Light Curves (light + curve)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Kinds of Light Curves

  • x-ray light curve

  • Selected Abstracts

    Planetary transit observations at the University Observatory Jena: XO-1b and TrES-1,

    St. Raetz
    Abstract We report on observations of transit events of the transiting planets XO-1b and TrES-1 with a 25 cm telescope of the University Observatory Jena. With the transit timings for XO-1b from all 50 available XO, SuperWASP, Transit Light Curve (TLC)-Project- and Exoplanet Transit Database (ETD)-data, including our own I -band photometry obtained in March 2007, we find that the orbital period is P = (3.941501 0.000001) d, a slight change by ,3 s compared to the previously published period. We present new ephemeris for this transiting planet. Furthermore, we present new R -band photometry of two transits of TrES-1. With the help of all available transit times from literature this allows us to refine the estimate of the orbital period: P = (3.0300722 0.0000002) d. Our observations will be useful for future investigations of timing variations caused by additional perturbing planets and/or stellar spots and/or moons ( 2009 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim) [source]

    The beginning heights and light curves of high-altitude meteors

    Pavel Koten
    During the recent Leonid meteor storms, as well as within the regular double station video observations of other meteor showers, we recorded 164 meteors with a beginning height above 130 km. We found that beginning heights between 130 and 150 km are quite usual, especially for the Leonid meteor shower. Conversely, meteors with beginning heights above 160 km are very rare even among Leonids. From the meteor light curves, we are able to distinguish two different processes that govern radiation of the meteors at different altitudes. Light curves vary greatly above 130 km and exhibit sudden changes in meteor brightness. Sputtering from the meteoroid surface is the dominating process during this phase of the meteor luminous trajectory. Around 130 km, the process switches to ablation and the light curves become similar to the light curves of standard meteors. The sputtering model was successfully applied to explain the difference in the beginning heights of high-altitude Leonid and Perseid meteors. We show also that this process in connection with high altitude fragmentation could explain the anomalously high beginning heights of several relatively faint meteors. [source]

    Image-intensified video results from the 1998 Leonid shower: I. Atmospheric trajectories and physical structure

    Precise heights and light curves were obtained for 79 Leonid meteors that ranged in brightness (at maximum luminosity) from +0.3 to +6.1 astronomical magnitude. The mean photometric mass of the data sample was 1.4 10,6 kg. The dependence of astronomical magnitude at peak luminosity on photometric mass and zenith angle was consistent with earlier studies of faint sporadic meteors. For example, a Leonid meteoroid with a photometric mass of ,1.0 10- 7 kg corresponds to a peak meteor luminosity of about +4.5 astronomical magnitudes. The mean beginning height of the Leonid meteors in this sample was 112.6 km and the mean ending height was 95.3 km. The highest beginning height observed was 144.3 km. There is relatively little dependence of either the first or last heights on mass, which is indicative of meteoroids that have clustered into constituent grains prior to the onset of intensive grain ablation. The height distribution, combined with numerical modelling of the ablation of the meteoroids, suggests that silicate-like materials are not the principal component of Leonid meteoroids and hints at the presence of a more volatile component. Light curves of many Leonid meteors were examined for evidence of the physical structure of the associated meteoroids: similar to the 1997 Leonid meteors, the narrow, nearly symmetric curves imply that the meteoroids are not solid objects. The light curves are consistent with a dustball structure. [source]

    Light curves for off-centre ignition models of Type Ia supernovae

    S. A. Sim
    ABSTRACT Motivated by recent models involving off-centre ignition of Type Ia supernova explosions, we undertake three-dimensional time-dependent radiation transport simulations to investigate the range of bolometric light-curve properties that could be observed from supernovae in which there is a lop-sided distribution of the products from nuclear burning. We consider both a grid of artificial toy models which illustrate the conceivable range of effects and a recent three-dimensional hydrodynamical explosion model. We find that observationally significant viewing angle effects are likely to arise in such supernovae and that these may have important ramifications for the interpretation of the observed diversity of Type Ia supernova and the systematic uncertainties which relate to their use as standard candles in contemporary cosmology. [source]

