Absorption Lines (absorption + line)

Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Physics and Astronomy

Selected Abstracts

Infrared mergers and infrared quasi-stellar objects with galactic winds , III.

Mrk 231: an exploding young quasi-stellar object with composite outflow/broad absorption lines (and multiple expanding superbubbles)
ABSTRACT We present a study of outflow (OF) and broad absorption line (BAL) systems in Mrk 231, and in similar infrared (IR) quasi-stellar objects (QSOs). This study is based mainly on one-dimensional and two-dimensional spectroscopy (obtained at La Palma/William Herschel Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, International Ultraviolet Explorer, European Southern Observatory/New Technology Telescope, Kitt Peak National Observatory, Apache Point Observatory and Complejo Astronomico El Leoncito observatories) plus Hubble Space Telescope images. For Mrk 231, we report evidence that the extreme nuclear OF process has at least three main components on different scales, which are probably associated with: (i) the radio jet, at parsec scale; (ii) the extreme starburst at parsec and kiloparsec scale. This OF has generated at least four concentric expanding superbubbles and the BAL systems. Specifically, inside and very close to the nucleus the two-dimensional spectra show the presence of an OF emission bump in the blend H,+[N ii], with a peak at the same velocity of the main BAL-I system (VEjection BAL-I,,4700 km s,1). This bump was more clearly detected in the area located at 0.6,1.5 arcsec (490,1220 pc), to the south-west of the nucleus core, showing a strong and broad peak. In addition, in the same direction [at position angle (PA) ,,120, i.e. close to the PA of the small-scale radio jet] at 1.7,2.5 arcsec, we also detected multiple narrow emission-line components, with ,greatly' enhanced [N ii]/H, ratio (very similar to the spectra of jets bow shocks). These results suggest that the BAL-I system is generated in OF clouds associated with the parsec-scale jet. The Hubble Space Telescope images show four (or possibly five) nuclear superbubbles or shells with radii r, 2.9, 1.5, 1.0, 0.6 and 0.2 kpc. For these bubbles, the two-dimensional H, velocity field map and two-dimensional spectra show the following. (i) At the border of the more extended bubble (S1), a clear expansion of the shell with blueshifted velocities (with circular shape and at a radius r, 5.0 arcsec). This bubble shows a rupture arc , to the south , suggesting that the bubble is in the blowout phase. The axis of this rupture or ejection (at PA , 00) is coincident with the axis of the intermediate and large-scale structures detected at radio wavelengths. (ii) In addition, in the three more external bubbles (S1, S2, S3), the two-dimensional William Herschel Telescope spectra show multiple emission-line components with OF velocities, of ,VOF Bubble, S1, S2 and S3 =[,(650 , 420) 30], [,500 30] and [,230 30] km s,1. (iii) In the whole circumnuclear region (1.8 < r < 5 arcsec), the [N ii]/H, and [S ii]/H, narrow emission-line ratios show high values (>0.8), which are consistent with low-ionization nuclear emission-line region/OF processes associated with fast velocity shocks. Therefore, we suggest that these giant bubbles are associated with the large-scale nuclear OF component, which is generated , at least in part , by the extreme nuclear starburst: giant supernova/hypernova explosions. The variability of the short-lived BAL-III Na i D system was studied, covering almost all the period in which this system appeared (between ,1984 and 2004). We have found that the BAL-III light curve is clearly asymmetric with a steep increase, a clear maximum and an exponential fall (similar to the shape of a supernova light curve). The origin of this BAL-III system is discussed, mainly in the framework of an extreme explosive event, probably associated with giant supernova/hypernova explosions. Finally, the IR colour diagram and the ultraviolet BAL systems of IR + GW/OF + Fe ii QSOs are analysed. This study shows two new BAL IR QSOs and suggests/confirms that these objects could be nearby young BAL QSOs, similar to those detected recently at z, 6.0. We propose that the phase of young QSOs is associated with accretion of a large amount of gas (by the supermassive black hole) + extreme starbursts + extreme composite OFs/BALs. [source]

Light-induced neutralization of hydrogen shallow donors in zinc oxide

N. H. Nickel
Abstract Infrared absorption measurements of the O,H shallow donor complex in zinc oxide show that its vibrational mode is very sensitive to sub band-gap illumination. Upon illumination the intensity of the O,H vibrational line exhibits a pronounced decrease. This effect is completely reversible. Annealing the specimens at temperatures above 30 K restores the O,H vibrational line. The decrease and increase of the O,H absorption line is caused by a change of the infrared effective charge due to neutralization and ionization, respectively, of H shallow donors. ( 2006 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim) [source]

