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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)

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 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 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

E-print/Working paper (2015)

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 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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See detailQuasar radio polarizations align with large quasar group major axes
Pelgrims, Vincent ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg

Poster (2015, July)

Using quasar polarizations and a sample of large quasar groups drawn from the SDSS DR7, we showed that at HIGH REDSHIFTS (z ~ 1.5) the spin axis orientations of black holes are correlated to the major ... [more ▼]

Using quasar polarizations and a sample of large quasar groups drawn from the SDSS DR7, we showed that at HIGH REDSHIFTS (z ~ 1.5) the spin axis orientations of black holes are correlated to the major axes of the groups to which they belong. Inside very rich groups the BH spins are aligned with the major axes. When the richness decreases, the spin axes become preferentially perpendicular. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Herschel view of the nebula around the luminous blue variable star AG Carinae
Vamvatira-Nakou, Chloi ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg; Royer, P. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2015), 578

Far-infrared Herschel PACS imaging and spectroscopic observations of the nebula around the luminous blue variable (LBV) star AG Car have been obtained along with optical imaging in the Halpha+[NII] filter ... [more ▼]

Far-infrared Herschel PACS imaging and spectroscopic observations of the nebula around the luminous blue variable (LBV) star AG Car have been obtained along with optical imaging in the Halpha+[NII] filter. In the infrared light, the nebula appears as a clumpy ring shell that extends up to 1.2 pc with an inner radius of 0.4 pc. It coincides with the Halpha nebula, but extends further out. Dust modeling of the nebula was performed and indicates the presence of large grains. The dust mass is estimated to be ~ 0.2 Msun. The infrared spectrum of the nebula consists of forbidden emission lines over a dust continuum. Apart from ionized gas, these lines also indicate the existence of neutral gas in a photodissociation region that surrounds the ionized region. The abundance ratios point towards enrichment by processed material. The total mass of the nebula ejected from the central star amounts to ~ 15 Msun, assuming a dust-to-gas ratio typical of LBVs. The abundances and the mass-loss rate were used to constrain the evolutionary path of the central star and the epoch at which the nebula was ejected, with the help of available evolutionary models. This suggests an ejection during a cool LBV phase for a star of ~ 55 Msun with little rotation. [less ▲]

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See detailQUASARPOL: A catalog of quasar linear polarisation data
Sluse, Dominique ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg

Conference (2015, May 11)

Quasar polarisation measurements are of great importance for understanding the geometry of the inner regions surrounding supermassive black holes. Unfortunately, measurements are generally heterogeneous ... [more ▼]

Quasar polarisation measurements are of great importance for understanding the geometry of the inner regions surrounding supermassive black holes. Unfortunately, measurements are generally heterogeneous, and spread over hundreds of papers published in the literature. At the exception of some recent catalogs available on VIZIER or via the Virtual Observatory, there is no dedicated facility to explore those data. This matter of fact, strongly limits the exploitation of polarisation data. For the early papers, that have pioneered the field of quasar polarimetry and gathered numerous polarisation measurements, tables are not available in electronic format, further complicating the use of those invaluable data. We will present QUASARPOL, an effort for constructing a first unified catalog of several thousands of optical linear polarisation measurements of quasars and blazars. An overview of the actual catalog structure, technical difficulties, and of the status of the collected data will be presented. This catalog aims at providing an easy access to polarisation data for the community (familiar or not with polarisation measurements). The current catalog will not be exhaustive. We rather encourage its completion in a collaborative manner, with spontaneous contribution from the community in a simple tabular format. [less ▲]

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See detailOptical polarization from AGN
Hutsemekers, Damien ULg

Conference (2015, May)

I review the optical polarization properties of both low- and high-luminosity AGN, focusing on the origin of the polarization and its relation to AGN properties, in particular the geometry of the ... [more ▼]

I review the optical polarization properties of both low- and high-luminosity AGN, focusing on the origin of the polarization and its relation to AGN properties, in particular the geometry of the scattering regions. The use of polarization to follow AGN orientations along the large-scale structures will also be discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailLarge-scale polarization alignments of quasars in the JVAS/CLASS 8.4-GHz surveys
Pelgrims, Vincent ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg

