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See detailPulsating hot O subdwarfs in ω Centauri: mapping a unique instability strip on the extreme horizontal branch
Randall, S. K.; Calamida, A.; Fontaine, G. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 589

We present the results of an extensive survey for rapid pulsators among Extreme Horizontal Branch (EHB) stars in ω Cen. The observations performed consist of nearly 100 h of time-series photometry for ... [more ▼]

We present the results of an extensive survey for rapid pulsators among Extreme Horizontal Branch (EHB) stars in ω Cen. The observations performed consist of nearly 100 h of time-series photometry for several off-centre fields of the cluster, as well as low-resolution spectroscopy for a partially overlapping sample. We obtained photometry for some 300 EHB stars, for around half of which we are able to recover light curves of sufficient quality to either detect or place meaningful non-detection limits for rapid pulsations. Based on the spectroscopy, we derive reliable values of log g, T[SUB]eff[/SUB] and log N(He) /N(H) for 38 targets, as well as good estimates of the effective temperature for another nine targets, whose spectra are slightly polluted by a close neighbour in the image. The survey uncovered a total of five rapid variables with multi-periodic oscillations between 85 and 125 s. Spectroscopically, they form a homogeneous group of hydrogen-rich subdwarf O stars clustered between 48 000 and 54 000 K. For each of the variables we are able to measure between two and three significant pulsations believed to constitute independent harmonic oscillations. However, the interpretation of the Fourier spectra is not straightforward due to significant fine structure attributed to strong amplitude variations. In addition to the rapid variables, we found an EHB star with an apparently periodic luminosity variation of ~2700 s, which we tentatively suggest may be caused by ellipsoidal variations in a close binary. Using the overlapping photometry and spectroscopy sample we are able to map an empirical ω Cen instability strip in log g - T[SUB]eff[/SUB] space. This can be directly compared to the pulsation driving predicted from the Montréal "second-generation" models regularly used to interpret the pulsations in hot B subdwarfs. Extending the parameter range of these models to higher temperatures, we find that the region where p-mode excitation occurs is in fact bifurcated, and the well-known instability strip between 29 000-36 000 K where the rapid subdwarf B pulsators are found is complemented by a second one above 50 000 K in the models. While significant challenges remain at the quantitative level, we believe that the same κ-mechanism that drives the pulsations in hot B subdwarfs is also responsible for the excitation of the rapid oscillations observed in the ω Cen variables. Intriguingly, the ω Cen variables appear to form a unique class. No direct counterparts have so far been found either in the Galactic field, nor in other globular clusters, despite dedicated searches. Conversely, our survey revealed no ω Cen representatives of the rapidly pulsating hot B subdwarfs found among the field population, though their presence cannot be excluded from the limited sample. Based on observations collected at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, Chile (proposal IDs 083.D-0833, 386.D-0669, 087.D-0216 and 091.D-0791).The reduced spectra 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/589/A1">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/589/A1</A> [less ▲]

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See detailAlbedo and atmospheric constraints of dwarf planet Makemake from a stellar occultation
Ortiz, J. L.; Sicardy, B.; Braga-Ribas, F. et al

in Nature (2012), 491

Pluto and Eris are icy dwarf planets with nearly identical sizes, comparable densities and similar surface compositions as revealed by spectroscopic studies. Pluto possesses an atmosphere whereas Eris ... [more ▼]

Pluto and Eris are icy dwarf planets with nearly identical sizes, comparable densities and similar surface compositions as revealed by spectroscopic studies. Pluto possesses an atmosphere whereas Eris does not; the difference probably arises from their differing distances from the Sun, and explains their different albedos. Makemake is another icy dwarf planet with a spectrum similar to Eris and Pluto, and is currently at a distance to the Sun intermediate between the two. Although Makemake's size (1,420+/-60km) and albedo are roughly known, there has been no constraint on its density and there were expectations that it could have a Pluto-like atmosphere. Here we report the results from a stellar occultation by Makemake on 2011 April 23. Our preferred solution that fits the occultation chords corresponds to a body with projected axes of 1,430+/-9km (1σ) and 1,502+/-45km, implying a V-band geometric albedo p[SUB]V[/SUB] = 0.77+/-0.03. This albedo is larger than that of Pluto, but smaller than that of Eris. The disappearances and reappearances of the star were abrupt, showing that Makemake has no global Pluto-like atmosphere at an upper limit of 4-12nanobar (1σ) for the surface pressure, although a localized atmosphere is possible. A density of 1.7+/-0.3gcm[SUP]-3[/SUP] is inferred from the data. [less ▲]

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