Lattice distortion (Peierls Transition) caused by spin interaction in the chaotic impurity system of a semiconductor

A. Zabrodskii
Abstract The effect of an elastic spontaneous distortion of the crystal lattice of a doped semiconductor Ge:As near the insulator,metal (IM) phase transition has been discovered. The effect is manifested in the electron spin resonance (ESR) of neutral As atoms as a splitting of the single resonance absorption line. It observed at electron concentrations in the range 0.8 < n/nC < 1 at low temperatures T < 100 K (nC = 3.7 1017 cm -3 is the critical electron concentration for the IM phase transition). The splitting is the strongest along each of the six [110] directions, which indicates that the local lattice distortion occurs just in these directions. As a result, a sample is possibly divided into separate domains differing in the directions of compressive or tensile deformations. A study of concentration, temperature, and angular dependences of the effect has shown that the phenomenon discovered can be understood in terms of the Peierls spin transition model. [source]

The iron emission line complex of MCG-5-23-16: the long XMMNewton look

V. Braito
Abstract We present the results of the simultaneous XMM- Newton and Chandra observations of the bright Seyfert 1.9 galaxy MCG,5-23-16, which is one of the best known examples of a relativistically broadened iron K, line. We find that: a) the soft X-ray emission is likely to be dominated by photoionized gas, b) the complex iron emission line is best modelled with a narrow and a broad component with a FWHM ,44000 km/s. This latter component has an EW ,50 eV and its profile is well described with an emission line mainly originating from the accretion disk a few tens of gravitational radii from the central black hole and viewed with an inclination angle ,40. We found evidence of a possible sporadic absorption line at ,7.7 keV which, if associated with Fe XXVI K, resonance absorption, is indicative of a possible high velocity (v , 0.1c) outflow. ( 2006 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim) [source]

A survey for redshifted molecular and atomic absorption lines , II.

3 Parkes quarter-Jansky flat-spectrum sample, Associated H i, millimetre lines in the z
ABSTRACT We present the results of a z, 2.9 survey for H i 21-cm and molecular absorption in the hosts of radio quasars using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope and the Tidbinbilla 70-m telescope. Although the atomic gas has been searched to limits capable of detecting most known absorption systems, no H i was detected in any of the 10 sources. Previously published searches, which are overwhelmingly at redshifts of z, 1, exhibit a 42 per cent detection rate (31 out of 73 sources), whereas the inclusion of our survey yields a 17 per cent detection rate (two out of 12 sources) at z > 2.5. We therefore believe that our high-redshift selection is responsible for our exclusive non-detections, and find that at ultraviolet (UV) luminosities of LUV, 1023 W Hz,1, 21-cm absorption has never been detected. We also find this to not only apply to our targets, but also those at low redshift exhibiting similar luminosities, giving zero detections out of a total of 16 sources over z= 0.24 to 3.8. This is in contrast to the LUV, 1023 W Hz,1 sources where there is a near 50 per cent detection rate of 21-cm absorption. The mix of 21-cm detections and non-detections is currently attributed to orientation effects, where according to unified schemes of active galactic nuclei, 21-cm absorption is more likely to occur in sources designated as radio galaxies (type 2 objects, where the nucleus is viewed through dense obscuring circumnuclear gas) than in quasars (type 1 objects, where we have a direct view to the nucleus). However, due to the exclusively high UV luminosities of our targets it is not clear whether orientation effects alone can wholly account for the distribution, although there exists the possibility that the large luminosities are indicative of a changing demographic of galaxy types. We also find that below luminosities of LUV, 1023 W Hz,1, both type 1 and type 2 objects have a 50 per cent likelihood of exhibiting 21-cm absorption. Finally, we do not detect molecular gas in any of the sources. The lack of H i absorption, combined with the results from Paper I, suggests these sources are not conducive to high molecular abundances. [source]

