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Number 1, 2015 March 1 (L1-L17)
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These are the latest articles published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
S. D. Loch et al. 2015 ApJ 801 L13
Recent measurements using an X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL) and an Electron Beam Ion Trap at the Linac Coherent Light Source facility highlighted large discrepancies between the observed and theoretical values for the Fe xvii 3C/3D line intensity ratio. This result raised the question of whether the theoretical oscillator strengths may be significantly in error, due to insufficiencies in the atomic structure calculations. We present time-dependent spectral modeling of this experiment and show that non-equilibrium effects can dramatically reduce the predicted 3C/3D line intensity ratio, compared with that obtained by simply taking the ratio of oscillator strengths. Once these non-equilibrium effects are accounted for, the measured line intensity ratio can be used to determine a revised value for the 3C/3D oscillator strength ratio, giving a range from 3.0 to 3.5. We also provide a framework to narrow this range further, if more precise information about the pulse parameters can be determined. We discuss the implications of the new results for the use of Fe xvii spectral features as astrophysical diagnostics and investigate the importance of time-dependent effects in interpreting XFEL-excited plasmas.
A. Luspay-Kuti et al. 2015 ApJ 801 L14
The significant variations in both measured and modeled densities of minor species in Titan’s atmosphere call for the evaluation of possible influencing factors in photochemical modeling. The effect of nitrogen photoabsorption cross section selection on the modeled vertical profiles of minor species is analyzed here, with particular focus on C 2H 6 and HCN. Our results show a clear impact of cross sections used on all neutral and ion species studied. Affected species include neutrals and ions that are not primary photochemical products, including species that do not even contain nitrogen. The results indicate that photochemical models that employ low-resolution cross sections may significantly miscalculate the vertical profiles of minor species. Such differences are expected to have important implications for Titan’s overall atmospheric structure and chemistry.
Louis E. Abramson et al. 2015 ApJ 801 L12
We show that a model consisting of individual, log-normal star formation histories for a volume-limited sample of z ≈ 0 galaxies reproduces the evolution of the total and quiescent stellar mass functions at z ≲ 2.5 and stellar masses . This model has previously been shown to reproduce the star formation rate/stellar mass relation (SFR– ) over the same interval, is fully consistent with the observed evolution of the cosmic SFR density at , and entails no explicit “quenching” prescription. We interpret these results/features in the context of other models demonstrating a similar ability to reproduce the evolution of (1) the cosmic SFR density, (2) the total/quiescent stellar mass functions, and (3) the – relation, proposing that the key difference between modeling approaches is the extent to which they stress/address diversity in the (star-forming) galaxy population. Finally, we suggest that observations revealing the timescale associated with dispersion in will help establish which models are the most relevant to galaxy evolution.
Andrey Beresnyak 2015 ApJ 801 L9
Anisotropy of MHD turbulence has been studied extensively for many years, most prominently by measurements in the solar wind and high-resolution simulations. The spectrum parallel to the local magnetic field was observed to be steeper than the perpendicular spectrum, typically , consistent with the widely accepted Goldreich & Sridhar model. In this Letter, I looked deeper into the nature of the relation between parallel and perpendicular spectra and argue that this scaling has the same origin as the scaling of the Lagrangian frequency spectrum in strong hydrodynamic turbulence. This follows from the fact that Alfvén waves propagate along magnetic field lines. It has now became clear that the observed anisotropy can be argued without invocation of the “critical balance” argument and is more robust that was previously thought. The relation between parallel (Lagrangian) and perpendicular (Eulerian) spectra is an inevitable consequence of strong turbulence of Alfvén waves, rather than a conjecture based on the uncertainty relation. I tested this using high-resolution simulations of MHD turbulence, in particular, I verified that the cutoff of the parallel spectrum scales as a Kolmogorov timescale, not lengthscale.
Johanna K. Teske et al. 2015 ApJ 801 L10
The chemical composition of exoplanet host stars is an important factor in understanding the formation and characteristics of their orbiting planets. The best example of this to date is the planet–metallicity correlation. Other proposed correlations are thus far less robust, in part due to uncertainty in the chemical history of stars pre- and post-planet formation. Binary host stars of similar type present an opportunity to isolate the effects of planets on host star abundances. Here we present a differential elemental abundance analysis of the XO-2 stellar binary, in which both G9 stars host giant planets, one of which is transiting. Building on our previous work, we report 16 elemental abundances and compare the Δ(XO-2N–XO-S) values to elemental condensation temperatures. The Δ values and slopes with condensation temperature resulting from four different pairs of stellar parameters are compared to explore the effects of changing the relative temperature and gravity of the stars. We find that most of the abundance differences between the stars depend on the chosen stellar parameters, but that Fe, Si, and potentially Ni are consistently enhanced in XO-2N regardless of the chosen stellar parameters. This study emphasizes the power of binary host star abundance analysis for probing the effects of giant planet formation, but also illustrates the potentially large uncertainties in abundance differences and slopes induced by changes in stellar temperature and gravity.