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See detailThe 19 Feb. 2016 Outburst of Comet 67P/CG: An ESA Rosetta Multi-Instrument Study
Grün, E.; Agarwal, J.; Altobelli, N. et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2016)

On 19 Feb. 2016 nine Rosetta instruments serendipitously observed an outburst of gas and dust from the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Among these instruments were cameras and spectrometers ... [more ▼]

On 19 Feb. 2016 nine Rosetta instruments serendipitously observed an outburst of gas and dust from the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Among these instruments were cameras and spectrometers ranging from UV over visible to microwave wavelengths, in-situ gas, dust and plasma instruments, and one dust collector. At 9:40 a dust cloud developed at the edge of an image in the shadowed region of the nucleus. Over the next two hours the instruments recorded a signature of the outburst that significantly exceeded the background. The enhancement ranged from 50% of the neutral gas density at Rosetta to factors >100 of the brightness of the coma near the nucleus. Dust related phenomena (dust counts or brightness due to illuminated dust) showed the strongest enhancements (factors >10). However, even the electron density at Rosetta increased by a factor 3 and consequently the spacecraft potential changed from ˜-16 V to -20 V during the outburst. A clear sequence of events was observed at the distance of Rosetta (34 km from the nucleus): within 15 minutes the Star Tracker camera detected fast particles (˜25 m s[SUP]-1[/SUP]) while 100 μm radius particles were detected by the GIADA dust instrument ˜1 hour later at a speed of ~6 m s[SUP]-1[/SUP]. The slowest were individual mm to cm sized grains observed by the OSIRIS cameras. Although the outburst originated just outside the FOV of the instruments, the source region and the magnitude of the outburst could be determined. [less ▲]

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See detailLOTUS: a low-cost, ultraviolet spectrograph
Steele, I. A.; Marchant, J. M.; Jermak, H. E. et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2016), 460

We describe the design, construction and commissioning of a simple, low-cost long-slit spectrograph for the Liverpool Telescope. The design is optimized for near-UV and visible wavelengths and uses all ... [more ▼]

We describe the design, construction and commissioning of a simple, low-cost long-slit spectrograph for the Liverpool Telescope. The design is optimized for near-UV and visible wavelengths and uses all transmitting optics. It exploits the instrument focal plane field curvature to partially correct axial chromatic aberration. A stepped slit provides narrow (2.5 × 95 arcsec) and wide (5 × 25 arcsec) options that are optimized for spectral resolution and flux calibration, respectively. On sky testing shows a wavelength range of 3200-6300 Å with a peak system throughput (including detector quantum efficiency) of 15 per cent and wavelength dependent spectral resolution of R = 225-430. By repeated observations of the symbiotic emission line star AG Peg, we demonstrate the wavelength stability of the system is <2 Å rms and is limited by the positioning of the object in the slit. The spectrograph is now in routine operation monitoring the activity of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko during its current post-perihelion apparition. [less ▲]

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See detailThe dust environment of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from Rosetta OSIRIS and VLT observations in the 4.5 to 2.9 AU heliocentric distance range inbound
Moreno, F.; Snodgrass, C.; Hainaut, O. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 587

Context. The ESA Rosetta spacecraft, currently orbiting around comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, has already provided in situ measurements of the dust grain properties from several instruments,particularly ... [more ▼]

