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See detailA global analysis of Spitzer and new HARPS data confirms the loneliness and metal-richness of GJ 436 b
Lanotte, Audrey ULg; Gillon, Michaël ULg; Demory, B.-O. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (in press)

Context. GJ 436b is one of the few transiting warm Neptunes for which a detailed characterisation of the atmosphere is possible, whereas its non-negligible orbital eccentricity calls for further ... [more ▼]

Context. GJ 436b is one of the few transiting warm Neptunes for which a detailed characterisation of the atmosphere is possible, whereas its non-negligible orbital eccentricity calls for further investigation. Independent analyses of several individual datasets obtained with Spitzer have led to contradicting results attributed to the different techniques used to treat the instrumental effects. Aims. We aim at investigating these previous controversial results and developing our knowledge of the system based on the full Spitzer photometry dataset combined with new Doppler measurements obtained with the HARPS spectrograph. We also want to search for additional planets. Methods. We optimise aperture photometry techniques and the photometric deconvolution algorithm DECPHOT to improve the data reduction of the Spitzer photometry spanning wavelengths from 3-24 {\mu}m. Adding the high precision HARPS radial velocity data, we undertake a Bayesian global analysis of the system considering both instrumental and stellar effects on the flux variation. Results. We present a refined radius estimate of RP=4.10 +/- 0.16 R_Earth, mass MP=25.4 +/- 2.1 M_Earth and eccentricity e= 0.162 +/- 0.004 for GJ 436b. Our measured transit depths remain constant in time and wavelength, in disagreement with the results of previous studies. In addition, we find that the post-occultation flare-like structure at 3.6 {\mu}m that led to divergent results on the occultation depth measurement is spurious. We obtain occultation depths at 3.6, 5.8, and 8.0 {\mu}m that are shallower than in previous works, in particular at 3.6 {\mu}m. However, these depths still appear consistent with a metal-rich atmosphere depleted in methane and enhanced in CO/CO2, although perhaps less than previously thought. We find no evidence for a potential planetary companion, stellar activity, nor for a stellar spin-orbit misalignment. [ABRIDGED] [less ▲]

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See detailKepler detection of a new extreme planetary system orbiting the subdwarf-B pulsator KIC 10001893
Silvotti, R.; Charpinet, S.; Green, E.M. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (in press)

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See detailTheoretical power spectra of mixed modes in low-mass red giant stars
Grosjean, Mathieu ULg; Dupret, Marc-Antoine ULg; Belkacem, Kevin et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (in press)

CoRoT and Kepler observations of red giant stars revealed very rich spectra of non-radial solar-like oscillations. Of particular interest was the detection of mixed modes that exhibit significant ... [more ▼]

CoRoT and Kepler observations of red giant stars revealed very rich spectra of non-radial solar-like oscillations. Of particular interest was the detection of mixed modes that exhibit significant amplitude, both in the core and at the surface of the stars. It opens the possibility of probing the internal structure from their innermost layers up to their surface throughout their evolution on the red giant branch, as well as on the red clump. Our objective is primarily to provide physical insight into the mechanism responsible for mixed-mode amplitudes and lifetimes. Subsequently, we aim at understanding the evolution and structure of red-giant spectra along with their evolution. The study of energetic aspects of these oscillations is also important for predicting the mode parameters in the power spectrum. Non-adiabatic computations, including a time-dependent treatment of convection, are performed and provide the lifetimes of radial and non-radial mixed modes. We then combine these mode lifetimes and inertias with a stochastic excitation model that gives us their heights in the power spectra. For stars representative of CoRoT and Kepler observations, we show under which circumstances mixed modes have heights comparable to radial ones. We stress the importance of the radiative damping in determining the height of mixed modes. Finally, we derive an estimate for the height ratio between a g-type and a p-type mode. This can thus be used as a first estimate of the detectability of mixed modes. [less ▲]

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See detailSearching for faint companions with VLTI/PIONIER. II. 92 main sequence stars from the Exozodi survey
Marion, Lindsay ULg; Absil, Olivier ULg; Ertel, S. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014), 570

Context. The Exozodi survey aims to determine the occurrence rate of bright exozodiacal discs around nearby main sequence stars using infrared interferometry. Although the Exozodi survey targets have been ... [more ▼]