Poster (2015, May)

We analyse the large sample of polarization measurements of the flat-spectrum radio sources of the JVAS/CLASS 8.4-GHz surveys compiled by Jackson et al. (2007). We tested the uniformity of the ... [more ▼]

We analyse the large sample of polarization measurements of the flat-spectrum radio sources of the JVAS/CLASS 8.4-GHz surveys compiled by Jackson et al. (2007). We tested the uniformity of the polarization position angles for a wide range of angular (2D) and comoving (3D) separations and studied the several subsamples, dividing the main sample of 4155 sources regarding their object type (QSO, galaxies, radio sources,...). We found regions of the sky of about 20 degree radius in which quasars (only) have correlated polarization position angles. Those regions coincide with the regions of alignment at optical wavelength pinpointed in 1998 by Hutsemékers. [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

Poster (2015, March)

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

Based on measurements of optical linear polarization of quasars belonging to large groups at redshift z ~ 1.3, we found that quasar spin axes are likely parallel to their host large-scale structures (Hutsemékers et al. 2014). These observations can constrain models of the coevolution of AGN, galaxies and large-scale structures. [less ▲]

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See detailTRAPPIST monitoring of comet C/2012 F6 (Lemmon)
Opitom, Cyrielle ULg; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Manfroid, Jean ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2015), 574

We report the results of the long-term narrowband photometry and imaging monitoring of comet C/2012 F6 (Lemmon) with the robotic TRAPPIST telescope (La Silla Observatory). Observations covered 52 nights ... [more ▼]

We report the results of the long-term narrowband photometry and imaging monitoring of comet C/2012 F6 (Lemmon) with the robotic TRAPPIST telescope (La Silla Observatory). Observations covered 52 nights pre- and post-perihelion between December 11, 2012, and June 11, 2013 (perihelion: 24 March, 2013). 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 A(θ)fρ parameter as a proxy for the dust production. All five gas species display similar slopes for the heliocentric dependence. An asymmetry about perihelion is observed, the rate of brightening being steeper than the rate of fading. The chemical composition of the comet's coma changes slightly along the orbit: the relative abundance of C[SUB]2[/SUB] to CN increases with the heliocentric distance (r) below -1.4 au and decreases with r beyond 1.4 au while the C[SUB]3[/SUB]-to-CN ratio is constant during our observations. The behavior of the dust is different from that of the gas, the slope of the heliocentric dependence becoming steeper in early February, correlated to a change in the visual lightcurve slope. However, the dust color does not vary during the observations. The application of several enhancement techniques on the images revealed structures in the CN, C[SUB]3[/SUB], and C[SUB]2[/SUB] images. These features imply the existence of one or several active zone(s) on the comet nucleus. The shape of the structures is similar in these three filters and changes from a roughly hourglass shape in December and January to a corkscrew shape in February and March. The structures in the continuum filters (sampling the dust) are not correlated to those observed for the gas. During several full nights in February, we observed changes in the CN and C[SUB]2[/SUB] structures that repeated periodically because of the nucleus rotation, our derived rotational period being of 9.52 ± 0.05 h. Full Tables 2, 4, 6 are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr</A> (ftp://130.79.128.5) or via <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/574/A38">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/574/A38</A> [less ▲]

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See detailMonte Carlo Simulation of Metastable Oxygen Photochemistry in Cometary Atmospheres
Bisikalo, D. V.; Shematovich, V. I.; Gérard, Jean-Claude ULg et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2015), 798

Cometary atmospheres are produced by the outgassing of material, mainly H[SUB]2[/SUB]O, CO, and CO[SUB]2[/SUB] from the nucleus of the comet under the energy input from the Sun. Subsequent photochemical ... [more ▼]