Context. The ESA Rosetta spacecraft, currently orbiting around comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, has already provided in situ measurements of the dust grain properties from several instruments,particularly OSIRIS and GIADA. We propose adding value to those measurements by combining them with ground-based observations of the dust tail to monitor the overall, time-dependent dust-production rate and size distribution. <BR /> Aims: To constrain the dust grain properties, we take Rosetta OSIRIS and GIADA results into account, and combine OSIRIS data during the approach phase (from late April to early June 2014) with a large data set of ground-based images that were acquired with the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) from February to November 2014. <BR /> Methods: A Monte Carlo dust tail code, which has already been used to characterise the dust environments of several comets and active asteroids, has been applied to retrieve the dust parameters. Key properties of the grains (density, velocity, and size distribution) were obtained from Rosetta observations: these parameters were used as input of the code to considerably reduce the number of free parameters. In this way, the overall dust mass-loss rate and its dependence on the heliocentric distance could be obtained accurately. <BR /> Results: The dust parameters derived from the inner coma measurements by OSIRIS and GIADA and from distant imaging using VLT data are consistent, except for the power index of the size-distribution function, which is α = -3, instead of α = -2, for grains smaller than 1 mm. This is possibly linked to the presence of fluffy aggregates in the coma. The onset of cometary activity occurs at approximately 4.3 AU, with a dust production rate of 0.5 kg/s, increasing up to 15 kg/s at 2.9 AU. This implies a dust-to-gas mass ratio varying between 3.8 and 6.5 for the best-fit model when combined with water-production rates from the MIRO experiment. [less ▲]

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See detailLarger and faster: revised properties and a shorter orbital period for the WASP-57 planetary system from a pro-am collaboration
Southworth, John; Mancini, L.; Tregloan-Reed, J. et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2015), 454

Transits in the WASP-57 planetary system have been found to occur half an hour earlier than expected. We present 10 transit light curves from amateur telescopes, on which this discovery was based, 13 ... [more ▼]

Transits in the WASP-57 planetary system have been found to occur half an hour earlier than expected. We present 10 transit light curves from amateur telescopes, on which this discovery was based, 13 transit light curves from professional facilities which confirm and refine this finding, and high-resolution imaging which show no evidence for nearby companions. We use these data to determine a new and precise orbital ephemeris, and measure the physical properties of the system. Our revised orbital period is 4.5 s shorter than found from the discovery data alone, which explains the early occurrence of the transits. We also find both the star and planet to be larger and less massive than previously thought. The measured mass and radius of the planet are now consistent with theoretical models of gas giants containing no heavy-element core, as expected for the subsolar metallicity of the host star. Two transits were observed simultaneously in four passbands. We use the resulting light curves to measure the planet's radius as a function of wavelength, finding that our data are sufficient in principle but not in practise to constrain its atmospheric properties. We conclude with a discussion of the current and future status of transmission photometry studies for probing the atmospheres of gas-giant transiting planets. [less ▲]

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See detailPluto's atmosphere from stellar occultations in 2012 and 2013
Dias-Oliveira, A.; Sicardy, B.; Lellouch, E. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2015), 1506

We analyze two multi-chord stellar occultations by Pluto observed on July 18th, 2012 and May 4th, 2013, and monitored respectively from five and six sites. They provide a total of fifteen light-curves ... [more ▼]

We analyze two multi-chord stellar occultations by Pluto observed on July 18th, 2012 and May 4th, 2013, and monitored respectively from five and six sites. They provide a total of fifteen light-curves, twelve of them being used for a simultaneous fit that uses a unique temperature profile, assuming a clear (no-haze) and pure N_2 atmosphere, but allowing for a possible pressure variation between the two dates. We find a solution that fits satisfactorily (i.e. within the noise level) all the twelve light-curves, providing atmospheric constraints between ~1,190 km (pressure ~ 11 \mubar) and ~ 1,450 km (pressure ~0.1 \mubar) from Pluto's center. Our main results are: (1) the best-fitting temperature profile shows a stratosphere with strong positive gradient between 1,190 km (at 36 K, 11 \mubar) and r = 1,215 km (6.0 \mubar), where a temperature maximum of 110 K is reached; above it is a mesosphere with negative thermal gradient of -0.2 K/km up to ~ 1,390 km (0.25 \mubar), where, the mesosphere connects itself to a more isothermal upper branch around 81 K; (2) the pressure shows a small (6 [less ▲]

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See detailCastalia — A Mission to a Main Belt Comet
Jones, G. H.; Altwegg, K.; Bertini, I. et al

in LPI (2015, January 01), 1829

Main Belt Comets (MBCs) are a newly identified class of solar system object, having asteroid-like orbits but sometimes exhibiting comet-like behavior. We present the case for a mission to an MBC, to be ... [more ▼]