Context. The Exozodi survey aims to determine the occurrence rate of bright exozodiacal discs around nearby main sequence stars using infrared interferometry. Although the Exozodi survey targets have been carefully selected to avoid the presence of binary stars, the results of this survey can still be biased by the presence of unidentified stellar companions. <BR /> Aims: Using the PIONIER data set collected within the Exozodi survey in 2012, we aim to search for the signature of point-like companions around the Exozodi target stars. <BR /> Methods: We make use of both the closure phases and squared visibilities collected by PIONIER to search for companions within the ~100 mas interferometric field of view. The presence of a companion is assessed by computing the goodness of fit to the data for a series of binary models with various separations and contrasts. <BR /> Results: Five stellar companions are resolved for the first time around five A-type stars: HD 4150, HD 16555, HD 29388, HD 202730, and HD 224392 (although the companion to HD 16555 was independently resolved by speckle interferometry while we were carrying out the survey). In the most likely case of main sequence companions, their spectral types range from A5V to K4V. Three of these stars were already suspected to be binaries from Hipparcos astrometric measurements, although no information was available on the companions themselves so far. In addition to debiasing the statistics of the Exozodi survey, these results can also be used to revise the fraction of visual binaries among A-type stars, suggesting that an extra ~13% A-type stars are visual binaries in addition to the ones detected in previous direct imaging surveys. <BR /> Conclusions: We estimate that about half the population of nearby A-type stars could be resolved as visual binaries using a combination of state-of-the-art interferometry and single-aperture imaging, and we suggest that a significant fraction of these binaries remains undetected to date. [less ▲]

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See detailA near-infrared interferometric survey of debris-disk stars. IV. An unbiased sample of 92 southern stars observed in H band with VLTI/PIONIER
Ertel, S.; Absil, Olivier ULg; Defrere, D. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014), 570

Context. Detecting and characterizing circumstellar dust is a way to study the architecture and evolution of planetary systems. Cold dust in debris disks only traces the outer regions. Warm and hot ... [more ▼]

Context. Detecting and characterizing circumstellar dust is a way to study the architecture and evolution of planetary systems. Cold dust in debris disks only traces the outer regions. Warm and hot exozodiacal dust needs to be studied in order to trace regions close to the habitable zone. <BR /> Aims: We aim to determine the prevalence and to constrain the properties of hot exozodiacal dust around nearby main-sequence stars. <BR /> Methods: We searched a magnitude-limited (H <= 5) sample of 92 stars for bright exozodiacal dust using our VLTI visitor instrument PIONIER in the H band. We derived statistics of the detection rate with respect to parameters, such as the stellar spectral type and age or the presence of a debris disk in the outer regions of the systems. We derived more robust statistics by combining our sample with the results from our CHARA/FLUOR survey in the K band. In addition, our spectrally dispersed data allowed us to put constraints on the emission mechanism and the dust properties in the detected systems. <BR /> Results: We find an overall detection rate of bright exozodiacal dust in the H band of 11% (9 out of 85 targets) and three tentative detections. The detection rate decreases from early type to late type stars and increases with the age of the host star. We do not confirm the tentative correlation between the presence of cold and hot dust found in our earlier analysis of the FLUOR sample alone. Our spectrally dispersed data suggest that either the dust is extremely hot or the emission is dominated by the scattered light in most cases. The implications of our results for the target selection of future terrestrial planet-finding missions using direct imaging are discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailThe 2.35 year itch of Cygnus OB2 #9. III. X-ray and radio emission analysis based on 3D hydrodynamical modelling
Parkin, E. R.; Pittard, J. M.; Nazé, Yaël ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014), 570

Context. The wind-wind collision in a massive star binary system leads to the generation of high temperature shocks that emit at X-ray wavelengths and, if particle acceleration is effective, may exhibit ... [more ▼]