Cometary atmospheres are produced by the outgassing of material, mainly H[SUB]2[/SUB]O, CO, and CO[SUB]2[/SUB] from the nucleus of the comet under the energy input from the Sun. Subsequent photochemical processes lead to the production of other species generally absent from the nucleus, such as OH. Although all comets are different, they all have a highly rarefied atmosphere, which is an ideal environment for nonthermal photochemical processes to take place and influence the detailed state of the atmosphere. We develop a Monte Carlo model of the coma photochemistry. We compute the energy distribution functions (EDF) of the metastable O([SUP]1[/SUP]D) and O([SUP]1[/SUP]S) species and obtain the red (630 nm) and green (557.7 nm) spectral line shapes of the full coma, consistent with the computed EDFs and the expansion velocity. We show that both species have a severely non-Maxwellian EDF, that results in broad spectral lines and the suprathermal broadening dominates due to the expansion motion. We apply our model to the atmosphere of comet C/1996 B2 (Hyakutake) and 103P/Hartley 2. The computed width of the green line, expressed in terms of speed, is lower than that of the red line. This result is comparable to previous theoretical analyses, but in disagreement with observations. We explain that the spectral line shape does not only depend on the exothermicity of the photochemical production mechanisms, but also on thermalization, due to elastic collisions, reducing the width of the emission line coming from the O([SUP]1[/SUP]D) level, which has a longer lifetime. [less ▲]

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See detailForbidden oxygen lines at various nucleocentric distances in comets
Decock, Alice ULg; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Rousselot, P. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2015), 573

Aims: We study the formation of the [OI] lines - that is, 5577.339 Å (the green line), 6300.304 Å and 6363.776 Å (the two red lines) - in the coma of comets and determine the parent species of the oxygen ... [more ▼]

Aims: We study the formation of the [OI] lines - that is, 5577.339 Å (the green line), 6300.304 Å and 6363.776 Å (the two red lines) - in the coma of comets and determine the parent species of the oxygen atoms using the ratio of the green-to-red-doublet emission intensity, I[SUB]5577[/SUB]/(I[SUB]6300[/SUB] + I[SUB]6364[/SUB]), (hereafter the G/R ratio) and the line velocity widths. <BR /> Methods: We acquired high-resolution spectroscopic observations at the ESO Very Large Telescope of comets C/2002 T7 (LINEAR), 73P-C/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, 8P/Tuttle, and 103P/Hartley 2 when they were close to Earth (<0.6 au). Using the observed spectra, which have a high spatial resolution (<60 km/pixel), we determined the intensities and widths of the three [OI] lines. We spatially extracted the spectra to achieve the best possible resolution of about 1-2'', that is, nucleocentric projected distances of 100 to 400 km depending on the geocentric distance of the comet. We decontaminated the [OI] green line from C[SUB]2[/SUB] lines blends that we identified. <BR /> Results: The observed G/R ratio in all four comets varies as a function of nucleocentric projected distance (between ~0.25 to ~0.05 within 1000 km). This is mainly due to the collisional quenching of O([SUP]1[/SUP]S) and O([SUP]1[/SUP]D) by water molecules in the inner coma. The observed green emission line width is about 2.5 km s[SUP]-1[/SUP] and decreases as the distance from the nucleus increases, which can be explained by the varying contribution of CO[SUB]2[/SUB] to the O([SUP]1[/SUP]S) production in the innermost coma. The photodissociation of CO[SUB]2[/SUB] molecules seem to produce O([SUP]1[/SUP]S) closer to the nucleus, while the water molecule forms all the O([SUP]1[/SUP]S) and O([SUP]1[/SUP]D) atoms beyond 10[SUP]3[/SUP] km. Thus we conclude that the main parent species producing O([SUP]1[/SUP]S) and O([SUP]1[/SUP]D) in the inner coma is not always the same. The observations have been interpreted in the framework of the previously described coupled-chemistry-emission model, and the upper limits of the relative abundances of CO[SUB]2[/SUB] were derived from the observed G/R ratios. Measuring the [OI] lines might provide a new way to determine the CO[SUB]2[/SUB] relative abundance in comets. Based on observations made with ESO Telescope at the La Silla Paranal Observatory under programs ID 073.C-0525, 277.C-5016, 080.C-0615 and 086.C-0958.Tables 3 and 4 are available in electronic form at <A href="http://www.aanda.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201424403/olm">http://www.aanda.org</A> [less ▲]

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