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Number 1, 2014 September 20 (L1-L3)
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These are the latest articles published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Pedro Lacerda et al. 2014 ApJ 793 L2
We analyze albedo data obtained using the Herschel Space Observatory that reveal the existence of two distinct types of surface among midsized trans-Neptunian objects. A color-albedo diagram shows two large clusters of objects, one redder and higher albedo and another darker and more neutrally colored. Crucially, all objects in our sample located in dynamically stable orbits within the classical Kuiper Belt region and beyond are confined to the bright red group, implying a compositional link. Those objects are believed to have formed further from the Sun than the dark neutral bodies. This color-albedo separation is evidence for a compositional discontinuity in the young solar system.
Francesca Valsecchi et al. 2014 ApJ 793 L3
Through tidal dissipation in a slowly spinning host star, the orbits of many hot Jupiters may decay down to the Roche limit. We expect that the ensuing mass transfer will be stable in most cases. Using detailed numerical calculations, we find that this evolution is quite rapid, potentially leading to the complete removal of the gaseous envelope in a few gigayears, and leaving behind an exposed rocky core (a "hot super-Earth"). Final orbital periods are quite sensitive to the details of the planet's mass-radius relation and to the effects of irradiation and photo-evaporation, but could be as short as a few hours or as long as several days. Our scenario predicts the existence of planets with intermediate masses ("hot Neptunes") that should be found precisely at their Roche limit and in the process of losing mass through Roche lobe overflow. The observed excess of small single-planet candidate systems observed by Kepler may also be the result of this process. If so, the properties of their host stars should track those of the hot Jupiters. Moreover, the number of systems that produced hot Jupiters could be two to three times larger than one would infer from contemporary observations.
A. Sandrinelli et al. 2014 ApJ 793 L1
We have searched for periodicities in our VRIJHK photometry of PKS 2155–304, which covers the years 2005-2012. A peak of the Fourier spectrum with high significance is found at T ~ 315 days, confirming the recent findings by Zhang et al. The examination of the gamma-ray light curves from the Fermi archives yields a significant signal at ~2 T, which, while nominally significant, involves data spanning only ~6 T. Assuming a black hole mass of 10 9 M ☉, the Keplerian distance corresponding to the quasi-period T is ~10 16 cm, about 50 Schwarzschild radii.
Christopher S. Reynolds et al. 2014 ApJ 792 L41
We present a deep Suzaku observation of H1821+643, an extremely rare example of a powerful quasar hosted by the central massive galaxy of a rich cooling-core cluster of galaxies. Informed by previous Chandra studies of the cluster, we achieve a spectral separation of emission from the active galactic nucleus (AGN) and the intracluster medium (ICM). With a high degree of confidence, we identify the signatures of X-ray reflection/reprocessing by cold and slowly moving material in the AGN's immediate environment. The iron abundance of this matter is found to be significantly sub-solar ( Z 0.4 Z ☉), an unusual finding for powerful AGN but in line with the idea that this quasar is feeding from the ICM via a Compton-induced cooling flow. We also find a subtle soft excess that can be described phenomenologically (with an additional blackbody component) or as ionized X-ray reflection from the inner regions of a high inclination ( i 57°) accretion disk around a spinning ( a > 0.4) black hole. We describe how the ionization state of the accretion disk can be used to constrain the Eddington fraction of the source. Applying these arguments to our spectrum implies an Eddington fraction of 0.25-0.5, with an associated black hole mass of .
H. Q. Song et al. 2014 ApJ 792 L40
Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are the most spectacular eruptive phenomena in the solar atmosphere. It is generally accepted that CMEs are the results of eruptions of magnetic flux ropes (MFRs). However, there is heated debate on whether MFRs exist prior to the eruptions or if they are formed during the eruptions. Several coronal signatures, e.g., filaments, coronal cavities, sigmoid structures, and hot channels (or hot blobs), are proposed as MFRs and observed before the eruption, which support the pre-existing MFR scenario. There is almost no reported observation of MFR formation during the eruption. In this Letter, we present an intriguing observation of a solar eruptive event that occurred on 2013 November 21 with the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly on board the Solar Dynamic Observatory, which shows the formation process of the MFR during the eruption in detail. The process began with the expansion of a low-lying coronal arcade, possibly caused by the flare magnetic reconnection underneath. The newly formed ascending loops from below further pushed the arcade upward, stretching the surrounding magnetic field. The arcade and stretched magnetic field lines then curved in just below the arcade vertex, forming an X-point. The field lines near the X-point continued to approach each other and a second magnetic reconnection was induced. It is this high-lying magnetic reconnection that led to the formation and eruption of a hot blob (~10 MK), presumably an MFR, producing a CME. We suggest that two spatially separated magnetic reconnections occurred in this event, which were responsible for producing the flare and the hot blob (CME).