Context. The wind-wind collision in a massive star binary system leads to the generation of high temperature shocks that emit at X-ray wavelengths and, if particle acceleration is effective, may exhibit non-thermal radio emission. Cyg OB2#9 is one of a small number of massive star binary systems in this class. <BR /> Aims: X-ray and radio data recently acquired as part of a project to study Cyg OB2#9 are used to constrain physical models of the binary system, providing in-depth knowledge about the wind-wind collision and the thermal, and non-thermal, emission arising from the shocks. <BR /> Methods: We use a 3D, adaptive mesh refinement simulation (including wind acceleration, radiative cooling, and the orbital motion of the stars) to model the gas dynamics of the wind-wind collision. The simulation output is used as the basis for radiative transfer calculations considering the thermal X-ray emission and the thermal/non-thermal radio emission. <BR /> Results: The flow dynamics in the simulation show that wind acceleration (between the stars) is inhibited at all orbital phases by the opposing star's radiation field, reducing pre-shock velocities below terminal velocities. To obtain good agreement with the X-ray observations, our initial mass-loss rate estimates require a down-shift by a factor of ˜7.7 to 6.5 × 10[SUP]-7[/SUP] M[SUB]⊙[/SUB] yr[SUP]-1[/SUP] and 7.5 × 10[SUP]-7[/SUP] M[SUB]⊙[/SUB] yr[SUP]-1[/SUP] for the primary and secondary star, respectively. Furthermore, the low gas densities and high shock velocities in Cyg OB2 #9 are suggestive of unequal electron and ion temperatures, and the X-ray analysis indicates that an immediately post-shock electron-ion temperature ratio of ≃0.1 is also required. The radio emission is dominated by non-thermal synchrotron emission. A parameter space exploration provides evidence against models assuming equipartition between magnetic and relativistic energy densities. However, fits of comparable quality can be attained with models having stark contrasts in the ratio of magnetic-to-relativistic energy densities. Both X-ray and radio lightcurves are largely insensitive to viewing angle. The variations in X-ray emission with orbital phase can be traced back to an inverse relation with binary separation and pre-shock velocity. The radio emission also scales with pre-shock velocity and binary separation, but to positive powers (i.e. not inversely). The radio models also reveal a subtle effect whereby inverse Compton cooling leads to an increase in emissivity as a result of the synchrotron characteristic frequency being significantly reduced. Finally, using the results of the radio analysis, we estimate the surface magnetic field strengths to be ≈0.3 - 52G. [less ▲]

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See detailPhase resolved X-ray spectroscopy of HDE 228766: Probing the wind of an extreme Of+/WNLha star (Corrigendum)
Rauw, Grégor ULg; Mahy, Laurent; Nazé, Yaël ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014), 569

Based on observations collected with XMM-Newton, an ESA science mission with instruments and contributions directly funded by ESA member states and the USA (NASA), and on data collected at the San Pedro ... [more ▼]

Based on observations collected with XMM-Newton, an ESA science mission with instruments and contributions directly funded by ESA member states and the USA (NASA), and on data collected at the San Pedro Mártir observatory (Mexico). Corrigendum [less ▲]

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See detailModulated X-ray emission of the magnetic O8.5V-star Tr16-22
Nazé, Yaël ULg; Wade, Gregg A.; Petit, Véronique

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014), 569

Using an extensive X-ray dataset, we analyzed the X-ray emission of the massive O-star Tr16-22, which was recently found to be magnetic. Its bright X-ray emission is found to be modulated with a ~54 d ... [more ▼]

Using an extensive X-ray dataset, we analyzed the X-ray emission of the massive O-star Tr16-22, which was recently found to be magnetic. Its bright X-ray emission is found to be modulated with a ~54 d period. This timescale should represent the rotational timescale of the star, as it does for other magnetic massive stars. In parallel, new spectropolarimetric data confirm the published magnetic detection. Based on observations collected with the ESA science mission XMM-Newton, Chandra, and ESO-FORS2 instrument.Tables 1-3 are available in electronic form at <A href="http://www.aanda.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201424416/olm">http://www.aanda.org</A> [less ▲]

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See detailThe puzzling new class of variable stars in NGC 3766 : old friend pulsators?
Salmon, Sébastien ULg; Montalban Iglesias, Josefa ULg; Reese, Daniel et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014), 569

The recent variability survey of the NGC 3766 cluster revealed a considerable number of periodic variable stars in a region of the H-R diagram where no pulsation is expected. This region lies between the ... [more ▼]