Main Belt Comets (MBCs) are a newly identified class of solar system object, having asteroid-like orbits but sometimes exhibiting comet-like behavior. We present the case for a mission to an MBC, to be submitted to the European Space Agency. [less ▲]

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See detailDense and narrow rings discovered around the Centaur object (10199) Chariklo
Sicardy, B.; Braga-Ribas, F.; Benedetti-Rossi, G. et al

in Muinonen, Karri (Ed.) Asteroids, Comets, Meteors - Book of Abstracts (2014, July 01)

A stellar occultation observed on June 3, 2013 revealed the unexpected presence of two dense rings around (10199) Chariklo [1], the largest Centaur object known to date with a radius of 124±9 km [2]. The ... [more ▼]

A stellar occultation observed on June 3, 2013 revealed the unexpected presence of two dense rings around (10199) Chariklo [1], the largest Centaur object known to date with a radius of 124±9 km [2]. The two rings have respective orbital radii, widths, and normal optical depths of a_1= 391 km, W_1= 7 km, τ_1= 0.4 and a_2= 405 km, W_2= 3 km, τ_2= 0.06 [1]. They are separated by a gap of about 9 km with an optical depth less than 0.004 (1-sigma limit). The presence of those rings has been confirmed during another stellar occultation observed from ESO/NTT La Silla, ESO/VLT Paranal and San Pedro de Atacama on February 16, 2014. More results on the azimuthal variations of the rings and mass estimations of their putative shepherding satellites will be presented. This is the first ring system ever observed that does not pertain to a giant planet. The existence of such a system raises several questions as to the origin and evolution of rings around such a small object. This discovery also suggests that rings may be a more frequent feature than previously thought, in particular, around small bodies. Possible models for the ring formation will be proposed. They can be classified into collisional scenarios that disrupted an impactor or a pre-existing satellite, tidal disruption of an inward-migrating satellite, or material produced by a cometary activity of the central body. [less ▲]

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See detailThe activity cycle of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
Snodgrass, C.; Barrera, L.; Boehnhardt, H. et al

in Muinonen, Karri (Ed.) Asteroids, Comets, Meteors - Book of Abstracts (2014, July 01)

We present ground-based observations of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, target of the Rosetta mission, and an assessment on its activity levels. Based on imaging in the R-band, we measure the brightness ... [more ▼]

We present ground-based observations of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, target of the Rosetta mission, and an assessment on its activity levels. Based on imaging in the R-band, we measure the brightness of the coma within various apertures and use this to assess the amount of dust in the coma. We find that the comet begins to show detectable activity at a pre-perihelion distance from the Sun of 4.3 au, and then shows a smooth increase in production to a peak around one month after perihelion passage. The behaviour of the comet is consistent from one orbit to another, based on archival images taken over three apparitions, and we therefore use the heliocentric lightcurve to make predictions for the 2014/5 period while Rosetta is operating at the comet. We find that the Afρ parameter, measured within an aperture of radius 10,000 km at the comet, is proportional to r^{-3.2}, pre-perihelion [1]. We also attempt to make predictions on the gas production rate by fitting a model to the observed brightness values. This is done by assuming various parameters about the nucleus and dust, many of which are reasonably well constrained for 67P, and solving an energy balance equation that gives the sublimation rate of various ices as a function of solar illumination [2]. The model then links the gas production rate to the total amount of dust in the coma, and its brightness. We find that only a small fraction of the surface area (1.4 %) needs to be active for water sublimation, with an extra peak (up to 4 %) for a month either side of perihelion, while an even smaller area is producing CO_2 (0.04-0.09 %) [1]. The predictions can now be tested against new observations, and we will present the latest results from our 2014 monitoring of 67P. We are performing regular R-band imaging on the comet using the VLT, and early indications in March 2014 indicate that the comet does appear to have returned to activity as expected. By the time of the ACM meeting we will have around 4 months of imaging to make a clear assessment of the trend between 4.4 and 3.8 au, which will allow a comparison with our model and therefore predictions to be made of how well 67P appears to be following its previous activity pattern. By July, we will also have obtained the first of a series of VLT/FORS visible wavelength spectra, to make a direct search for gas emission lines. These will represent some of the most distant spectroscopic observations of a Jupiter family comet coma. Preliminary results will be shown from these spectra, which will also constrain the expected evolution of activity as Rosetta approaches the comet. [less ▲]

