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Number 1, 2014 October 10 (L1-L2)
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These are the latest articles published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
A. Kilcik et al. 2014 ApJ 794 L2
Here, we analyze different sunspot group (SG) behaviors from the points of view of both the sunspot counts (SSCs) and the number of SGs, in four categories, for the time period of 1982 January-2014 May. These categories include data from simple (A and B), medium (C), large (D, E, and F), and decaying (H) SGs. We investigate temporal variations of all data sets used in this study and find the following results. (1) There is a very significant decrease in the large groups' SSCs and the number of SGs in solar cycle 24 (cycle 24) compared to cycles 21-23. (2) There is no strong variation in the decaying groups' data sets for the entire investigated time interval. (3) Medium group data show a gradual decrease for the last three cycles. (4) A significant decrease occurred in the small groups during solar cycle 23, while no strong changes show in the current cycle (cycle 24) compared to the previous ones. We confirm that the temporal behavior of all categories is quite different from cycle to cycle and it is especially flagrant in solar cycle 24. Thus, we argue that the reduced absolute number of the large SGs is largely, if not solely, responsible for the weak cycle 24. These results might be important for long-term space weather predictions to understand the rate of formation of different groups of sunspots during a solar cycle and the possible consequences for the long-term geomagnetic activity.
A. Abramowski et al. 2014 ApJ 794 L1
This Letter reports the discovery of a remarkably hard spectrum source, HESS J1641–463, by the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.) in the very high energy (VHE) domain. HESS J1641–463 remained unnoticed by the usual analysis techniques due to confusion with the bright nearby source HESS J1640–465. It emerged at a significance level of 8.5 standard deviations after restricting the analysis to events with energies above 4 TeV. It shows a moderate flux level of ( E>1 TeV) = (3.64 ± 0.44 stat ± 0.73 sys) × 10 –13 cm –2 s –1, corresponding to 1.8% of the Crab Nebula flux above the same energy, and a hard spectrum with a photon index of Γ = 2.07 ± 0.11 stat ± 0.20 sys. It is a point-like source, although an extension up to a Gaussian width of σ = 3 arcmin cannot be discounted due to uncertainties in the H.E.S.S. point-spread function. The VHE γ-ray flux of HESS J1641–463 is found to be constant over the observed period when checking time binnings from the year-by-year to the 28 minute exposure timescales. HESS J1641–463 is positionally coincident with the radio supernova remnant SNR G338.5+0.1. No X-ray candidate stands out as a clear association; however, Chandra and XMM- Newton data reveal some potential weak counterparts. Various VHE γ-ray production scenarios are discussed. If the emission from HESS J1641–463 is produced by cosmic ray protons colliding with the ambient gas, then their spectrum must extend close to 1 PeV. This object may represent a source population contributing significantly to the galactic cosmic ray flux around the knee.
Ying D. Liu et al. 2014 ApJ 793 L41
On 2012 September 30-October 1 the Earth underwent a two-step geomagnetic storm. We examine the Sun-to-Earth characteristics of the coronal mass ejections (CMEs) responsible for the geomagnetic storm with combined heliospheric imaging and in situ observations. The first CME, which occurred on 2012 September 25, is a slow event and shows an acceleration followed by a nearly invariant speed in the whole Sun-Earth space. The second event, launched from the Sun on 2012 September 27, exhibits a quick acceleration, then a rapid deceleration, and finally a nearly constant speed, a typical Sun-to-Earth propagation profile for fast CMEs. These two CMEs interacted near 1 AU as predicted by the heliospheric imaging observations and formed a complex ejecta observed at Wind, with a shock inside that enhanced the pre-existing southward magnetic field. Reconstruction of the complex ejecta with the in situ data indicates an overall left-handed flux-rope-like configuration with an embedded concave-outward shock front, a maximum magnetic field strength deviating from the flux rope axis, and convex-outward field lines ahead of the shock. While the reconstruction results are consistent with the picture of CME-CME interactions, a magnetic cloud-like structure without clear signs of CME interactions is anticipated when the merging process is finished.
M. E. Brown and A. R. Rhoden 2014 ApJ 793 L44
We present a medium resolution spectrum of Jupiter's irregular satellite Himalia covering the critical 3 μm spectral region. The spectrum shows no evidence for aqueously altered phyllosilicates, as had been suggested from the tentative detection of a 0.7 μm absorption, but instead shows a spectrum strikingly similar to the C/CF type asteroid 52 Europa. 52 Europa is the prototype of a class of asteroids generally situated in the outer asteroid belt between less distant asteroids which show evidence for aqueous alteration and more distant asteroids which show evidence for water ice. The spectral match between Himalia and this group of asteroids is surprising and difficult to reconcile with models of the origin of the irregular satellites.
A. Bowden et al. 2014 ApJ 793 L42
We demonstrate that the asymmetric distribution of M31 satellites cannot be produced by tides from the Milky Way as such effects are too weak. However, loosely bound associations and groups of satellites can fall into larger halos and give rise to asymmetries. We compute the survival times for such associations. We prove that the survival time is always shortest in Keplerian potentials, and can be ~3 times longer in logarithmic potentials. We provide an analytical formula for the dispersal time in terms of the size and velocity dispersion of the infalling structure. We show that, if an association of ~10 dwarfs fell into the M31 halo, its present aspect would be that of an asymmetric disk of satellites. We also discuss the case of cold substructure in the Andromeda II and Ursa Minor dwarfs.