weaver et al., 2008, LPI Contributions 1405, 8216 [5] H. Balsiger, K. Altwegg, J. Geiss, 1995, JGR 100, 5827 [6] P. Eberhardt et al., 1995, A&A 302, 301 [7] R.H. Brown et al., 2012, PSS 60, 166 [8] K. Alwegg et al., 2015, Science 347, article id. 1261952 [less ▲]

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See detailThe different origins of high- and low-ionization broad emission lines revealed by gravitational microlensing in the Einstein cross
Braibant, Lorraine ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg; Sluse, Dominique ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 592

We investigate the kinematics and ionization structure of the broad emission line region of the gravitationally lensed quasar QSO2237+0305 (the Einstein cross) using differential microlensing in the high ... [more ▼]

We investigate the kinematics and ionization structure of the broad emission line region of the gravitationally lensed quasar QSO2237+0305 (the Einstein cross) using differential microlensing in the high- and low-ionization broad emission lines. We combine visible and near-infrared spectra of the four images of the lensed quasar and detect a large-amplitude microlensing effect distorting the high-ionization CIV and low-ionization Hα line profiles in image A. While microlensing only magnifies the red wing of the Balmer line, it symmetrically magnifies the wings of the CIV emission line. Given that the same microlensing pattern magnifies both the high- and low-ionization broad emission line regions, these dissimilar distortions of the line profiles suggest that the high- and low-ionization regions are governed by different kinematics. Since this quasar is likely viewed at intermediate inclination, we argue that the differential magnification of the blue and red wings of Hα favors a flattened, virialized, low-ionization region whereas the symmetric microlensing effect measured in CIV can be reproduced by an emission line formed in a polar wind, without the need of fine-tuned caustic configurations. [less ▲]

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See detailAbel inversion method for cometary atmospheres.
Hubert, Benoît ULg; Opitom, Cyrielle ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg et al

in Geophysical Research Abstracts (2016, April 01), 18

Remote observation of cometary atmospheres produces a measurement of the cometary emissions integrated along the line of sight joining the observing instrument and the gas of the coma. This integration is ... [more ▼]

Remote observation of cometary atmospheres produces a measurement of the cometary emissions integrated along the line of sight joining the observing instrument and the gas of the coma. This integration is the so-called Abel transform of the local emission rate. We develop a method specifically adapted to the inversion of the Abel transform of cometary emissions, that retrieves the radial profile of the emission rate of any unabsorbed emission, under the hypothesis of spherical symmetry of the coma. The method uses weighted least squares fitting and analytical results. A Tikhonov regularization technique is applied to reduce the possible effects of noise and ill-conditioning, and standard error propagation techniques are implemented. Several theoretical tests of the inversion techniques are carried out to show its validity and robustness, and show that the method is only weakly dependent on any constant offset added to the data, which reduces the dependence of the retrieved emission rate on the background subtraction. We apply the method to observations of three different comets observed using the TRAPPIST instrument: 103P/ Hartley 2, F6/ Lemmon and A1/ Siding spring. We show that the method retrieves realistic emission rates, and that characteristic lengths and production rates can be derived from the emission rate for both CN and C2 molecules. We show that the emission rate derived from the observed flux of CN emission at 387 nm and from the C2 emission at 514.1 nm of comet Siding Spring both present an easily-identifiable shoulder that corresponds to the separation between pre- and post-outburst gas. As a general result, we show that diagnosing properties and features of the coma using the emission rate is easier than directly using the observed flux. We also determine the parameters of a Haser model fitting the inverted data and fitting the line-of-sight integrated observation, for which we provide the exact analytical expression of the line-of-sight integration of the Haser model. [less ▲]

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See detailHerschel observations of the nebula M1-67 around the Wolf-Rayet star WR 124
Vamvatira-Nakou, C.; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg; Royer, P. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 588

Infrared Herschel imaging and spectroscopic observations of the nebula M1-67 around the Wolf-Rayet star WR 124 have been obtained along with optical imaging observations. The infrared images reveal a ... [more ▼]