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See detailA Super-Jupiter orbiting a late-type star: A refined analysis of microlensing event OGLE-2012-BLG-0406
Tsapras, Y.; Choi, J.-Y.; Street, R. A. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2014), 782

We present a detailed analysis of survey and follow-up observations of microlensing event OGLE-2012-BLG-0406 based on data obtained from 10 different observatories. Intensive coverage of the lightcurve ... [more ▼]

We present a detailed analysis of survey and follow-up observations of microlensing event OGLE-2012-BLG-0406 based on data obtained from 10 different observatories. Intensive coverage of the lightcurve, especially the perturbation part, allowed us to accurately measure the parallax effect and lens orbital motion. Combining our measurement of the lens parallax with the angular Einstein radius determined from finite-source effects, we estimate the physical parameters of the lens system. We find that the event was caused by a $2.73\pm 0.43\ M_{\rm J}$ planet orbiting a $0.44\pm 0.07\ M_{\odot}$ early M-type star. The distance to the lens is $4.97\pm 0.29$\ kpc and the projected separation between the host star and its planet at the time of the event is $3.45\pm 0.26$ AU. We find that the additional coverage provided by follow-up observations, especially during the planetary perturbation, leads to a more accurate determination of the physical parameters of the lens. [less ▲]

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See detailHigh-precision photometry by telescope defocussing - VI. WASP-24, WASP-25 andWASP-26*
Southworth, J.; Hinse, T. C.; Burgdorf, M. et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2014), 444(1), 776-789

We present time series photometric observations of 13 transits in the planetary systems WASP-24, WASP-25 and WASP-26. All three systems have orbital obliquity measurements, WASP-24 andWASP-26 have been ... [more ▼]

We present time series photometric observations of 13 transits in the planetary systems WASP-24, WASP-25 and WASP-26. All three systems have orbital obliquity measurements, WASP-24 andWASP-26 have been observed with Spitzer, andWASP-25 was previously comparatively neglected. Our light curves were obtained using the telescope-defocussing method and have scatters of 0.5-1.2 mmag relative to their best-fitting geometric models. We use these data to measure the physical properties and orbital ephemerides of the systems to high precision, finding that our improved measurements are in good agreement with previous studies. High-resolution Lucky Imaging observations of all three targets show no evidence for faint stars close enough to contaminate our photometry. We confirm the eclipsing nature of the star closest to WASP-24 and present the detection of a detached eclipsing binary within 4.25 arcmin of WASP-26. © 2014 The Authors. [less ▲]

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See detailHigh-precision photometry by telescope defocusing - VII. The ultrashort period planet WASP-103
Southworth, J.; Mancini, L.; Ciceri, S. et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2014), 447(1), 711-721

We present 17 transit light curves of the ultrashort period planetary system WASP-103, a strong candidate for the detection of tidally-induced orbital decay. We use these to establish a high-precision ... [more ▼]

We present 17 transit light curves of the ultrashort period planetary system WASP-103, a strong candidate for the detection of tidally-induced orbital decay. We use these to establish a high-precision reference epoch for transit timing studies. The time of the reference transit mid-point is now measured to an accuracy of 4.8 s, versus 67.4 s in the discovery paper, aiding future searches for orbital decay. With the help of published spectroscopic measurements and theoretical stellar models, we determine the physical properties of the system to high precision and present a detailed error budget for these calculations. The planet has a Roche lobe filling factor of 0.58, leading to a significant asphericity; we correct its measured mass and mean density for this phenomenon. A high-resolution Lucky Imaging observation shows no evidence for faint stars close enough to contaminate the point spread function of WASP-103. Our data were obtained in the Bessell RI and the SDSS griz passbands and yield a larger planet radius at bluer optical wavelengths, to a confidence level of 7.3σ. Interpreting this as an effect of Rayleigh scattering in the planetary atmosphere leads to a measurement of the planetary mass which is too small by a factor of 5, implying that Rayleigh scattering is not the main cause of the variation of radius with wavelength. © 2014 The Authors. [less ▲]