The remarkable properties of the symbiotic star AE Circinus

R. Mennickent
ABSTRACT We present new optical spectroscopy and photometry, Two-Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS) infrared observations and 24 yr of combined American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) and Association Francaise des Observateurs d'Etoiles Variables (AFOEV) photometry of the symbiotic star candidate AE Cir. The long-term light curve is characterized by outbursts lasting several years and having a slow decline of ,2 10,4 mag d,1. The whole range of variability of the star in the V band is about 4 mag. The periodogram of the photometric data reveals strong signals at ,342 and 171 d. The presence of the emission feature at ,6830 at minimum and the detection of absorption lines of a ,K5 type star confirm the symbiotic classification and suggest that AE Cir is a new member of the small group of s-type yellow symbiotic stars. We estimate a distance of 9.4 kpc. Our spectrum taken at the high state shows a much flatter spectral energy distribution, the disappearance of the ,6830 emission feature and the weakness of the He ii 4686 emission relative to the Balmer emission lines. Our observations indicate the presence of emission-line flickering in time-scales of minutes in 2001. The peculiar character of AE Cir is revealed in the visibility of the secondary star at the high and low state, the light curve resembling a dwarf nova superoutburst and the relatively short low states. The data are hard to reconciliate with standard models for symbiotic star outbursts. [source]

The polar ring galaxy AM1934,563 revisited,

Noah Brosch
ABSTRACT We report long-slit spectroscopic observations of the dust-lane polar ring galaxy AM1934,563 obtained with the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) during its performance verification phase. The observations target the spectral region of the H,, [N ii] and [S ii] emission lines, but also show deep Na i absorption lines, that we interpret as being produced by stars in the galaxy. We derive rotation curves along the major axis of the galaxy that extend out to about 8 kpc from the centre for both the gaseous and the stellar components, using the emission and absorption lines. We derive similar rotation curves along the major axis of the polar ring and point out differences between these and the ones of the main galaxy. We identify a small diffuse object visible only in H, emission and with a low velocity dispersion as a dwarf H ii galaxy and argue that it is probably metal poor. Its velocity indicates that it is a fourth member of the galaxy group in which AM1934,563 belongs. We discuss the observations in the context of the proposal that the object is the result of tidal mater transfer from a major neighbour galaxy and point out some observational discrepancies from this explanation. We argue that an alternative scenario that could better fit the observations may be the slow accretion of cold intergalactic gas, focused by a dense filament of galaxies in which this object is embedded. Given the pattern of rotation we found, with the asymptotic rotation of the gas in the ring being slower than that in the disc while both components have approximately the same extent, we point out that AM1934,563 may be a galaxy in which a dark matter halo is flattened along the galactic disc and the first object in which this predicted behaviour of polar ring galaxies in dark matter haloes is fulfilled. [source]

The UV properties of E+A galaxies: constraints on feedback-driven quenching of star formation

S. Kaviraj
ABSTRACT We present the first large-scale study of E+A galaxies that incorporates photometry in the ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths. E+A galaxies are ,post-starburst' systems, with strong Balmer absorption lines indicating significant recent star formation, but without [O ii] and H, emission lines which are characteristic of ongoing star formation. The starburst that creates the E+A galaxy typically takes place within the last Gyr and creates a high fraction (20,60 per cent) of the stellar mass in the remnant over a short time-scale (<0.1 Gyr). We find a tight correlation between the luminosity of our E+A galaxies and the implied star formation rate (SFR) during the starburst. While low-luminosity E+As [M(z) > ,20] exhibit implied SFRs of less than 50 M, yr,1, their luminous counterparts [M(z) < ,22] show SFRs greater than 300 and as high as 2000 M, yr,1, suggesting that luminous and ultra-luminous infrared galaxies in the low-redshift Universe could be the progenitors of massive nearby E+A galaxies. We perform a comprehensive study of the characteristics of the quenching that truncates the starburst in E+A systems. We find that, for galaxies less massive than 1010 M,, the quenching efficiency decreases as the galaxy mass increases. However, for galaxies more massive than 1010 M,, this trend is reversed and the quenching efficiency increases with galaxy mass. Noting that the mass threshold at which this reversal occurs is in excellent agreement with the mass above which active galactic nuclei (AGN) become significantly more abundant in nearby galaxies, we use simple energetic arguments to show that the bimodal behaviour of the quenching efficiency is consistent with AGN and supernovae (SN) being the principal sources of negative feedback above and below M, 1010 M,, respectively. The arguments assume that quenching occurs through the mechanical ejection or dispersal of the gas reservoir and that, in the high-mass regime (M > 1010 M,), the Eddington ratios in this sample of galaxies scale as M,, where 1 < , < 3. Finally, we use our E+A sample to estimate the time it takes for galaxies to migrate from the blue cloud to the red sequence. We find migration times between 1 and 5 Gyr, with a median value of 1.5 Gyr. [source]

A catalogue of absorption lines in eight Hubble Space Telescope/STIS E230M 1.0 < z < 1.7 quasar spectra,