Infrared Herschel imaging and spectroscopic observations of the nebula M1-67 around the Wolf-Rayet star WR 124 have been obtained along with optical imaging observations. The infrared images reveal a clumpy dusty nebula that extends up to 1 pc. The comparison with the optical images shows that the ionized gas nebula coincides with the dust nebula, the dust and the gas being mixed together. A photodissociation region is revealed from the infrared spectroscopic analysis. The analysis of the infrared spectrum of the nebula, where forbidden emission lines of ionized elements were detected, showed that the nebula consists of mildly processed material with the calculated abundance number ratios being N/O = 1.0 ± 0.5 and C/O = 0.46 ± 0.27. Based on a radiative transfer model, the dust mass of the nebula was estimated to be 0.22 M[SUB]⊙[/SUB] with a population of large grains being necessary to reproduce the observations. The comparison of the mass-loss rate and the abundance ratios to theoretical models of stellar evolution led to the conclusion that the nebular ejection took place during a RSG/YSG evolutionary phase of a central star with an initial mass of 32 M[SUB]⊙[/SUB]. Herschel is an ESA space observatory with science instruments provided by European-led Principal Investigator consortia and with important participation from NASA.Based in part on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, La Silla, Chile. [less ▲]

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See detailEvidence for the alignment of quasar radio polarizations with large quasar group axes
Pelgrims, Vincent ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 590

Recently, evidence has been presented for the polarization vectors from quasars to preferentially align with the axes of the large quasar groups (LQG) to which they belong. This report was based on ... [more ▼]

Recently, evidence has been presented for the polarization vectors from quasars to preferentially align with the axes of the large quasar groups (LQG) to which they belong. This report was based on observations made at optical wavelengths for two large quasar groups at redshift ~1.3. The correlation suggests that the spin axes of quasars preferentially align with their surrounding large-scale structure that is assumed to be traced by the LQGs. Here, we consider a large sample of LQGs built from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey DR7 quasar catalogue in the redshift range 1.0 -􀀀 1.8. For quasars embedded in this sample, we collected radio polarization measurements with the goal to study possible correlations between quasar polarization vectors and the major axis of their host LQGs. Assuming the radio polarization vector is perpendicular to the quasar spin axis, we found that the quasar spin axis is preferentially parallel to the LQG major axis inside LQGs that have at least 20 members. This result independently supports the observations at optical wavelengths. We additionally found that when the richness of an LQG decreases, the quasar spin axis becomes preferentially perpendicular to the LQG major axis and that no correlation is detected for quasar groups with fewer than 10 members. [less ▲]

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See detailLong-term activity and outburst of comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) from narrow-band photometry and long-slit spectroscopy
Opitom, Cyrielle ULg; Guilbert-Lepoutre, A.; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 589

In this paper, we present a unique data set of more than one year's worth of regular observations of comet C/2013 A1(Siding Spring) with TRAPPIST in Chile, along with low-resolution spectra obtained with ... [more ▼]

In this paper, we present a unique data set of more than one year's worth of regular observations of comet C/2013 A1(Siding Spring) with TRAPPIST in Chile, along with low-resolution spectra obtained with the ESO/VLT FORS 2 instrument. The comet made a close approach to Mars on October 19, 2014 and was then observed by many space and ground-based telescopes. We followed the evolution of the OH, NH, CN, $\mathrm{C_3}$, and $\mathrm{C_2}$ production rates as well as the $Af\rho$ parameter as a proxy for the dust production. We detected an outburst two weeks after perihelion, with gas and dust production rates being multiplied by a factor five within a few days. By modelling the shape of the CN and $\mathrm{C_2}$ radial profiles, we determined that the outburst happened around on November 10 around 15:30 UT ($\pm$ 5h) and measured a gas ejection velocity of $1.1\pm0.2$ km/s. We used a thermal evolution model to reproduce the activity pattern and outburst. Our results are consistent with the progressive formation of a dust mantle explaining the shallow dependence of gas production rates, which may be partially blown off during the outburst. We studied the evolution of gas composition, using various ratios such as CN/OH, $\mathrm{C_2}$/OH, or $\mathrm{C_3}$/OH, which showed little or no variation with heliocentric distance including at the time of the outburst. This indicates a relative level of homogeneity of the nucleus composition. [less ▲]