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See detailPhysical properties of the WASP-67 planetary system from multi-colour photometry
Mancini, L.; Southworth, J.; Ciceri, S. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014), 568

Context. The extrasolar planet WASP-67 b is the first hot Jupiter definitively known to undergo only partial eclipses. The lack of the second and third contact points in this planetary system makes it ... [more ▼]

Context. The extrasolar planet WASP-67 b is the first hot Jupiter definitively known to undergo only partial eclipses. The lack of the second and third contact points in this planetary system makes it difficult to obtain accurate measurements of its physical parameters. [less ▲]

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See detailContinued activity in P/2013 P5 PANSTARRS - The comet that should not be
Hainaut, O. R.; Boehnhardt, H.; Snodgrass, C. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014)

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See detailPhysical properties and transmission spectrum of the WASP-80 planetary system from multi-colour photometry
Mancini, L.; Southworth, J.; Ciceri, S. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2013), 1312

WASP-80 is one of only two systems known to contain a hot Jupiter which transits its M-dwarf host star. We present eight light curves of one transit event, obtained simultaneously using two defocussed ... [more ▼]

WASP-80 is one of only two systems known to contain a hot Jupiter which transits its M-dwarf host star. We present eight light curves of one transit event, obtained simultaneously using two defocussed telescopes. These data were taken through the Bessell I, Sloan griz and near-infrared JHK passbands. We use our data to search for opacity-induced changes in the planetary radius, but find that all values agree with each other. Our data are therefore consistent with a flat transmission spectrum to within the observational uncertainties. We also measure an activity index of the host star of log R'_HK=-4.495, meaning that WASP-80A shows strong chromospheric activity. The non-detection of starspots implies that, if they exist, they must be small and symmetrically distributed on the stellar surface. We model all available optical transit light curves to obtain improved physical properties and orbital ephemerides for the system. [less ▲]

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See detailPhysical properties, transmission and emission spectra of the WASP-19 planetary system from multi-colour photometry
Mancini, L.; Ciceri, S.; Chen, G. et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2013), 436

We present new ground-based, multi-colour, broad-band photometric measurements of the physical parameters, transmission and emission spectra of the transiting extrasolar planet WASP-19b. The measurements ... [more ▼]

We present new ground-based, multi-colour, broad-band photometric measurements of the physical parameters, transmission and emission spectra of the transiting extrasolar planet WASP-19b. The measurements are based on observations of eight transits and four occultations through a Gunn i filter using the 1.54-m Danish Telescope, 14 transits through an R[SUB]c[/SUB] filter at the Perth Exoplanet Survey Telescope (PEST) observatory and one transit observed simultaneously through four optical (Sloan g[SUP]'[/SUP], r[SUP]'[/SUP], i[SUP]'[/SUP], z[SUP]'[/SUP]) and three near-infrared (J, H, K) filters, using the Gamma Ray Burst Optical and Near-Infrared Detector (GROND) instrument on the MPG/ESO 2.2-m telescope. The GROND optical light curves have a point-to-point scatter around the best-fitting model between 0.52 and 0.65 mmag rms. We use these new data to measure refined physical parameters for the system. We find the planet to be more bloated (R[SUB]b[/SUB] = 1.410 ± 0.017R[SUB]Jup[/SUB]; M[SUB]b[/SUB] = 1.139 ± 0.030M[SUB]Jup[/SUB]) and the system to be twice as old as initially thought. We also used published and archived data sets to study the transit timings, which do not depart from a linear ephemeris. We detected an anomaly in the GROND transit light curve which is compatible with a spot on the photosphere of the parent star. The starspot position, size, spot contrast and temperature were established. Using our new and published measurements, we assembled the planet's transmission spectrum over the 370-2350 nm wavelength range and its emission spectrum over the 750-8000 nm range. By comparing these data to theoretical models we investigated the theoretically predicted variation of the apparent radius of WASP-19b as a function of wavelength and studied the composition and thermal structure of its atmosphere. We conclude that: (i) there is no evidence for strong optical absorbers at low pressure, supporting the common idea that the planet's atmosphere lacks a dayside inversion; (ii) the temperature of the planet is not homogenized, because the high warming of its dayside causes the planet to be more efficient in re-radiating than redistributing energy to the night side; (iii) the planet seems to be outside of any current classification scheme. [less ▲]