N. Milutinovi
ABSTRACT We have produced a catalogue of line identifications and equivalent width measurements for all absorption features in eight ultraviolet echelle quasar spectra. These spectra were selected as having the highest signal-to-noise ratio among the Hubble Space Telescope/STIS spectra obtained with the E230M grating. We identify 56 metal-line systems towards the eight quasars, and present plots of detected transitions, aligned in velocity space. We found that about 1/4,1/3 of the features in the Ly, forest region, redward of the incidence of the Ly, forest, are metal lines. High-ionization transitions are common. At the redshift range we study, z < 1.7, we see both O vi and C iv in 88,90 per cent of the metal-line systems for which the spectra cover the expected wavelength. Si iii is seen in 58 per cent, while low-ionization absorption in C ii, Si ii and/or Al ii is detected in 50 per cent of the systems for which they are covered. This catalogue will facilitate future studies of the Ly, forest and of metal-line systems of various types. [source]

Selection of ThAr lines for wavelength calibration of echelle spectra and implications for variations in the fine-structure constant

M. T. Murphy
ABSTRACT Echelle spectrographs currently provide some of the most precise and detailed spectra in astronomy, the interpretation of which sometimes depends on the wavelength calibration accuracy. In some applications, such as constraining cosmological variations in the fundamental constants from quasar absorption lines, the wavelength calibration is crucial. Here we detail an algorithm for selecting thorium,argon (ThAr) emission lines for wavelength calibration which incorporates the properties of both a new laboratory wavelength list and the spectrograph of interest. We apply the algorithm to the Very Large Telescope Ultraviolet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph (UVES) and demonstrate a factor of ,3 improvement in the wavelength calibration residuals (i.e. random errors) alone. It is also found that UVES spectra calibrated using a previous, widely distributed line-list contain systematic 30 ,75 m s,1 distortions of the wavelength scale over both short and long wavelength ranges. These distortions have important implications for current UVES constraints on cosmological variations in the fine-structure constant. The induced systematic errors are most severe for Mg/Feii quasar absorbers in the redshift range 1.2 ,zabs, 2.3, with individual absorbers studied by recent authors containing systematic errors up to four times larger than quoted statistical errors. [source]

Post-starburst,active galactic nucleus connection: spatially resolved spectroscopy of H,-strong active galactic nuclei

Tomotsugu Goto
ABSTRACT Ever since the coexistence of an active galactic nucleus (AGN) and a starburst was observationally discovered, there has been a significant controversy over whether there is a physical connection between starbursts and AGN. If yes, it is a subject of interest to reveal which one triggers another. Here, we bring a unique insight into the subject by identifying 840 galaxies with both a post-starburst signature (strong Balmer absorption lines) and an AGN (based on the emission-line ratio). These post-starburst AGN account for the 4.2 per cent of all the galaxies in a volume-limited sample. The presence of a post-starburst phase with an active AGN itself is of importance, suggesting that AGN may outlive starbursts in the starburst,AGN connection. In addition, we have performed spatially resolved spectroscopy of three of our post-starbusrst AGN galaxies, obtaining some evidence that the post-starburst region is more extended, but sharply centred around the central AGN, confirming a spatial connection between the post-starburst and AGN. [source]

A new sample of broad absorption-line quasars exhibiting the ghost of Lyman ,

Matthew North
ABSTRACT We have searched the broad absorption-line quasar (BAL QSO) sample presented recently by Reichard et al. for objects exhibiting the so-called ,ghost of Lyman ,'. This ghost manifests as a hump near ,5900 km s,1 in the troughs of the broad absorption lines and provides strong evidence for the importance of line driving in powering the outflows from BAL QSOs. Of the 224 sample BAL QSOs selected from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Early Data Release, 198 satisfy our redshift constraints and 58 show clear evidence of multiple-trough (MT) structure in the C iv 1550 line. A composite spectrum constructed from this MT sample already shows evidence for a ghost feature. Narrowing our classification scheme further, we define a set of 36 objects that individually show evidence of a ghost feature, and then apply further cuts to arrive at a final ,best sample' that contains our seven strongest ghost candidates. A further five objects show evidence for a ghost feature that is almost strong enough to merit inclusion in our best sample. Despite its limited size, our best sample more than doubles the number of known BAL QSOs with clear ghost signatures and should make an excellent basis for detailed follow-up studies. [source]

A search for binarity using Far-Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer observations of DAO white dwarfs