The recent variability survey of the NGC 3766 cluster revealed a considerable number of periodic variable stars in a region of the H-R diagram where no pulsation is expected. This region lies between the instability strips of the delta Scuti and SPB stars. Moreover the periods of the new phenomenon, P~0.1-0.7 d, do not allow to associate it a priori to either of these two types of pulsations. Stars in the NGC 3766 cluster are known as fast rotators with rotational velocities typically larger than half of their critical velocity. Rotation can affect both the geometrical properties and period domain of pulsations. It also alters the apparent stellar luminosity through gravity darkening, effect seldom taken considered in theoretical studies of the rotation-pulsation interaction. We explore if both of these effects are able to deliver a consistent interpretation for the observed properties of the "new variables" in NGC 3766: explaining their presence outside the known instability strips and their variability periods. We carry out an instability analysis of SPB models within the framework of the Traditional Approximation of Rotation and study the visibility of modes according to the angle of view and rotation. We also check how gravity darkening affects the effective temperature and luminosity of stellar models for different angles of view and rotation velocities. At the red (cold) border of the instability strip, prograde sectoral modes are preferentially excited and their visibilities are maximum when seen equator-on. Furthermore low-mass SPB models seen equator-on can appear in the gap between non-rotating SPB and delta Scuti stars due to gravity darkening. In that case, periods of these most visible modes are shifted to the 0.2-0.5 d range due to the effects of the Coriolis force. We hence suggest that the new variable stars observed in NGC 3766 are actually fast rotating SPB pulsators. [less ▲]

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See detailWASP-117b: a 10-day-period Saturn in an eccentric and misaligned orbit
Lendl, Monika ULg; Triaud, A. H. M. J.; Anderson, D. R. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014), 568

We report the discovery of WASP-117b, the first planet with a period beyond 10 days found by the WASP survey. The planet has a mass of M_p = 0.2755 (+/-0.0090) M_jup, a radius of R_p = 1.021 (-0.065 +0 ... [more ▼]

We report the discovery of WASP-117b, the first planet with a period beyond 10 days found by the WASP survey. The planet has a mass of M_p = 0.2755 (+/-0.0090) M_jup, a radius of R_p = 1.021 (-0.065 +0.076) R_jup and is in an eccentric (e = 0.302 +/-0.023), 10.02165 +/- 0.00055 d orbit around a main-sequence F9 star. The host star's brightness (V=10.15 mag) makes WASP-117 a good target for follow-up observations, and with a planetary equilibrium temperature of T_eq = 1024 (-26 +30) K and a low planetary density (rho_p = 0.259 (-0.048 +0.054) rho_jup) it is one of the best targets for transmission spectroscopy among planets with periods around 10 days. From a measurement of the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect, we infer a projected angle between the planetary orbit and stellar spin axes of beta = -44 (+/-11) deg, and we further derive an orbital obliquity of psi = 69.5 (+3.6 -3.1) deg. Owing to the large orbital separation, tidal forces causing orbital circularization and realignment of the planetary orbit with the stellar plane are weak, having had little impact on the planetary orbit over the system lifetime. WASP-117b joins a small sample of transiting giant planets with well characterized orbits at periods above ~8 days. [less ▲]

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See detailInvestigation of the stellar content in the western part of the Carina nebula
Kumar, Brajesh; Sharma, Saurabh; Manfroid, Jean ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014), 567

Context. The low obscuration and proximity of the Carina nebula make it an ideal place to study the ongoing star formation process and impact of massive stars on low-mass stars in their surroundings. <BR ... [more ▼]

Context. The low obscuration and proximity of the Carina nebula make it an ideal place to study the ongoing star formation process and impact of massive stars on low-mass stars in their surroundings. <BR /> Aims: To investigate this process, we generated a new catalog of the pre-main-sequence stars in the Carina west (CrW) region and studied their nature and spatial distribution. We also determined various parameters (reddening, reddening law, age, mass), which are used further to estimate the initial mass function and K-band luminosity function for the region under study. <BR /> Methods: We obtained deep UBVRI Hα photometric data of the field situated to the west of the main Carina nebula and centered on WR 22. Medium-resolution optical spectroscopy of a subsample of X-ray selected objects along with archival data sets from Chandra, XMM-Newton and 2MASS surveys were used for the present study. Different sets of color-color and color-magnitude diagrams are used to determine reddening for the region and to identify young stellar objects (YSOs) and estimate their age and mass. <BR /> Results: Our spectroscopic results indicate that the majority of the X-ray sources are late spectral type stars. The region shows a large amount of differential reddening with minimum and maximum values of E(B - V) as 0.25 and 1.1 mag, respectively. Our analysis reveals that the total-to-selective absorption ratio R[SUB]V[/SUB] is ~3.7 ± 0.1, suggesting an abnormal grain size in the observed region. We identified 467 YSOs and studied their characteristics. The ages and masses of the 241 optically identified YSOs range from ~0.1 to 10 Myr and ~0.3 to 4.8 M[SUB]⊙[/SUB], respectively. However, the majority of them are younger than 1 Myr and have masses below 2 M[SUB]⊙[/SUB]. The high mass star WR 22 does not seem to have contributed to the formation of YSOs in the CrW region. The initial mass function slope, Γ, in this region is found to be -1.13 ± 0.20 in the mass range of 0.5 < M/M[SUB]⊙[/SUB] < 4.8. The K-band luminosity function slope (α) is also estimated as 0.31 ± 0.01. We also performed minimum spanning tree analysis of the YSOs in this region, which reveals that there are at least ten YSO cores associated with the molecular cloud, and that leads to an average core radius of 0.43 pc and a median branch length of 0.28 pc. Full Table 3 is 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/567/A109">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/567/A109</A> [less ▲]