    Pulsations and planets: The asteroseismology-extrasolar-planet connection

    S. Schuh
    Abstract The disciplines of asteroseismology and extrasolar planet science overlap methodically in the branch of high-precision photometric time series observations. Light curves are, amongst others, useful to measure intrinsic stellar variability due to oscillations, as well as to discover and characterize those extrasolar planets that transit in front of their host stars, periodically causing shallow dips in the observed brightness. Both fields ultimately derive fundamental parameters of stellar and planetary objects, allowing to study for example the physics of various classes of pulsating stars, or the variety of planetary systems, in the overall context of stellar and planetary system formation and evolution. Both methods typically also require extensive spectroscopic follow-up to fully explore the dynamic characteristics of the processes under investigation. In particularly interesting cases, a combination of observed pulsations and signatures of a planet allows to characterize a system's components to a very high degree of completeness by combining complementary information. The planning of the relevant space missions has consequently converged with respect to science cases, where at the outset there was primarily a coincidence in instrumentation and techniques. Whether space- or ground-based, a specific type of stellar pulsations can themselves be used in an innovative way to search for extrasolar planets. Results from this additional method at the interface of stellar pulsation studies and exoplanet hunts in a beyond-mainstream area are presented ( 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim) [source]

    Period analysis of variable stars by robust smoothing

    Hee-Seok Oh
    Summary., The objective is to estimate the period and the light curve (or periodic function) of a variable star. Previously, several methods have been proposed to estimate the period of a variable star, but they are inaccurate especially when a data set contains outliers. We use a smoothing spline regression to estimate the light curve given a period and then find the period which minimizes the generalized cross-validation (GCV). The GCV method works well, matching an intensive visual examination of a few hundred stars, but the GCV score is still sensitive to outliers. Handling outliers in an automatic way is important when this method is applied in a ,data mining' context to a vary large star survey. Therefore, we suggest a robust method which minimizes a robust cross-validation criterion induced by a robust smoothing spline regression. Once the period has been determined, a nonparametric method is used to estimate the light curve. A real example and a simulation study suggest that the robust cross-validation and GCV methods are superior to existing methods. [source]

    Fragmentation model analysis of the observed atmospheric trajectory of the Tagish Lake fireball

    An initial mass of 56,000 kg, derived from seismic and infrasound data by Brown et al. (2002), proved to be consistent with a very low value of intrinsic ablation coefficient of 0.0009 s2 km,2. The average residual of the best fit to the observed light curve was 0.10 stellar magnitude. The apparent ablation coefficient varied from 0.0009 to 1.52 s2 km,2 with an average value of 0.054 s2 km,2 (determined by the gross fragmentation [GF] model). The FM found 33 individual fragmentation events during the penetration of the 56,000 kg initial mass of the Tagish Lake meteoroid through the atmosphere, with five of the events fragmenting more than 10% of the instantaneous mass of the main body. The largest event fragmented 88% of the mass of the main body at a height of 34.4 km. The velocity of the main body mass of 2660 kg at a height of 29.2 km (the last observed light) was 13.1 km/s. Strong fragmentation at heights lower than 29.2 km is very probable. The extreme fragmentation process of the Tagish Lake meteoroid puts its classification well outside the IIIB type in the direction of less cohesive bodies. The light curve could not be explained at all by making use of only the apparent ablation coefficient and apparent luminous efficiency. [source]

    Evolution of the Chandra CCD spectra of SNR 1987A: probing the reflected-shock picture

    Svetozar A. Zhekov
    ABSTRACT We continue to explore the validity of the reflected-shock structure (RSS) picture in SNR 1987A that was proposed in our previous analyses of the X-ray emission from this object. We used an improved version of our RSS model in a global analysis of 14 CCD spectra from the monitoring program with Chandra. In the framework of the RSS picture, we are able to match both the expansion velocity curve deduced from the analysis of the X-ray images and light curve. Using a simplified analysis, we also show that the X-rays and the non-thermal radio emission may originate from the same shock structure (the blast wave). We believe that using the RSS model in the analysis of grating data from the Chandra monitoring program of SNR 1987A that cover a long enough time interval will allow us to build a more realistic physical picture and model of SNR 1987A. [source]