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See detailAn inversion method for cometary atmospheres
Hubert, Benoît ULg; Opitom, Cyrielle ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg et al

in Icarus (2016), 277

Remote observation of cometary atmospheres produces a measurement of the cometary emissions integrated along the line of sight. This integration is the so-called Abel transform of the local emission rate ... [more ▼]

Remote observation of cometary atmospheres produces a measurement of the cometary emissions integrated along the line of sight. This integration is the so-called Abel transform of the local emission rate. The observation is generally interpreted under the hypothesis of spherical symmetry of the coma. Under that hypothesis, the Abel transform can be inverted. We derive a numerical inversion method adapted to cometary atmospheres using both analytical results and least squares fitting techniques. This method, derived under the usual hypothesis of spherical symmetry, allows us to retrieve the radial distribution of the emission rate of any unabsorbed emission, which is the fundamental, physically meaningful quantity governing the observation. A Tikhonov regularization technique is also applied to reduce the possibly deleterious effects of the noise present in the observation and to warrant that the problem remains well posed. Standard error propagation techniques are included in order to estimate the uncertainties affecting the retrieved emission rate. Several theoretical tests of the inversion techniques are carried out to show its validity and robustness. In particular, we show that the Abel inversion of real data is only weakly sensitive to an offset applied to the input flux, which implies that the method, applied to the study of a cometary atmosphere, is only weakly dependent on uncertainties on the sky background which has to be subtracted from the raw observations of the coma. We apply the method to observations of three different comets observed using the TRAPPIST telescope: 103P/ Hartley 2, F6/ Lemmon and A1/ Siding Spring. We show that the method retrieves realistic emission rates, and that characteristic lengths and production rates can be derived from the emission rate for both CN and C2 molecules. We show that the retrieved characteristic lengths can differ from those obtained from a direct least squares fitting over the observed flux of radiation, and that discrepancies can be reconciled for by correcting this flux by an offset (to which the inverse Abel transform is nearly not sensitive). The A1/Siding Spring observations were obtained very shortly after the comet produced an outburst, and we show that the emission rate derived from the observed flux of CN emission at 387 nm and from the C2 emission at 514.1 nm both present an easily-identifiable shoulder that corresponds to the separation between pre- and post-outburst gas. As a general result, we show that diagnosing properties and features of the coma using the emission rate is easier than directly using the observed flux, because the Abel transform produces a smoothing that blurs the signatures left by features present in the coma. We also determine the parameters of a Haser model fitting the inverted data and fitting the line-of-sight integrated observation, for which we provide the exact analytical expression of the line-of-sight integration of the Haser model. [less ▲]

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See detailTRAPPIST photometry and imaging monitoring of comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy): Implications for the origin of daughter species
Opitom, Cyrielle ULg; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Manfroid, Jean ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2015), 584

We report the results of the narrow-band photometry and imaging monitoring of comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) with the robotic telescope TRAPPIST (La Silla observatory). We gathered around 400 images over 8 ... [more ▼]

We report the results of the narrow-band photometry and imaging monitoring of comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) with the robotic telescope TRAPPIST (La Silla observatory). We gathered around 400 images over 8 months pre- and post-perihelion between September 12, 2013 and July 6, 2014. We followed the evolution of the OH, NH, CN, C[SUB]3[/SUB], and C[SUB]2[/SUB] production rates computed with the Haser model, as well as the evolution of the dust production. All five gas species display an asymmetry about perihelion, since the rate of brightening is steeper than the rate of fading. The study of the coma morphology reveals gas and dust jets that indicate one or several active zone(s) on the nucleus. The dust, C[SUB]2[/SUB], and C[SUB]3[/SUB] morphologies present some similarities, while the CN morphology is different. OH and NH are enhanced in the tail direction. The study of the evolution of the comet activity shows that the OH, NH, and C[SUB]2[/SUB] production rate evolution with the heliocentric distance is correlated to the dust evolution. The CN and, to a lesser extent, the C[SUB]3[/SUB] do not display such a correlation with the dust. This evidence and the comparison with parent species production rates indicate that C[SUB]2[/SUB] and C[SUB]3[/SUB], on one hand, and OH and NH, on the other, could be - at least partially - released from organic - rich grains and icy grains. On the contrary, all evidences point to HCN being the main parent of CN in this comet. [less ▲]