S. A. Good
ABSTRACT We report on a search for evidence of binarity in Far-Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) observations of DAO white dwarfs. Spectra recorded by FUSE are built up from a number of separate exposures. Observation of changes in the position of photospheric heavy element absorption lines between exposures, with respect to the stationary interstellar medium lines, would reveal radial velocity changes , evidence of the presence of a binary system. This technique is successful in picking out all the white dwarfs already known to be binaries, which comprise five out of the sample of 16, but significant radial velocity shifts were found for only one additional star, Ton 320. This object is also known to have an infrared excess. DAOs can be separated broadly into low- or normal-mass objects. Low-mass white dwarfs can be formed as a result of binary evolution, but it has been suggested that the lower mass DAOs evolve as single stars from the extended horizontal branch, and we find no evidence of binarity for eight out of the 12 white dwarfs with relatively low mass. The existence of higher mass DAOs can also be explained if they are within binary systems, but of the four higher mass stars in the sample studied, PG 1210+533 and LB 2 do not exhibit significant radial velocity shifts, although there were only two exposures for the former object, and the latter has an infrared excess. [source]

The XMM,Newton Needles in the Haystack Survey: the local X-ray luminosity function of ,normal' galaxies

I. Georgantopoulos
ABSTRACT In this paper we estimate the local (z < 0.22) X-ray luminosity function of ,normal' galaxies derived from the XMM,Newton Needles in the Haystack Survey. This is an on-going project that aims to identify X-ray-selected normal galaxies (i.e. non-AGN dominated) in the local Universe. We are using a total of 70 XMM,Newton fields covering an area of 11 deg2 which overlap with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 2. Normal galaxies are selected on the basis of their resolved optical light profile, their low X-ray-to-optical flux ratio [log (fx/fo) < , 2] and soft X-ray colours. We find a total of 28 candidate normal galaxies to the 0.5,8 keV band flux limit of ,2 10,15 erg cm,2 s,1. Optical spectra are available for most sources in our sample (82 per cent). These provide additional evidence that our sources are bona fide normal galaxies with X-ray emission coming from diffuse hot gas emission and/or X-ray binaries rather than a supermassive black hole. 16 of our galaxies have narrow emission lines or a late-type spectral energy distribution (SED) while the remaining 12 present only absorption lines or an early-type SED. Combining our XMM,Newton sample with 18 local (z < 0.22) galaxies from the Chandra Deep Field North and South surveys, we construct the local X-ray luminosity function of normal galaxies. This can be represented with a Schechter form with a break at L,, 3+1.4,1.0 1041 erg s,1 and a slope of ,, 1.78 0.12. Using this luminosity function and assuming pure luminosity evolution of the form ,(1 +z)3.3 we estimate a contribution to the X-ray background from normal galaxies of ,10,20 per cent (0.5,8 keV). Finally, we derive, for the first time, the luminosity functions for early- and late-type systems separately. [source]

Spectral dating of high-redshift stellar populations

Ignacio Ferreras
ABSTRACT Age derivation techniques for unresolved stellar populations at high redshifts are explored using the near-ultraviolet (NUV) spectrum of LBDS 53W091 (z= 1.55) and LBDS 53W069 (z= 1.43). The photometry and morphology of these galaxies , which are weak radio sources , suggest they are early-type systems, a feature that makes them ideal testbeds for the analysis of their ages and metallicities with the use of population-synthesis models. In the analysis that is based on simple stellar population models, we find a significant degeneracy between the derived ages and metallicities both in optical+near-infrared (NIR) photometric and NUV spectroscopic analyses. This degeneracy is not so strong for LBDS 53W069. However, even in this case the stellar age cannot be constrained better than to a range roughly encompassing one-third of the age of the Universe at z= 1.43 (90 per cent confidence level). We have explored several independent population-synthesis models and consistently found similar results. Broad-band photometry straddling the rest-frame 4000- break is also subject to a strong age,metallicity degeneracy. The use of realistic chemical enrichment assumptions significantly helps in disentangling the degeneracy. Based on this method, we derive the average stellar age for both galaxies around ,t,,, 3.6,3.8 Gyr with better constraints on the youngest possible ages (,3 Gyr at the 90 per cent confidence level). The comparison with simple stellar population models suggest subsolar metallicities (log Z/Z,=,0.2). A composite model using chemical enrichment gives slightly higher metallicities in both galaxies (log Z/Z,=, 0.1). Given that the stellar component in galaxies forms over times which are larger than a typical chemical enrichment time-scale, we conclude that composite stellar populations must be used in all photospectroscopic analyses of galaxies. From the observational point of view, the most efficient (and feasible) way to set limits on unresolved stellar populations comprises a combination of Balmer absorption lines along with either low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) rest-frame NUV spectroscopy or accurate optical and NIR photometry. [source]