    A model for saturation correction in meteor photometry

    Jean-Baptiste Kikwaya
    ABSTRACT In order to correct for the effect of saturation on photometric measurements of meteors, we have developed a numerical model for saturation and apply it to data gathered using two generation III image intensified video systems on two nights (2008 October 31 and 2008 November 6). The two cameras were pointed in the same direction, and the aperture of one camera was set two stops below the aperture of the other. With these conditions, some meteors saturated one camera but not the other (group I); some saturated both cameras (group II); and some did not saturate either of them (group III). A model of meteor saturation has been developed which uses the image background value, angular meteor speed and the lateral width of the meteor image to simulate the true and saturated light curve of meteors. For group I meteors, we computed a saturation correction and applied it to the saturated light curve. We then compared the corrected saturated curve to the unsaturated curve from the other camera to validate the model. For group II meteors, a saturation correction is calculated and applied to both observed light curves, which have different degrees of saturation, and the corrected curves are compared. We collected 516 meteors, of which 30 were of group I, and seven of group II. For meteors in group I, an average residual of less than 0.4 mag was found between the observed unsaturated light curve and the model-corrected saturated light curve. For meteors in group II, the average residual between the two corrected light curves was 0.3 mag. For our data, the saturation correction goes from 0.5 to 1.9 mag for meteors in group I, and 1.2 to 2.5 mag for meteors in group II. Based on the agreement between the observed and modelled light curves (less than 0.4 mag over all meteors of all groups), we conclude that our model for saturation correction is valid. It can be used to extract the true luminosity of a saturated meteor, which is necessary to calculate photometric mass. Our model also demonstrates that fixed corrections to saturated meteor photometry, not accounting for background levels or angular velocities, do introduce significant error to meteor photometric analyses. [source]

    Be/X-ray binary SXP6.85 undergoes large Type II outburst in the Small Magellanic Cloud

    L. J. Townsend
    ABSTRACT The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) Be/X-ray binary pulsar SXP6.85 = XTE J0103,728 underwent a large Type II outburst beginning on 2008 August 10. The source was consistently seen for the following 20 weeks (MJD = 54688,54830). We present X-ray timing and spectroscopic analysis of the source as a part of our ongoing Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) monitoring campaign and INTEGRAL key programme monitoring the SMC and 47 Tuc. A comparison with the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) III light curve of the Be counterpart shows the X-ray outbursts from this source coincide with times of optical maximum. We attribute this to the circumstellar disc increasing in size, causing mass accretion on to the neutron star. Ground based infrared photometry and H, spectroscopy obtained during the outburst are used as a measure of the size of the circumstellar disc and lend support to this picture. In addition, folded RXTE light curves seem to indicate complex changes in the geometry of the accretion regions on the surface of the neutron star, which may be indicative of an inhomogeneous density distribution in the circumstellar material causing a variable accretion rate on to the neutron star. Finally, the assumed inclination of the system and H, equivalent width measurements are used to make a simplistic estimate of the size of the circumstellar disc. [source]

    Massive stars exploding in a He-rich circumstellar medium , II.

    The transitional case of SN 2005la
    ABSTRACT We present photometric and spectroscopic data of the peculiar SN 2005la, an object which shows an optical light curve with some luminosity fluctuations and spectra with comparably strong narrow hydrogen and helium lines, probably of circumstellar nature. The increasing full width at half-maximum velocity of these lines is indicative of an acceleration of the circumstellar material. SN 2005la exhibits hybrid properties, sharing some similarities with both Type IIn supernovae and 2006jc-like (Type Ibn) events. We propose that the progenitor of SN 2005la was a very young Wolf,Rayet (WN-type) star which experienced mass ejection episodes shortly before core collapse. [source]

    Two-Micron All-Sky Survey J01542930+0053266: a new eclipsing M dwarf binary system

    A. C. Becker
    ABSTRACT We report on Two-Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS) J01542930+0053266, a faint eclipsing system composed of two M dwarfs. The variability of this system was originally discovered during a pilot study of the 2MASS Calibration Point Source Working Data base. Additional photometry from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey yields an eight-passband light curve from which we derive an orbital period of 2.639 0157 0.000 0016 d. Spectroscopic followup confirms our photometric classification of the system, which is likely composed of M0 and M1 dwarfs. Radial velocity measurements allow us to derive the masses (M1= 0.66 0.03 M,; M2= 0.62 0.03 M,) and radii (R1= 0.64 0.08 R,; R2= 0.61 0.09 R,) of the components, which are consistent with empirical mass,radius relationships for low-mass stars in binary systems. We perform Monte Carlo simulations of the light curves which allow us to uncover complicated degeneracies between the system parameters. Both stars show evidence of H, emission, something not common in early-type M dwarfs. This suggests that binarity may influence the magnetic activity properties of low-mass stars; activity in the binary may persist long after the dynamos in their isolated counterparts have decayed, yielding a new potential foreground of flaring activity for next generation variability surveys. [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]