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See detailHigh-precision photometry by telescope defocusing - V. WASP-15 and WASP-16
Southworth, John; Mancini, L.; Browne, P. et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2013), 434

We present new photometric observations of WASP-15 and WASP-16, two transiting extrasolar planetary systems with measured orbital obliquities but without photometric follow-up since their discovery papers ... [more ▼]

We present new photometric observations of WASP-15 and WASP-16, two transiting extrasolar planetary systems with measured orbital obliquities but without photometric follow-up since their discovery papers. Our new data for WASP-15 comprise observations of one transit simultaneously in four optical passbands using GROND on the MPG/European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2.2 m telescope, plus coverage of half a transit from DFOSC on the Danish 1.54 m telescope, both at ESO La Silla. For WASP-16 we present observations of four complete transits, all from the Danish telescope. We use these new data to refine the measured physical properties and orbital ephemerides of the two systems. Whilst our results are close to the originally determined values for WASP-15, we find that the star and planet in the WASP-16 system are both larger and less massive than previously thought. [less ▲]

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See detailA detailed census of variable stars in the globular cluster NGC 6333 (M9) from CCD differential photometry
Arellano Ferro, A.; Bramich, D. M.; Figuera Jaimes, R. et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2013), 434

We report CCD V and I time series photometry of the globular cluster NGC 6333 (M9). The technique of difference image analysis has been used, which enables photometric precision better than 0.05 mag for ... [more ▼]

We report CCD V and I time series photometry of the globular cluster NGC 6333 (M9). The technique of difference image analysis has been used, which enables photometric precision better than 0.05 mag for stars brighter than V ˜ 19.0 mag, even in the crowded central regions of the cluster. The high photometric precision has resulted in the discovery of two new RRc stars, three eclipsing binaries, seven long-term variables and one field RRab star behind the cluster. A detailed identification chart and equatorial coordinates are given for all the variable stars in the field of our images of the cluster. Our data together with the literature V-data obtained in 1994 and 1995 allowed us to refine considerably the periods for all RR Lyrae stars. The nature of the new variables is discussed. We argue that variable V12 is a cluster member and an Anomalous Cepheid. Secular period variations, double-mode pulsations and/or the Blazhko-like modulations in some RRc variables are addressed. Through the light-curve Fourier decomposition of 12 RR Lyrae stars we have calculated a mean metallicity of [Fe/H][SUB]ZW[/SUB] = -1.70 ± 0.01(statistical) ± 0.14(systematic) or [Fe/H]_{text{UVES}}=-1.67 ± 0.01(statistical) ± 0.19(systematic). Absolute magnitudes, radii and masses are also estimated for the RR Lyrae stars. A detailed search for SX Phe stars in the Blue Straggler region was conducted but none were discovered. If SX Phe exist in the cluster then their amplitudes must be smaller than the detection limit of our photometry. The colour-magnitude diagram has been corrected for heavy differential reddening using the detailed extinction map of the cluster of Alonso-García et al. This has allowed us to set the mean cluster distance from two independent estimates; from the RRab and RRc absolute magnitudes, we find 8.04 ± 0.19 and 7.88 ± 0.30 kpc, respectively. [less ▲]

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See detailEstimating the parameters of globular cluster M 30 (NGC 7099) from time-series photometry
Kains, N.; Bramich, D. M.; Arellano Ferro, A. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2013), 555

<BR /> Aims: We present the analysis of 26 nights of V and I time-series observations from 2011 and 2012 of the globular cluster M 30 (NGC 7099). We used our data to search for variable stars in this ... [more ▼]