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See detailTransiting exoplanets from the CoRoT space mission. XXVI. CoRoT-24: a transiting multiplanet system
Alonso, R.; Moutou, C.; Endl, M. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014), 567

We present the discovery of a candidate multiply transiting system, the first one found in the CoRoT mission. Two transit-like features with periods of 5.11 and 11.76 d are detected in the CoRoT light ... [more ▼]

We present the discovery of a candidate multiply transiting system, the first one found in the CoRoT mission. Two transit-like features with periods of 5.11 and 11.76 d are detected in the CoRoT light curve around a main sequence K1V star of r = 15.1. If the features are due to transiting planets around the same star, these would correspond to objects of 3.7 ± 0.4 and 5.0 ± 0.5 R[SUB]⊕[/SUB] , respectively. Several radial velocities serve to provide an upper limit of 5.7 M[SUB]⊕[/SUB] for the 5.11 d signal and to tentatively measure a mass of 28[SUP]+11[/SUP][SUB]-11[/SUB] M[SUB]⊕[/SUB] for the object transiting with a 11.76 d period. These measurements imply low density objects, with a significant gaseous envelope. The detailed analysis of the photometric and spectroscopic data serves to estimate the probability that the observations are caused by transiting Neptune-sized planets as much as over 26 times higher than a blend scenario involving only one transiting planet and as much as over 900 times higher than a scenario involving two blends and no planets. The radial velocities show a long-term modulation that might be attributed to a 1.5 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] planet orbiting at 1.8 AU from the host, but more data are required to determine the precise orbital parameters of this companion. The CoRoT space mission, launched on 27 December 2006, has been developed and is operated by the CNES, with the contribution of Austria, Belgium, Brazil, ESA (RSSD and Science Program), Germany, and Spain. Some of the observations were made with the HARPS spectrograph at ESO La Silla Observatory (184.C-0639) and with the HIRES spectrograph at the Keck Telescope (N035Hr, N143Hr 260 and N095Hr). Partly based on observations obtained at ESO Paranal Observatory, Chile (086.C-0235(A) and B).Tables 2-4 and Fig. 12 are available in electronic form at <A href="http://www.aanda.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201118662/olm">http://www.aanda.org</A> [less ▲]

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See detailVery deep images of the innermost regions of the beta Pictoris debris disc at L'
Milli, J.; Lagrange, A.-M.; Mawet, D. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014), 566

Context. Very few debris discs have been imaged in scattered light at wavelengths beyond 3 mum because the thermal emission from both the sky and the telescope is generally too strong with respect to the ... [more ▼]

Context. Very few debris discs have been imaged in scattered light at wavelengths beyond 3 mum because the thermal emission from both the sky and the telescope is generally too strong with respect to the faint emission of a debris disc. We present here the first analysis of a high angular resolution image of the disc of beta Pictoris at 3.8 mum. <BR /> Aims: Our primary objective is to probe the innermost parts of the beta Pictoris debris disc and describe its morphology. We performed extensive forward modelling to correct for the biases induced by angular differential imaging on extended objects and derive the physical parameters of the disc. <BR /> Methods: This work relies on a new analysis of seven archival data sets of beta Pictoris observed with the NaCo instrument at the Very Large Telescope in the L' band, including observations made with the Annular Groove Phase Mask vortex coronagraph in 2013. The data analysis consists of angular differential imaging associated with disc forward modelling to correct for the biases induced by that technique. The disc model is subtracted from the data and the reduction performed again in order to minimize the residuals in the final image. <BR /> Results: The disc is detected above a 5sigma level between 0.4'' and 3.8''. The two extensions have a similar brightness within error bars. We confirm an asymmetry previously observed at larger distances from the star and at shorter wavelengths: the isophotes are more widely spaced [less ▲]