    Keck infrared observations of GRO J0422+32 in quiescence

    Mark T. Reynolds
    ABSTRACT We present Keck K -band photometry and low-resolution H - and K -band spectroscopy of the X-ray nova GRO J0422+32 obtained while the system was in the quiescent state. No clear ellipsoidal modulation is present in the light curve, which is instead dominated by a strong flickering component. In the K band, we observe strong Br, emission, with an equivalent width of 38 5 . From this, we conclude that the accretion disc is the most likely source of the observed photometric contamination, and that previous infrared-based attempts to constrain the mass of the putative black hole in this system are prone to considerable uncertainty. We finally proceed to show how it is possible to place meaningful constraints on some of the binary parameters of this system, even in the presence of a relatively high level of contamination from the disc. [source]

    Interpretation of the 1998 outburst of the unique X-ray transient CI Camelopardalis (XTE J0421+560)

    ABSTRACT We present an analysis of the 1998 outburst of the peculiar X-ray binary and X-ray transient CI Cam (XTE J0421+560). We discuss the observations in the framework of several possible models and argue that this outburst can be explained by the thermal instability of the accretion disc, analogous to the outbursts of soft X-ray transients. Applying the model by King & Ritter and Shahbaz, Charles & King on the X-ray light curve, we obtain a realistic mass of the disc at the peak of outburst to be Mh(0) , 1.5 1023 g (the distance d= 5 kpc) or 3.8 1022 g (d= 2.5 kpc). The disc radius at this moment is then Rh(0) , 2.5 1010 cm (d= 5 kpc) or 1.6 1010 cm (d= 2.5 kpc), provided that the factor f (the ratio of the mass of the hot disc at that moment with respect to its maximum possible mass) is close to unity. Even if we take a quite low f= 0.05, we still obtain Rh(0) by only 2.7 times larger. The reddening in the outburst maximum and brighter peak absolute magnitude of CI Cam with respect to those of soft X-ray transients in outbursts can be explained if the disc in CI Cam heats up an extended envelope and/or a strong jet is formed. We thus bring firm arguments for Robinson, Ivans & Welsh's hypothesis. On the other hand, we bring the arguments against the mass transfer burst from the donor and the periastron passage of the compact object. [source]

    Offline, multidetector intensity interferometers , II.

    Implications, applications
    ABSTRACT Intensity interferometry removes the stringent requirements on mechanical precision and atmospheric corrections that plague all amplitude interferometry techniques at the cost of severely limited sensitivity. A new idea we recently introduced, very high redundancy, alleviates this problem. It enables the relatively simple construction (,1 cm mechanical precision) of a ground-based astronomical facility able to transform a two-dimensional field of point-like sources to a three-dimensional distribution of microarcsec resolved systems, each imaged in several optical bands. Each system will also have its high-resolution residual timing, high-quality (inside each band) spectra and light curve, emergent flux, effective temperature, polarization effects and perhaps some thermodynamic properties, all directly measured. All the above attributes can be measured in a single observation run of such a dedicated facility. We conclude that after three decades of abandonment, optical intensity interferometry deserves another review, also as a ground-based alternative to the science goals of space interferometers. [source]

    Three new pulsating sdB stars from the Edinburgh,Cape survey

    D. Kilkenny
    ABSTRACT We report the discovery of very rapid pulsations in three sdB stars from the Edinburgh,Cape blue object survey. The short periods, small amplitudes and multi-periodicity clearly establish these stars as members of the EC 14026 class. EC 11583,2708 has pulsation periods near 149, 144 and 114 s, though evidence is presented that the 149-s period is resolved into two periods at 148.87 and 148.55 s by the full photoelectric data set. The amplitudes of the detected variations are in the range 0.002,0.006 mag. The light variation of EC 20338,1925 is dominated by a period near 147 s with a very large amplitude for a variable sdB star (0.025 mag), though four other frequencies are detected with periods near 168, 151, 141 and 135 s and amplitudes in the range 0.002,0.005 mag. The third star, EC 09582,1137, displays a light curve which is virtually a textbook example of frequency beating, being produced by two pulsations of almost equal amplitude (,0.008 mag) and periods near 136.0 and 151.2 s. [source]