A high-resolution radio study of neutral gas in the starburst galaxy NGC 520

R. J. Beswick
ABSTRACT We present subarcsec angular resolution observations of the neutral gas in the nearby starburst galaxy NGC 520. The central kpc region of NGC 520 contains an area of significantly enhanced star formation. The radio continuum structure of this region resolves into ,10 continuum components. By comparing the flux densities of the brightest of these components at 1.4 GHz with published 15-GHz data we infer that these components detected at 1.4 and 1.6 GHz are related to the starburst and are most likely to be collections of several supernova remnants within the beam. None of these components is consistent with emission from an active galactic nuclei. Both neutral hydrogen (H i) and hydroxyl (OH) absorption lines are observed against the continuum emission, along with a weak OH maser feature probably related to the star formation activity in this galaxy. Strong H i absorption (NH, 1022 atoms cm,2) traces a velocity gradient of 0.5 km s,1 pc,1 across the central kpc of NGC 520. The H i absorption velocity structure is consistent with the velocity gradients observed in both the OH absorption and in CO emission observations. The neutral gas velocity structure observed within the central kpc of NGC 520 is attributed to a kpc-scale ring or disc. It is also noted that the velocity gradients observed for these neutral gas components appear to differ with the velocity gradients observed from optical ionized emission lines. This apparent disagreement is discussed and attributed to the extinction of the optical emission from the actual centre of this source hence implying that optical ionized emission lines are only detected from regions with significantly different radii to those sampled by the observations presented here. [source]

A search for high-redshift molecular absorption lines towards millimetre-loud, optically faint quasars

M. T. Murphy
ABSTRACT We describe initial results of a search for redshifted molecular absorption towards four millimetre-loud, optically faint quasars. A wide frequency bandwidth of up to 23 GHz per quasar was scanned using the Swedish,ESO Submillimetre Telescope at La Silla. Using a search list of commonly detected molecules, we obtained nearly complete redshift coverage up to zabs= 5. The sensitivity of our data is adequate to have revealed absorption systems with characteristics similar to those seen in the four known redshifted millimetre-band absorption systems, but none were found. Our frequency-scan technique nevertheless demonstrates the value of wide-band correlator instruments for searches such as these. We suggest that a somewhat larger sample of similar observations should lead to the discovery of new millimetre-band absorption systems. [source]

High-resolution observations of interstellar Na i and Ca ii towards the southern opening of the ,Local Interstellar Chimney': probing the disc,halo connection

I. A. Crawford
ABSTRACT We present high-resolution (R= 400 000) observations of interstellar Ca ii and Na i absorption lines towards seven stars in the direction of the southern opening of the recently identified Local Interstellar Chimney. These lines of sight probe the lower Galactic halo (0.3 ,|z|, 2.5 kpc), without the complication of sampling dense foreground interstellar material. In addition to components with velocities expected from Galactic rotation, these stars also exhibit components with negative local standard of rest velocities, which are contrary to the sense of Galactic rotation for the sightlines observed. After a discussion of possible origins for these peculiar velocities, we conclude that at least some of them result from gas falling towards the Galactic plane from distances of |z|, 300 pc. The narrow linewidths are generally inconsistent with temperatures as high as the ,6000 K generally assumed for the so-called Lockman layer. Rather, the picture that emerges is one of a scattered, generally infalling, population of high- |z| diffuse clouds, seemingly not very different from those encountered in the local interstellar medium. Overall, we argue that our results are most consistent with a ,Galactic fountain' model. [source]

Possible evidence for a variable fine-structure constant from QSO absorption lines: systematic errors

M.T. Murphy
Comparison of quasar (QSO) absorption spectra with laboratory spectra allows us to probe possible variations in the fundamental constants over cosmological time-scales. In a companion paper we present an analysis of Keck/HIRES spectra and report possible evidence suggesting that the fine-structure constant, ,, may have been smaller in the past: over the redshift range . In this paper we describe a comprehensive investigation into possible systematic effects. Most of these do not significantly influence our results. When we correct for those which do produce a significant systematic effect in the data, the deviation of from zero becomes more significant. We are led increasingly to the interpretation that , was slightly smaller in the past. [source]

Further constraints on variation of the fine-structure constant from alkali-doublet QSO absorption lines

M.T. Murphy
Comparison of quasar (QSO) absorption-line spectra with laboratory spectra provides a precise probe for variability of the fine-structure constant, ,, over cosmological time-scales. We constrain variation in , in 21 Keck/HIRES Si iv absorption systems using the alkali-doublet (AD) method in which changes in , are related to changes in the doublet spacing. The precision obtained with the AD method has been increased by a factor of 3: . We also analyse potential systematic errors in this result. Finally, we compare the AD method with the many-multiplet method, which has achieved an order of magnitude greater precision, and we discuss the future of the AD method. [source]

, Velorum: another variable interstellar sightline?