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See detailPhase resolved X-ray spectroscopy of HDE 228766: Probing the wind of an extreme Of+/WNLha star
Rauw, Grégor ULg; Mahy, Laurent; Nazé, Yaël ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014), 566

Context. HDE 228766 is a very massive binary system hosting a secondary component, which is probably in an intermediate evolutionary stage between an Of supergiant and an WN star. The wind of this star ... [more ▼]

Context. HDE 228766 is a very massive binary system hosting a secondary component, which is probably in an intermediate evolutionary stage between an Of supergiant and an WN star. The wind of this star collides with the wind of its O8 II companion, leading to relatively strong X-ray emission. <BR /> Aims: Measuring the orbital variations of the line-of-sight absorption toward the X-ray emission from the wind-wind interaction zone yields information on the wind densities of both stars. <BR /> Methods: X-ray spectra have been collected at three key orbital phases to probe the winds of both stars. Optical photometry has been gathered to set constraints on the orbital inclination of the system. <BR /> Results: The X-ray spectra reveal prominent variations of the intervening column density toward the X-ray emission zone, which are in line with the expectations for a wind-wind collision. We use a toy model to set constraints on the stellar wind parameters by attempting to reproduce the observed variations of the relative fluxes and wind optical depths at 1 keV. <BR /> Conclusions: The lack of strong optical eclipses sets an upper limit of ~ 68° on the orbital inclination. The analysis of the variations of the X-ray spectra suggests an inclination in the range 54-61° and indicates that the secondary wind momentum ratio exceeds that of the primary by at least a factor 5. Our models further suggest that the bulk of the X-ray emission arises from the innermost region of the wind interaction zone, which is from a region whose outer radius, as measured from the secondary star, lies between 0.5 and 1.5 times the orbital separation. Based on observations collected with XMM-Newton, an ESA science mission with instruments and contributions directly funded by ESA member states and the USA (NASA), and on data collected at the San Pedro Mártir observatory (Mexico). [less ▲]

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See detailMicrolensing of the broad-line region in the quadruply imaged quasar HE0435-1223
Braibant, Lorraine ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg; Sluse, Dominique ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014), 565

Using infrared spectra of the z = 1.693 quadruply lensed quasar HE0435-1223 acquired in 2009 with the spectrograph SINFONI at the ESO Very Large Telescope, we have detected a clear microlensing effect in ... [more ▼]

Using infrared spectra of the z = 1.693 quadruply lensed quasar HE0435-1223 acquired in 2009 with the spectrograph SINFONI at the ESO Very Large Telescope, we have detected a clear microlensing effect in images A and D. While microlensing affects the blue and red wings of the Hα line profile in image D very differently, it de-magnifies the line core in image A. The combination of these different effects sets constraints on the line-emitting region; these constraints suggest that a rotating ring is at the origin of the Hα line. Visible spectra obtained in 2004 and 2012 indicate that the MgII line profile is microlensed in the same way as the Hα line. Our results therefore favour flattened geometries for the low-ionization line-emitting region, for example, a Keplerian disk. Biconical models cannot be ruled out but require more fine-tuning. Flux ratios between the different images are also derived and confirm flux anomalies with respect to estimates from lens models with smooth mass distributions. Based on observations made with the ESO-VLT, Paranal, Chile; Proposal 084.B-0013 (PI: Rix).Tables 2, 3 and Appendix A are available in electronic form at <A href="http://www.aanda.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201423633/olm">http://www.aanda.org</A> [less ▲]

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See detailThe PLATO Simulator: modelling of high-precision high-cadence space-based imaging
Marcos-Arenal, P.; Zima, W.; De Ridder, J. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014)

Many aspects of the design trade-off of a space-based instrument and its performance can best be tackled through simulations of the expected observations. The complex interplay of various noise sources in ... [more ▼]