    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]

    Multiband optical photometry and bolometric light curve of the Type Ia supernova 2004S

    Kuntal Misra
    ABSTRACT We present BVRCIC broad-band CCD photometry of the Type Ia supernova SN 2004S, which appeared in the galaxy MCG,05-16-021, obtained during 2004 February 12 to March 22. We present multiband and bolometric light curves constructed using our data as well as other available data. The time of the B -band maximum and the peak magnitudes in different bands are obtained using fits of light-curve and colour templates. We clearly see a strong shoulder in the RC band and a second maximum in the IC band. SN 2004S closely resembles SN 1992al after maximum. From the peak bolometric luminosity, we estimate the ejected mass of 56 Ni to be 0.41 M,. [source]

    XMM,Newton observations of UW CrB: detection of X-ray bursts and evidence for accretion disc evolution

    Pasi Hakala
    ABSTRACT UW CrB (MS 1603+2600) is a peculiar short-period X-ray binary that exhibits extraordinary optical behaviour. The shape of the optical light curve of the system changes drastically from night to night, without any changes in overall brightness. Here we report X-ray observations of UW CrB obtained with XMM,Newton. We find evidence for several X-ray bursts, confirming a neutron star primary. This considerably strengthens the case that UW CrB is an accretion disc corona system located at a distance of at least 5,7 kpc (3,5 kpc above the Galactic plane). The X-ray and Optical Monitor (ultraviolet,optical) light curves show remarkable shape variation from one observing run to another, which we suggest are due to large-scale variations in the accretion disc shape resulting from a warp that periodically obscures the optical and soft X-ray emission. This is also supported by the changes in phase-resolved X-ray spectra. [source]

    Modelling the extreme ultraviolet emission during the low state of Hercules X-1

    D. A. Leahy
    ABSTRACT Hercules X-1 was observed for extended periods during its low state by the Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer (EUVE). These observations yield low-state light curves in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) which are compared with a composite model here. The model includes reflection of soft X-rays off the companion HZ Her, including the shadowing of HZ Her by the accretion disc, and emission from the accretion disc surface. Four different geometries for the accretion disc were adopted, all derived from the RXTE All-Sky Monitor (ASM) 35-day light-curve modelling. Three were thin disc models for different system inclinations, i, and the fourth was a disc with a thick inner ring for i= 85. With the HZ Her reflection model, with no free parameters except normalization, and a simple model for the disc emission, the models fit the data well. The disc emission accounts for about half of the EUV flux, depending on which accretion disc geometry is used. The disc geometry that best fits the EUV light curves is the disc with a thick inner ring, which is the same model that gives the best fit to the RXTE/ASM light curve. [source]

    Probing the dark ages with redshift distribution of gamma-ray bursts

    T. Roy Choudhury
    Abstract In this article, we explore the possibility of using the properties of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) to probe the physical conditions in the epochs prior to reionization. The redshift distribution of GRBs is modelled using the Press,Schechter formalism with an assumption that they follow the cosmic star formation history. We reproduce the observed star formation rate obtained from galaxies in the redshift range 0 < z < 5, as well as the redshift distribution of the GRBs inferred from the luminosity,variability correlation of the burst light curve. We show that the fraction of GRBs at high redshifts, the afterglows of which cannot be observed in the R and I bands owing to H i Gunn,Peterson optical depth can, at the most, account for one third of the dark GRBs. The observed redshift distribution of GRBs, with much less scatter than the one available today, can put stringent constraints on the epoch of reionization and the nature of gas cooling in the epochs prior to reionization. [source]

    Optical gravitational lensing experiment: OGLE-1999-BUL-19 , the first multipeak parallax event