I. A. Crawford
We present ultra-high-resolution (R = 900 000) observations of interstellar Na i and K i absorption lines towards , Vel (HD 81188) which show clear evidence for temporal variation between 1994 and 2000. Specifically, the column densities of K0 and Na0 in the main velocity component have increased by 40 and 16 per cent, respectively, over this period. Earlier work had suggested that this component actually consists of two unresolved sub-components; this result is confirmed here, and the overall line profile is found to be consistent with only one of these sub-components having increased in strength since 1994. We argue that this variation is consistent with the line of sight gradually probing a cold, dense interstellar filament of the kind recently proposed by Heiles to explain other observations of small-scale structure in the interstellar medium. [source]

Ultra-high-resolution observations of circumstellar K i and C2 around the post-AGB star HD 56126

I. A. Crawford
We have used the Ultra-High-Resolution Facility (UHRF) at the AAT, operating at a resolution of 0.35 km s,1 (FWHM), to observe K i and C2 absorption lines arising in the circumstellar environment of the post-AGB star HD 56126. We find three narrow circumstellar absorption components in K i, two of which are also present in C2. We attribute this velocity structure to discrete shells resulting from multiple mass-loss events from the star. The very high spectral resolution has enabled us to resolve the intrinsic linewidths of these narrow lines for the first time, and we obtain velocity dispersions (b -values) of 0.2,0.3 km s,1 for the K i components, and 0.540.03 km s,1 for the strongest (and best defined) C2 component. These correspond to rigorous kinetic temperature upper limits of 211 K for K i and 420 K for C2, although the b -value ratio implies that these two species do not co-exist spatially. The observed degree of rotational excitation of C2 implies low kinetic temperatures (Tk,10 K) and high densities (n,106 to 107 cm,3) within the shell responsible for the main C2 component. Given this low temperature, the line profiles then imply either mildly supersonic turbulence or an unresolved velocity gradient through the shell. [source]

Modeling of ZnO nanorods for evanescent field optical sensors

Sandra Brner
Abstract The optical wave guiding properties of ZnO nanorods are simulated and studied in detail using a block-iterative frequency-domain method and the results of a finite difference method as reference data. The simulations are performed for different wavelengths in the infrared spectral region that are related to specific gas absorption lines. Here both single ZnO nanorods and nanorod arrays with varying period lengths are investigated. The evanescent field distributions and penetration depths into the surrounding media are analyzed and compared as a function of wavelength and rod diameter. Our results give a general overview on the size range where ZnO nanorods may be used for evanescent field interaction based sensors for the detection of gas molecules like CO, CO2 or O2. ( 2007 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim) [source]

Far-infrared spectroscopy of shallow acceptors in semi-insulating GaAs: evidence for defect interactions with EL2

H. Ch.
Abstract Far-infrared FTIR absorption measurements are carried out at 10 K in order to assess the uncompensated fraction of shallow acceptors in semi-insulating GaAs after optical bleaching of EL2. In carbon-doped material a linear correlation of the G line at 122.3 cm,1 with the CAs concentration is found in the whole concentration range between 1 1014 and 2 1016 cm,3. In samples co-doped with zinc in the range around 1 1016 cm,3 and 1 to 2 1015 cm,3 carbon, both, ZnGa - and CAs -related far-infrared absorption lines are observed. Taking into consideration the Fermi level position after bleaching of EL2, it can be concluded that no other donors than EL2 are present above a total concentration of 1 1015 cm,3. In addition to the far-infrared measurements, the intracentre transition of EL2 (A1 , T2) at 1.0389 eV is studied. The results are compatible only with an increase of the total EL2 concentration with the shallow acceptor concentration. Possible mechanisms for the interaction between shallow- and deep-level defects are discussed. [source]

Toward a consistent reanalysis of the upper stratosphere based on radiance measurements from SSU and AMSU-A