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See detailPolarization microlensing in the quadruply imaged broad absorption line quasar H1413+117
Hutsemekers, Damien ULg; Sluse, Dominique ULg; Braibant, Lorraine ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2015), 584

We have obtained spectropolarimetric observations of the four images of the gravitationally lensed broad absorption line quasar H1413+117. The polarization of the microlensed image D is significantly ... [more ▼]

We have obtained spectropolarimetric observations of the four images of the gravitationally lensed broad absorption line quasar H1413+117. The polarization of the microlensed image D is significantly different, both in the continuum and in the broad lines, from the polarization of image A, which is essentially unaffected by microlensing. The observations suggest that the continuum is scattered off two regions, spatially separated, and producing roughly perpendicular polarizations. These results are compatible with a model in which the microlensed polarized continuum comes from a compact region located in the equatorial plane close to the accretion disk and the non-microlensed continuum from an extended region located along the polar axis. Based on observations made with ESO Telescopes at the Paranal Observatory (Chile). ESO program ID: 386.B-0337. [less ▲]

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See detailNitrogen Isotopic Ratios in Cometary NH2: Implication for 15N-fractionation in Ammonia
Shinnaka, Yoshiharu; Kawakita, Hideyo; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg et al

in Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society (2015, November 01), 47

Isotopic ratios in cometary molecules are diagnostic for the physico-chemical conditions where molecules formed and are processed, from the interstellar medium to the solar nebula. Usually temperatures at ... [more ▼]

Isotopic ratios in cometary molecules are diagnostic for the physico-chemical conditions where molecules formed and are processed, from the interstellar medium to the solar nebula. Usually temperatures at the molecular formation control the fractionation of the heavier element in molecular species, e.g., D-fractionation in water.In cometary volatiles, the [SUP]14[/SUP]N/[SUP]15[/SUP]N ratios in CN have been well observed (Manfroid et al. 2009, A&A, 503, 613, and reference therein) and is consistent with the ratio in HCN (a most probable parent of CN) measured in few comets (Bockelée-Morvan et al. 2008, ApJ, 679, L49). Those ratios are enriched compared to the proto-solar value by a factor of ~3. In contrast to those Nitriles, there are only few reports on [SUP]14[/SUP]N/[SUP]15[/SUP]N ratios in Ammonia (as Amine) (Rousselot et al. 2014, ApJ, 780, L17; Shinnaka et al. 2014, ApJ, 782, L16). Ammonia (NH[SUB]3[/SUB]) is usually the most abundant and HCN is the second most abundant N-bearing volatiles in cometary ice. Especially, recent observations of [SUP]15[/SUP]NH[SUB]2[/SUB] revealed the [SUP]14[/SUP]N/[SUP]15[/SUP]N ratios in NH[SUB]3[/SUB] are comparable to those of CN. However, from the viewpoint of theoretical work, the enrichment of [SUP]15[/SUP]N in cometary NH[SUB]3[/SUB] cannot be reproduced by current chemical network models. Information about the diversity of the [SUP]14[/SUP]N/[SUP]15[/SUP]N ratios in NH[SUB]3[/SUB] of individual comets is needed to understand the formation mechanisms/environments of NH[SUB]3[/SUB] in the early solar system.To clarify the diversity of the [SUP]14[/SUP]N/[SUP]15[/SUP]N ratios in cometary NH[SUB]3[/SUB], we determine the [SUP]14[/SUP]N/[SUP]15[/SUP]N ratios in NH[SUB]3[/SUB] for more than ten comets individually which include not only Oort cloud comets but also short period comets by using the high-resolution optical spectra of NH[SUB]2[/SUB]. These spectra were obtained with both the UVES mounted on the VLT in Chile and the HDS on the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii.The derived [SUP]14[/SUP]N/[SUP]15[/SUP]N ratios in NH[SUB]3[/SUB] for more than ten comets show high [SUP]15[/SUP]N-enrichment compared with the elemental abundances of nitrogen in the Sun by about factor of ~3 and has no large diversity depending on these dynamical properties. We discuss about the origin of the formation conditions of cometary NH[SUB]3[/SUB] and its physico-chemical evolution in the solar nebula based on our and other results.This work was supported by JSPS, 15J10864 (Y. Shinnaka). [less ▲]

