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Number 1, 2015 January 1 (L1-L26)
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These are the latest articles published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Erik J. Tollerud et al. 2015 ApJ 798 L21
We report the discovery of two dwarf galaxies, Pisces A and B, from a blind 21 cm H I search. These were the only two galaxies found via optical imaging and spectroscopy of 22 H I clouds identified in the GALFA-H I survey as dwarf galaxy candidates. They have properties consistent with being in the Local Volume (<10 Mpc), and one has resolved stellar populations such that it may be on the outer edge of the Local Group (~1 Mpc from M31). While the distance uncertainty makes interpretation ambiguous, these may be among the faintest star-forming galaxies known. Additionally, rough estimates comparing these galaxies to ΛCDM dark matter simulations suggest consistency in number density, implying that the dark matter halos likely to host these galaxies are primarily H I-rich. The galaxies may thus be indicative of a large population of dwarfs at the limit of detectability that are comparable to the faint satellites of the Local Group. Because they are outside the influence of a large dark matter halo to alter their evolution, these galaxies can provide critical anchors to dwarf galaxy formation models.
Youhei Masada et al. 2015 ApJ 798 L22
Magnetorotational instability (MRI) in a convectively stable layer around the neutrinosphere is simulated by a three-dimensional model of a supernova core. To resolve MRI-unstable modes, a thin layer approximation considering only the radial global stratification is adopted. Our intriguing finding is that the convectively stable layer around the neutrinosphere becomes fully turbulent due to the MRI and its nonlinear penetration into the strongly stratified MRI-stable region. The intensity of the MRI-driven turbulence increases with magnetic flux threading the core, but is limited by the free energy stored in the differential rotation. The turbulent neutrinosphere is a natural consequence of rotating core-collapse and could exert a positive impact on the supernova mechanism.
Adam L. Kraus et al. 2015 ApJ 798 L23
We present ALMA observations of the FW Tau system, a close binary pair of M5 stars with a wide-orbit (300 AU projected separation) substellar companion. The companion is extremely faint and red in the optical and near-infrared, but boasts a weak far-infrared excess and optical/near-infrared emission lines indicative of a primordial accretion disk of gas and dust. The component-resolved 1.3 mm continuum emission is found to be associated only with the companion, with a flux (1.78 ± 0.03 mJy) that indicates a dust mass of 1-2 M ⊕. While this mass reservoir is insufficient to form a giant planet, it is more than sufficient to produce an analog of the Kepler-42 exoplanetary system or the Galilean satellites. The mass and geometry of the disk-bearing FW Tau companion remains unclear. Near-infrared spectroscopy shows deep water bands that indicate a spectral type later than M5, but substantial veiling prevents a more accurate determination of the effective temperature (and hence mass). Both a disk-bearing "planetary-mass" companion seen in direct light or a brown dwarf tertiary viewed in light scattered by an edge-on disk or envelope remain possibilities.
Tushar Mittal and Eugene Chiang 2015 ApJ 798 L25
The brightest transitional protoplanetary disks are often azimuthally asymmetric: their millimeter-wave thermal emission peaks strongly on one side. Dust overdensities can exceed ~100:1, while gas densities vary by factors less than a few. We propose that these remarkable ALMA observations—which may bear on how planetesimals form—reflect a gravitational global mode in the gas disk. The mode is (1) fast—its pattern speed equals the disk's mean Keplerian frequency; (2) of azimuthal wavenumber m = 1, displacing the host star from the barycenter; and (3) Toomre-stable. We solve for gas streamlines including the indirect stellar potential in the frame rotating with the pattern speed, under the drastic simplification that gas does not feel its own gravity. Near corotation, the gas disk takes the form of a horseshoe-shaped annulus. Dust particles with aerodynamic stopping times much shorter or much longer than the orbital period are dragged by gas toward the horseshoe center. For intermediate stopping times, dust converges toward a ~45° wide arc on the corotation circle. Particles that do not reach their final accumulation points within disk lifetimes, either because of gas turbulence or long particle drift times, conform to horseshoe-shaped gas streamlines. Our mode is not self-consistent because we neglect gas self-gravity; still, we expect that trends between accumulation location and particle size, similar to those we have found, are generically predicted by fast modes and are potentially observable. Unlike vortices, global modes are not restricted in radial width to the pressure scale height; their large radial and azimuthal extents may better match observations.
S. Torres-Flores et al. 2015 ApJ 798 L24
We present for the first time direct evidence that in a merger of disk galaxies, the pre-existing central metallicities will mix as a result of gas being transported in the merger interface region along the line that joins the two coalescing nuclei. This is shown using detailed two-dimensional kinematics as well as metallicity measurements for the nearby ongoing merger in the center of the compact group HCG 31. We focus on the emission line gas, which is extensive in the system. The two coalescing cores display similar oxygen abundances. While in between the two nuclei, the metallicity changes smoothly from one nucleus to the other indicating a mix of metals in this region, which is confirmed by the high-resolution Hα kinematics ( R = 45,900). This nearby system is especially important because it involves the merging of two fairly low-mass and clumpy galaxies (LMC-like galaxies), making it an important system for comparison with high-redshift galaxies.