    Martin C. Smith
    Abstract We describe a highly unusual microlensing event, OGLE-1999-BUL-19. Unlike most standard microlensing events, this event exhibits multiple peaks in its light curve. The Einstein radius crossing time for this event is approximately 1 yr, which is unusually long. We show that the additional peaks in the light curve can be caused by the very small value for the relative transverse velocity of the lens projected on to the observer plane (). Since this value is significantly less than the speed of the orbit of the Earth around the Sun (v,, 30km s,1), the motion of the Earth induces these multiple peaks in the light curve. This value for is the lowest velocity so far published and we believe that this is the first multiple-peak parallax event ever observed. We also found that the event can be somewhat better fitted by a rotating binary-source model, although this is to be expected since every parallax microlensing event can be exactly reproduced by a suitable binary-source model. A face-on rotating binary-lens model was also identified, but this provides a significantly worse fit. We conclude that the most likely cause for this multipeak behaviour is parallax microlensing rather than microlensing by a binary source. However, this event may be exhibiting a slight binary-source signature in addition to these parallax-induced multiple peaks. With spectroscopic observations it is possible to test this ,parallax plus binary-source' hypothesis and (in the instance that the hypothesis turns out to be correct) to simultaneously fit both models and obtain a measurement of the lens mass. Furthermore, spectroscopic observations could also supply information regarding the lens properties, possibly providing another avenue for determining the lens mass. We also investigated the nature of the blending for this event, and found that the majority of the I -band blending is contributed by a source roughly aligned with the lensed source. This implies that most of the I -band blending is caused by light from the lens or a binary companion to the source. However, in the V band, there appears to be a second blended source 0.35 arcsec away from the lensed source. Hubble Space Telescope observations will be very useful for understanding the nature of the blends. We also suggest that a radial velocity survey of all parallax events will be very useful for further constraining the lensing kinematics and understanding the origins of these events and the excess of long events toward the bulge. [source]

    The effect of a binary source companion on the astrometric microlensing behaviour

    Cheongho Han
    If gravitational microlensing occurs in a binary source system, both source components are magnified, and the resulting light curve deviates from the standard one of a single source event. However, in most cases only one source component is highly magnified and the other component (the companion) can be treated as a simple blending source: this is a blending approximation. In this paper we show that, unlike the light curves, the astrometric curves, representing the trajectories of the source image centroid, of an important fraction of binary source events will not be sufficiently well-modelled by the blending effect alone. This is because the centroid shift induced by the source companion endures to considerable distances from the lens. Therefore, in determining the lens parameters from astrometric curves to be measured by future high-precision astrometric instruments, it will be important to take the full effect of the source companion into consideration. [source]

    OGLE observations of four X-ray binary pulsars in the Small Magellanic Cloud

    M. J. Coe
    This paper presents analysis and interpretation of OGLE photometric data of four X-ray binary pulsar systems in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC): 1WGA J0054.9-7226, RX J0050.7-7316, RX J0049.1-7250 and 1SAX J0103.2-7209. In each case, the probable optical counterpart is identified on the basis of its optical colours. In the case of RX J0050.7-7316 the regular modulation of its optical light curve appears to reveal an ellipsoidal modulation with a period of 1.416 d. Using reasonable masses for the neutron star and the B star, we show that the amplitude and relative depths of the minima of the I -band light curve of RX J0050.7-7316 can be matched with an ellipsoidal model where the B star nearly fills its Roche lobe. For mass ratios in the range of 0.12 to 0.20, the corresponding best-fitting inclinations are about 55 or larger. The neutron star would be eclipsed by the B star at inclinations larger than ,60 for this particular mass ratio range. Thus RX J0050.7-7316 is a good candidate system for further study. In particular, we would need additional photometry in several colours, and most importantly, radial velocity data for the B star before we could draw more quantitative conclusions about the component masses. [source]

    No visible optical variability from a relativistic blast wave encountering a wind termination shock

    H. J. Van Eerten
    ABSTRACT Gamma-ray burst afterglow flares and rebrightenings of the optical and X-ray light curves have been attributed to both late-time inner engine activity and density changes in the medium surrounding the burster. To test the latter, we study the encounter between the relativistic blast wave from a gamma-ray burster and a stellar wind termination shock. The blast wave is simulated using a high-performance adaptive mesh relativistic hydrodynamic code, amrvac, and the synchrotron emission is analysed in detail with a separate radiation code. We find no bump in the resulting light curve, not even for very high density jumps. Furthermore, by analysing the contributions from the different shock wave regions we are able to establish that it is essential to resolve the blast wave structure in order to make qualitatively correct predictions on the observed output and that the contribution from the reverse shock region will not stand out, even when the magnetic field is increased in this region by repeated shocks. This study resolves a controversy in the recent literature. [source]