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See detailFive years of comet narrow band photometry and imaging with TRAPPIST
Opitom, Cyrielle ULg; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Manfroid, Jean ULg et al

in Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society (2015, November 01), 47

TRAPPIST is a 60-cm robotic telescope in La Silla Observatory [1] mainly dedicated to the study of exoplanets and comets. The telescope is equipped with a set of narrow band cometary filters designed by ... [more ▼]

TRAPPIST is a 60-cm robotic telescope in La Silla Observatory [1] mainly dedicated to the study of exoplanets and comets. The telescope is equipped with a set of narrow band cometary filters designed by the NASA for the Hale-Bopp observing campaign [2]. Since its installation in 2010, we gathered a high quality and homogeneous data set of more than 30 bright comets observed with narrow band filters. Some comets were only observed for a few days but others have been observed weekly during several months on both sides of perihelion. From the images, we derived OH, NH, CN, C[SUB]2[/SUB], and C[SUB]3[/SUB] production rates using a Haser [3] model in addition to the Afρ parameter as a proxy for the dust production. We computed production rates ratios and the dust color for each comet to study their composition and followed the evolution of these ratios and colors with the heliocentric distance.The TRAPPIST data set, rich of more than 10000 images obtained and reduced in an homogeneous way, allows us to address several fundamental questions such as the pristine or evolutionary origin of composition differences among comets. The evolution of comet activity with the heliocentric distance, the differences between species, and from comet to comet, will be discussed. Finally, the first results about the one year campaign on comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) and our recent work on the re-determination of Haser scalelengths will be presented.[1] Jehin et al., The Messenger, 145, 2-6, 2011[2] Farnham et al., Icarus, 147, 180-204, 2000[3] Haser, Bulletin de l’Académie Royal des Sciences de Belgique,63, 739, 1957 [less ▲]

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See detailEvidence for two spatially separated UV continuum emitting regions in the Cloverleaf broad absorption line quasar
Sluse, Dominique ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg; Anguita, T. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2015), 582

Testing the standard Shakura-Sunyaev model of accretion is a challenging task because the central region of quasars where accretion takes place is unresolved with telescopes. The analysis of microlensing ... [more ▼]

Testing the standard Shakura-Sunyaev model of accretion is a challenging task because the central region of quasars where accretion takes place is unresolved with telescopes. The analysis of microlensing in gravitationally lensed quasars is one of the few techniques that can test this model, yielding to the measurement of the size and of temperature profile of the accretion disc. We present spectroscopic observations of the gravitationally lensed broad absorption line quasar H1413+117, which reveal partial microlensing of the continuum emission that appears to originate from two separated regions: a microlensed region, corresponding the compact accretion disc; and a non-microlensed region, more extended and contributing to at least 30% of the total UV-continuum flux. Because this extended continuum is occulted by the broad absorption line clouds, it is not associated with the host galaxy, but rather with light scattered in the neighbourhood of the central engine. We measure the amplitude of microlensing of the compact continuum over the rest-frame wavelength range 1000-7000 Å. Following a Bayesian scheme, we confront our measurements to microlensing simulations of an accretion disc with a temperature varying as T ∝ R[SUP]-1/ν[/SUP]. We find a most likely source half-light radius of R[SUB]1/2[/SUB] = 0.61 × 10[SUP]16[/SUP]cm (i.e., 0.002 pc) at 0.18 μm, and a most-likely index of ν = 0.4. The standard disc (ν = 4/3) model is not ruled out by our data, and is found within the 95% confidence interval associated with our measurements. We demonstrate that, for H1413+117, the existence of an extended continuum in addition to the disc emission only has a small impact on the inferred disc parameters, and is unlikely to solve the tension between the microlensing source size and standard disc sizes, as previously reported in the literature. Based on observations made with ESO Telescopes at the Paranal Observatory (Chile). ESO program ID: 386.B-0337.Appendices A and B are available in electronic form at <A href="http://www.aanda.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201526832/olm">http://www.aanda.org</A> [less ▲]