<BR /> Aims: We present the analysis of 26 nights of V and I time-series observations from 2011 and 2012 of the globular cluster M 30 (NGC 7099). We used our data to search for variable stars in this cluster and refine the periods of known variables; we then used our variable star light curves to derive values for the cluster's parameters. <BR /> Methods: We used difference image analysis to reduce our data to obtain high-precision light curves of variable stars. We then estimated the cluster parameters by performing a Fourier decomposition of the light curves of RR Lyrae stars for which a good period estimate was possible. We also derived an estimate for the age of the cluster by fitting theoretical isochrones to our colour-magnitude diagram (CMD). <BR /> Results: Out of 13 stars previously catalogued as variables, we find that only 4 are bona fide variables. We detect two new RR Lyrae variables, and confirm two additional RR Lyrae candidates from the literature. We also detect four other new variables, including an eclipsing blue straggler system, and an SX Phoenicis star. This amounts to a total number of confirmed variable stars in M 30 of 12. We perform Fourier decomposition of the light curves of the RR Lyrae stars to derive cluster parameters using empirical relations. We find a cluster metallicity [Fe/H][SUB]ZW[/SUB] = -2.01 ± 0.04, or [Fe/H][SUB]UVES[/SUB] = -2.11 ± 0.06, and a distance of 8.32 ± 0.20 kpc (using RR0 variables), 8.10 kpc (using one RR1 variable), and 8.35 ± 0.42 kpc (using our SX Phoenicis star detection in M 30). Fitting isochrones to the CMD, we estimate an age of 13.0 ± 1.0 Gyr for M 30. This work is based on data collected by MiNDSTEp with the Danish 1.54 m telescope at the ESO La Silla Observatory.The full light curves, an extract of which is shown in Table 2 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/555/A36">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/555/A36</A>Tables 8-10, and Figs. 6 and 9 are available in electronic form at <A href="http://www.aanda.org">http://www.aanda.org</A> [less ▲]

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See detailMOA-2010-BLG-311: A planetary candidate below the threshold of reliable detection
Yee, J. C.; Hung, L.-W.; Bond, I. A. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2013), 769(1), 77

We analyze MOA-2010-BLG-311, a high magnification (A_max>600) microlensing event with complete data coverage over the peak, making it very sensitive to planetary signals. We fit this event with both a ... [more ▼]

We analyze MOA-2010-BLG-311, a high magnification (A_max>600) microlensing event with complete data coverage over the peak, making it very sensitive to planetary signals. We fit this event with both a point lens and a 2-body lens model and find that the 2-body lens model is a better fit but with only Delta chi^2~140. The preferred mass ratio between the lens star and its companion is $q=10^(-3.7+/-0.1), placing the candidate companion in the planetary regime. Despite the formal significance of the planet, we show that because of systematics in the data the evidence for a planetary companion to the lens is too tenuous to claim a secure detection. When combined with analyses of other high-magnification events, this event helps empirically define the threshold for reliable planet detection in high-magnification events, which remains an open question. [less ▲]

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See detailMicrolensing Discovery of a Population of Very Tight, Very Low Mass Binary Brown Dwarfs
Choi, J.-Y.; Han, C.; Udalski, A. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2013), 768

Although many models have been proposed, the physical mechanisms responsible for the formation of low-mass brown dwarfs (BDs) are poorly understood. The multiplicity properties and minimum mass of the BD ... [more ▼]

Although many models have been proposed, the physical mechanisms responsible for the formation of low-mass brown dwarfs (BDs) are poorly understood. The multiplicity properties and minimum mass of the BD mass function provide critical empirical diagnostics of these mechanisms. We present the discovery via gravitational microlensing of two very low mass, very tight binary systems. These binaries have directly and precisely measured total system masses of 0.025 M [SUB]⊙[/SUB] and 0.034 M [SUB]⊙[/SUB], and projected separations of 0.31 AU and 0.19 AU, making them the lowest-mass and tightest field BD binaries known. The discovery of a population of such binaries indicates that BD binaries can robustly form at least down to masses of ~0.02 M [SUB]⊙[/SUB]. Future microlensing surveys will measure a mass-selected sample of BD binary systems, which can then be directly compared to similar samples of stellar binaries. [less ▲]

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