Shinya Kobayashi
Abstract Radiance measurements from the Stratospheric Sounding Unit (SSU) and the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU-A) are the primary source of information for stratospheric temperature in reanalyses of the satellite era. To improve the time consistency of the reanalyses, radiance biases need to be properly understood and accounted for in the assimilation system. The investigation of intersatellite differences between SSU and AMSU-A radiance observations shows that these differences are not accurately reproduced by the operational version of the radiative transfer model for the TIROS Operational Vertical Sounder (RTTOV-8). We found that this deficiency in RTTOV was mainly due to the treatment of the Zeeman effect (splitting of the oxygen absorption lines at 60 GHz) and to changes in the spectral response function of the SSU instrument that are not represented in RTTOV. On this basis we present a revised version of RTTOV that can reproduce SSU and AMSU-A intersatellite radiance differences more accurately. Assimilation experiments performed with the revised version of RTTOV in a four-dimensional variational analysis system (4D-Var) show some improvements in the stratospheric temperature analysis. However, significant jumps in the stratospheric temperature analysis still occur when switching satellites, which is due to the fact that systematic errors in the forecast model are only partially constrained by observations. Using a one-dimensional retrieval equation, we show that both the extent and vertical structure of the partial bias corrections must inevitably change when the nature of the radiance measurement changes with the transition from SSU to AMSU-A. Copyright 2009 Royal Meteorological Society [source]

Expanding atmosphere models for SSS spectra of novae

D.R. van Rossum
Abstract Super Soft Source (SSS) spectra are powered by nuclear burning on the surface of a white dwarf. The released energy causes a radiatively-driven wind that leads to a radially extended atmosphere around the white dwarf. Significant blue shifts in photospheric absorption lines are found in the spectra of novae during their SSS phase, being an evidence of continued mass loss in this phase. We present spherically symmetric PHOENIX models that account for the expansion of the ejecta. A comparison to a plane parallel, hydrostatic atmosphere model demonstrates that the mass loss can have a significant impact on the model spectra. The dynamic model yields less pronounced absorption edges, and harder X-ray spectra are the result. Therefore, lower effective temperatures are needed to explain the observed spectra. Although both types of models are yet to be fine-tuned in order to accurately determine best fit parameters, the implications on the chemical abundances are going in opposite directions. With the expanding models the requirement for strong depletion of the crucial elements that cause these edges is now avoidable ( 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim) [source]

Observational evidence for expansion in the SSS spectra of novae

J.-U. Ness
Abstract For several novae, a bright X-ray source with a spectrum resembling the class of Super Soft X-ray Sources (SSS) has been observed a few weeks to months after outburst. Novae are powered by explosive nuclear burning on the surface of a white dwarf, and enough energy is produced to power a radiatively driven wind. Owing to the evolution of the opacity of the ejecta, the observable spectrum gradually shifts from optical to soft X-rays (SSS phase). It has sometimes been assumed that at the beginning of the SSS phase no more mass loss occurs. However, high-resolution X-ray spectra of some novae have shown highly blue-shifted absorption lines, indicating a significant expansion. In this paper, I show that all novae that have been observed with X-ray gratings during their SSS phase show significant blue shifts. I argue that all models that attempt to explain the X-ray bright SSS phase have to accommodate the continued expansion of the ejecta ( 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim) [source]

Relativistic Fe line emission and highly photoionized absorption in GROJ1655-40

M. Daz Trigo
Abstract We report on two XMM-Newton and simultaneous INTEGRAL observations of the microquasar GRO J1655-40 during its 2005 outburst. The source was most probably in its high-soft state during both observations. There is evidence for the presence of both a relativistically broadened Fe line providing strong support for the existence of a spinning black hole, and a highly photo-ionized absorber. The photo-ionized absorber is responsible for strong K absorption lines of Fe XXV and Fe XXVI in the EPIC pn spectra. The parameters of the highly-ionized absorber were different during the two observations. A less ionized absorber is present in the second observation, where the 0.5,200 keV luminosity of GRO J1655-40 decreased by around a half. ( 2006 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim) [source]

Relativistic blue- and red-shifted absorption lines in AGNs

M. Cappi
Abstract Current, accumulating evidence for (mildly) relativistic blue- and red-shifted absorption lines in AGNs is reviewed. XMM-Newton and Chandra sensitive X-ray observations are starting to probe not only the kinematics (velocity) but also the dynamics (accelerations) of highly ionized gas flowing in-and-out from, likely, a few gravitational radii from the black hole. It is thus emphasized that X-ray absorption-line spectroscopy provides new potential to map the accretion flows near black holes, to probe the launching regions of relativistic jets/outflows, and to quantify the cosmological feedback of AGNs. Prospects to tackle these issues with future high energy missions are briefly addressed. ( 2006 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim) [source]