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See detailHigh-resolution spectra of comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy)
Rousselot, P.; Decock, A.; Korsun, P. P. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2015), 580

Context. High-resolution spectra of comets permit deriving the physical properties of the coma. In the optical range, relative production rates can be computed, and information about isotopic ratios and ... [more ▼]

Context. High-resolution spectra of comets permit deriving the physical properties of the coma. In the optical range, relative production rates can be computed, and information about isotopic ratios and the origin of oxygen atoms can be obtained. <BR /> Aims: The main objective of the work presented here was to obtain information about the chemical composition of comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy), a bright and long-period comet that passed perihelion (0.81 au) on 22 December 2013. <BR /> Methods: We used the HARPS-North echelle spectrograph at the 3.5 m telescope TNG to obtain high-resolution spectra of comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) in the optical range immediately after its perihelion passage during four consecutive nights in the period December 23 to 26, 2013. <BR /> Results: Our results demonstrate the ability of HARPS-North to efficiently obtain cometary spectra. Very faint emission lines, such as those of [SUP]15[/SUP]NH[SUB]2[/SUB], have been detected, leading to a rough estimate of the [SUP]14[/SUP]N/[SUP]15[/SUP]N ratio in NH[SUB]2[/SUB]. The [SUP]12[/SUP]C/[SUP]13[/SUP]C ratio was measured in the C[SUB]2[/SUB] lines and is equal to 80 ± 30. The oxygen lines were studied as well (green to red line intensity ratios and widths), confirming that H[SUB]2[/SUB]O is the main parent molecule that photodissociates to produce oxygen atoms. This suggests that this comet has a high CO[SUB]2[/SUB] abundance. Relative production rates for C[SUB]2[/SUB] and NH[SUB]2[/SUB] were computed, but we found no significant deviation from a typical NH[SUB]2[/SUB]/C[SUB]2[/SUB] ratio. Based on observations made with the Italian Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG) operated on the island of La Palma by the Fundación Galileo Galilei of the INAF (Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica) at the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias. [less ▲]

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See detailPolarization alignments of quasars from the JVAS/CLASS 8.4-GHz surveys
Pelgrims, Vincent ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2015), 450

We test the hypothesis that the polarization vectors of flat-spectrum radio sources (FSRSs) from the JVAS/CLASS 8.4-GHz surveys are randomly oriented in the sky. A sample with robust polarization ... [more ▼]

We test the hypothesis that the polarization vectors of flat-spectrum radio sources (FSRSs) from the JVAS/CLASS 8.4-GHz surveys are randomly oriented in the sky. A sample with robust polarization measurements is made with 4155 objects. Redshift information is known for 1531 of them. We performed two statistical analyses: one in two dimensions and the other in three dimensions when distance is available. We find significant large-scale alignments of polarization vectors for samples containing only quasars among the varieties of FSRS. While these correlations prove difficult to explain either by a physical effect or by biases in the data set, that the quasars that have significantly aligned polarization vectors are found in regions of the sky where optical polarization alignments were previously found is striking. [less ▲]

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See detailAlignments of quasar axes with large-scale structures
Hutsemekers, Damien ULg; Braibant, Lorraine ULg; Pelgrims, Vincent ULg et al

Conference (2015, July)

Based on measurements of optical linear polarization of quasars belonging to large groups at redshift ~ 1.3, we found that quasar spin axes are likely parallel to their host large-scale structures. The ... [more ▼]

Based on measurements of optical linear polarization of quasars belonging to large groups at redshift ~ 1.3, we found that quasar spin axes are likely parallel to their host large-scale structures. The observations and the statistical analysis will be reviewed, and interpretations discussed. [less ▲]

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