Many aspects of the design trade-off of a space-based instrument and its performance can best be tackled through simulations of the expected observations. The complex interplay of various noise sources in the course of the observations make such simulations an indispensable part of the assessment and design study of any space-based mission. We present a formalism to model and simulate photometric time series of CCD images by including models of the CCD and its electronics, the telescope optics, the stellar field, the jitter movements of the spacecraft, and all important natural noise sources. This formalism has been implemented in a versatile end-to-end simulation software tool, called PLATO Simulator, specifically designed for the PLATO space mission to be operated from L2, but easily adaptable to similar types of missions. We provide a detailed description of several noise sources and discuss their properties, in connection with the optical design, the allowable level of jitter, the quantum efficiency of the detectors, etc. The expected overall noise budget of generated light curves is computed as a function of the stellar magnitude, for different sets of input parameters describing the instrument properties. The simulator is offered to the scientific community for future use. [less ▲]

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See detailThe yellow hypergiant HR 5171 A: Resolving a massive interacting binary in the common envelope phase
Chesneau, O.; Meilland, A.; Chapellier, E. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014), 563

Context. Only a few stars are caught in the very brief and often crucial stages when they quickly traverse the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, and none has yet been spatially resolved in the mass transfer ... [more ▼]

Context. Only a few stars are caught in the very brief and often crucial stages when they quickly traverse the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, and none has yet been spatially resolved in the mass transfer phase. Aims: We initiated long-term optical interferometry monitoring of the diameters of massive and unstable yellow hypergiants (YHG) with the goal of detecting both the long-term evolution of their radius and shorter term formation of a possible pseudo-photosphere related to proposed large mass-loss events. Methods: We observed HR 5171 A with AMBER/VLTI. We also examined archival photometric data in the visual and near-IR spanning more than 60 years, as well as sparse spectroscopic data. Results: HR 5171 Aexhibits a complex appearance. Our AMBER data reveal a surprisingly large star for a YHG R∗ = 1315 ± 260R⊙ (or ~6.1 AU) at the distance of 3.6 ± 0.5 kpc. The source is surrounded by an extended nebulosity, and these data also show a large level of asymmetry in the brightness distribution of the system, which we attribute to a newly discovered companion star located in front of the primary star. The companion's signature is also detected in the visual photometry, which indicates an orbital period of Porb = 1304 ± 6 d. Modeling the light curve with the NIGHTFALL program provides clear evidence that the system is a contact or possibly over-contact eclipsing binary. A total current system mass of 39^+40_-22 M⊙ and a high mass ratio q ≥ 10 is inferred for the system. Conclusions: The low-mass companion of HR 5171 is very close to the primary star that is embedded within its dense wind. Tight constraints on the inclination and vsini of the primary are lacking, which prevents us from determining its influence precisely on the mass-loss phenomenon, but the system is probably experiencing a wind Roche-Lobe overflow. Depending on the amount of angular momentum that can be transferred to the stellar envelope, HR 5171 A may become a fast-rotating B[e]/luminous blue variable/Wolf-Rayet star. In any case, HR 5171 A highlights the possible importance of binaries for interpreting the unstable YHGs and for massive star evolution in general. [less ▲]

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See detailTransiting planets from WASP-South, Euler and TRAPPIST: WASP-68 b, WASP-73 b and WASP-88 b, three hot Jupiters transiting evolved solar-type stars
Delrez, Laetitia ULg; Van Grootel, Valérie ULg; Anderson, D. R. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014)

Using the WASP transit survey, we report the discovery of three new hot Jupiters, WASP-68 b, WASP-73 b and WASP-88 b. The planet WASP-68 bhas a mass of 0.95 ± 0.03 MJup, a radius of 1.24-0.06+0.10 RJup ... [more ▼]