    Discovery of a short orbital period in the Supergiant Fast X-ray Transient IGR J16479,4514

    Chetana Jain
    ABSTRACT We report here the discovery of a 3.32 d orbital period in the Supergiant Fast X-ray Transient (SFXT) source IGR J16479,4514. Using the long-term light curve of this source obtained with Swift Burst Alert Telescope (BAT) in the energy range of 15,50 keV, we have clearly detected an orbital modulation including a full eclipse of duration ,0.6 d. In the hard X-ray band of the BAT instrument, the eclipse ingress and egress are rapid. We have also used the long-term light curve obtained with the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) All Sky Monitor (ASM) in the energy range of 1.5,12 keV. Taken independently, the detection of orbital modulation in the RXTE,ASM light curve is not significant. However, considering a clear detection of orbital modulation in the BAT light curve, we have used the ASM light curve for a more precise determination of the orbital period. IGR J16479,4514 has the shortest orbital period among the three SFXTs with measured/known orbital period. We discuss the implication of a short orbital period with the various mechanisms proposed to explain the transient nature of this class of sources. [source]

    A method for the direct determination of the surface gravities of transiting extrasolar planets

    John Southworth
    ABSTRACT We show that the surface gravity of a transiting extrasolar planet can be calculated from only the spectroscopic orbit of its parent star and the analysis of its transit light curve. This does not require additional constraints, such as are often inferred from theoretical stellar models or model atmospheres. The surface gravity of the planet can therefore be measured precisely and from only directly observable quantities. We outline the method and apply it to the case of the first known transiting extrasolar planet, HD 209458b. We find a surface gravity of gp= 9.28 0.15 m s,2, which is an order of magnitude more precise than the best available measurements of its mass, radius and density. This confirms that the planet has a much lower surface gravity than that predicted by published theoretical models of gas giant planets. We apply our method to all 14 known transiting extrasolar planets and find a significant correlation between surface gravity and orbital period, which is related to the known correlation between mass and period. This correlation may be the underlying effect as surface gravity is a fundamental parameter in the evaporation of planetary atmospheres. [source]

    Soft gamma-ray repeater giant flares in the BATSE short gamma-ray burst catalogue: constraints from spectroscopy

    Davide Lazzati
    ABSTRACT The giant flare observed on 2004 December 27 from SGR 1806,20 has revived the idea that a fraction of short (<2 s) gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are due to giant flares from soft gamma-ray repeaters (SGRs) located in nearby galaxies. One of the distinguishing characteristics of these events is the thermal (blackbody) spectrum with temperatures ranging from ,50 to ,180 keV, with the highest temperature observed for the initial 0.2-s spike of the 2004 December 27 event. We have analysed the spectra of a complete sample of short GRBs with peak fluxes greater than 4 photon s,1 cm,2 detected by BATSE. Of the 115 short GRBs so selected, only 76 had sufficient signal-to-noise ratio to allow the spectral analysis. We find only three short GRBs with a spectrum well fitted by a blackbody, with 60 ,kT, 90 keV, albeit with a considerably longer duration (i.e. ,1 s) and a more complex light curve than the 2004 December 27 event. This implies a stringent limit on the rate of extragalactic SGR giant flares with spectral properties analogous to the December 27 flare. We conclude that up to 4 per cent of the short GRBs could be associated with giant flares (2, confidence). This implies that either the distance to SGR 1806,20 is smaller than 15 kpc or the rate of Galactic giant flares is lower than the estimated 0.033 yr,1. [source]

    Four-colour photometry of EY Dra: A study of an ultra-fast rotating active dM1-2e star

    K. Vida
    Abstract We present more than 1000-day long photometry of EY Draconis in BV (RI)C passbands. The changes in the light curve are caused by the spottedness of the rotating surface. Modelling of the spotted surface shows that there are two large active regions present on the star on the opposite hemispheres. The evolution of the surface patterns suggests a flip-flop phenomenon. Using Fourier analysis, we detect a rotation period of Prot = 0.45875 d, and an activity cycle with P , 350 d, similar to the 11-year long cycle of the Sun. This cycle with its year-long period is the shortest one ever detected on active stars. Two bright flares are also detected and analysed ( 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim) [source]