Using the WASP transit survey, we report the discovery of three new hot Jupiters, WASP-68 b, WASP-73 b and WASP-88 b. The planet WASP-68 bhas a mass of 0.95 ± 0.03 MJup, a radius of 1.24-0.06+0.10 RJup, and orbits a V = 10.7 G0-type star (1.24 ± 0.03 M&sun; 1.69-0.06+0.11 R&sun;, Teff = 5911 ± 60 K) with a period of 5.084298 ± 0.000015 days. Its size is typical of hot Jupiters with similar masses. The planet WASP-73 bis significantly more massive (1.88-0.06+0.07 MJup) and slightly larger (1.16-0.08+0.12 RJup) than Jupiter. It orbits a V = 10.5 F9-type star (1.34-0.04+0.05 M&sun;, 2.07-0.08+0.19 R&sun;, Teff = 6036 ± 120 K) every 4.08722 ± 0.00022 days. Despite its high irradiation (~2.3 × 109 erg s-1 cm-2), WASP-73 b has a high mean density (1.20-0.30+0.26 rhoJup) that suggests an enrichment of the planet in heavy elements. The planet WASP-88 bis a 0.56 ± 0.08 MJuphot Jupiter orbiting a V = 11.4 F6-type star (1.45 ± 0.05 M&sun;, 2.08-0.06+0.12 R&sun;, Teff = 6431 ± 130 K) with a period of 4.954000 ± 0.000019 days. With a radius of 1.70-0.07+0.13 RJup, it joins the handful of planets with super-inflated radii. The ranges of ages we determine through stellar evolution modeling are 4.5-7.0 Gyr for WASP-68, 2.8-5.7 Gyr for WASP-73 and 1.8-4.3 Gyr for WASP-88. The star WASP-73 appears to be significantly evolved, close to or already in the subgiant phase. The stars WASP-68 and WASP-88 are less evolved, although in an advanced stage of core H-burning. [less ▲]

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See detailMode identification based on time-series spectrophotometry for the bright rapid sdB pulsator EC 01541-1409
Randall, Suzanna K; Fontaine, Gilles; Geier, Stephan et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014), 563

We present an analysis of time-resolved spectrophotometry gathered with FORS/VLT for the rapidly pulsating hot B subdwarf EC 01541-1409 with the aim of identifying the degree index ℓ of the larger ... [more ▼]

We present an analysis of time-resolved spectrophotometry gathered with FORS/VLT for the rapidly pulsating hot B subdwarf EC 01541-1409 with the aim of identifying the degree index ℓ of the larger amplitude modes. This mode identification can be extremely useful in detailed searches for viable asteroseismic models in parameter space, and can be crucial for testing the validity of a solution a posteriori. To achieve it, we exploit the ℓ-dependence of the monochromatic amplitude, phase, and velocity-to-amplitude ratio of a mode as a function of wavelength. We use the ℓ-sensitive phase lag between the flux perturbation and the radial velocity as an additional diagnostic tool. On this basis, we are able to unambiguously identify the dominant 140.5 s pulsation of our target as a radial mode, and the second-highest amplitude periodicity at 145.8 s as an ℓ = 2 mode. We further exploit the exceptionally high-sensitivity data that we gathered for the dominant mode to infer modal properties that are usually quite difficult to estimate in sdB pulsators, namely the physical values of the dimensionless radius, temperature, and surface gravity perturbations. [less ▲]

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See detailA multi-method approach to radial-velocity measurement for single-object spectra
David, M.; Blomme, R.; Frémat, Y. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014), 562

Context. The derivation of radial velocities from large numbers of spectra that typically result from survey work, requires automation. However, except for the classical cases of slowly rotating late-type ... [more ▼]

Context. The derivation of radial velocities from large numbers of spectra that typically result from survey work, requires automation. However, except for the classical cases of slowly rotating late-type spectra, existing methods of measuring Doppler shifts require fine-tuning to avoid a loss of accuracy due to the idiosyncrasies of individual spectra. The radial velocity spectrometer (RVS) on the Gaia mission, which will start operating very soon, prompted a new attempt at creating a measurement pipeline to handle a wide variety of spectral types. <BR /> Aims: The present paper describes the theoretical background on which this software is based. However, apart from the assumption that only synthetic templates are used, we do not rely on any of the characteristics of this instrument, so our results should be relevant for most telescope-detector combinations. <BR /> Methods: We propose an approach based on the simultaneous use of several alternative measurement methods, each having its own merits and drawbacks, and conveying the spectral information in a different way, leading to different values for the measurement. A comparison or a combination of the various results either leads to a "best estimate" or indicates to the user that the observed spectrum is problematic and should be analysed manually. <BR /> Results: We selected three methods and analysed the relationships and differences between them from a unified point of view; with each method an appropriate estimator for the individual random error is chosen. We also develop a procedure for tackling the problem of template mismatch in a systematic way. Furthermore, we propose several tests for studying and comparing the performance of the various methods as a function of the atmospheric parameters of the observed objects. Finally, we describe a procedure for obtaining a knowledge-based combination of the various Doppler-shift measurements. [less ▲]

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