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Information Content in the Galaxy Angular Power Spectrum from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and Its I Jul. 12th, 2008 @ 11:41 pm

Information Content in the Galaxy Angular Power Spectrum from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and Its Implication on Weak Lensing Analysis. (arXiv:0807.1538v1 [astro-ph])

We analyze the photometric redshift catalog of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 5 (SDSS DR5) to estimate the Fisher information in the galaxy angular power spectrum with the help of the Rimes-Hamilton technique. It is found that the amount of Fisher information contained in the galaxy angular power spectrum is saturated at lensing multipole scale 300<= l <= 2000 in the redshift range 0.1<= photo-z <0.5. At l=2000, the observed information is two orders of magnitude lower than the case of Gaussian fluctuations. This supports observationally that the translinear regime of the density power spectrum contains little independent information about the initial cosmological conditions, which is consistent with the numerical trend shown by Rimes-Hamilton. Our results also suggest that the Gaussian-noise description may not be valid in weak lensing measurements.


read more at astro-ph updates on arXiv.org

The Host Galaxy and Central Engine of the Dwarf AGN POX 52. (arXiv:0807.1535v1 [astro-ph]) Jul. 12th, 2008 @ 11:41 pm

The Host Galaxy and Central Engine of the Dwarf AGN POX 52. (arXiv:0807.1535v1 [astro-ph])

We present new multi-wavelength observations of the dwarf Seyfert 1 galaxy POX 52 in order to investigate the properties of the host galaxy and the active nucleus, and to examine the mass of its black hole, previously estimated to be ~ 10^5 M_sun. Hubble Space Telescope ACS/HRC images show that the host galaxy has a dwarf elliptical morphology (M_I = -18.4 mag, Sersic index n = 4.3) with no detected disk component or spiral structure, confirming previous results from ground-based imaging. X-ray observations from both Chandra and XMM show strong (factor of 2) variability over timescales as short as 500 s, as well as a dramatic decrease in the absorbing column density over a 9 month period. We attribute this change to a partial covering absorber, with a 94% covering fraction and N_H = 58^{+8.4}_{-9.2} * 10^21 cm^-2, that moved out of the line of sight in between the XMM and Chandra observations. Combining these data with observations from the VLA, Spitzer, and archival data from 2MASS and GALEX, we examine the spectral energy distribution (SED) of the active nucleus. Its shape is broadly similar to typical radio-quiet quasar SEDs, despite the very low bolometric luminosity of L_bol = 1.3 * 10^43 ergs/s. Finally, we compare black hole mass estimators including methods based on X-ray variability, and optical scaling relations using the broad H-beta line width and AGN continuum luminosity, finding a range of black hole mass from all methods to be M_bh = (2.2-4.2) * 10^5 M_sun, with an Eddington ratio of L_bol/L_edd = 0.2-0.5.


read more at astro-ph updates on arXiv.org

EAZY: A Fast, Public Photometric Redshift Code. (arXiv:0807.1533v1 [astro-ph]) Jul. 12th, 2008 @ 11:41 pm

EAZY: A Fast, Public Photometric Redshift Code. (arXiv:0807.1533v1 [astro-ph])

We describe a new program for determining photometric redshifts, dubbed EAZY. The program is optimized for cases where spectroscopic redshifts are not available, or only available for a biased subset of the galaxies. The code combines features from various existing codes: it can fit linear combinations of templates, it includes optional flux- and redshift-based priors, and its user interface is modeled on the popular HYPERZ code. A novel feature is that the default template set, as well as the default functional forms of the priors, are not based on (usually highly biased) spectroscopic samples, but on semi-analytical models. Furthermore, template mismatch is addressed by a novel rest-frame template error function. This function gives different wavelength regions different weights, and ensures that the formal redshift uncertainties are realistic. We introduce a redshift quality parameter, Q_z, that provides a robust estimate of the reliability of the photometric redshift estimate. Despite the fact that EAZY is not "trained" on spectroscopic samples, the code (with default parameters) performs very well on existing public datasets. For K-selected samples in CDF-South and other deep fields we find a 1-sigma scatter in dz/(1+z) of 0.034, and we provide updated photometric redshift catalogs for the FIRES, MUSYC, and FIREWORKS surveys.


read more at astro-ph updates on arXiv.org

A Radio and Optical Polarization Study of the Magnetic Field in the Small Magellanic Cloud. (arXiv:0 Jul. 12th, 2008 @ 11:41 pm

A Radio and Optical Polarization Study of the Magnetic Field in the Small Magellanic Cloud. (arXiv:0807.1532v1 [astro-ph])

We present a study of the magnetic field of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), carried out using radio Faraday rotation and optical starlight polarization data. Consistent negative rotation measures (RMs) across the SMC indicate that the line-of-sight magnetic field is directed uniformly away from us with a strength 0.19 +/- 0.06 microGauss. Applying the Chandrasekhar-Fermi method to starlight polarization data yields an ordered magnetic field in the plane of the sky of strength 1.6 +/- 0.4 microGauss oriented at a position angle 4 +/- 12 degs, measured counter-clockwise from the great circle on the sky joining the SMC to the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). We construct a three-dimensional magnetic field model of the SMC, under the assumption that the RMs and starlight polarization probe the same underlying large-scale field. The vector defining the overall orientation of the SMC magnetic field shows a potential alignment with the vector joining the center of the SMC to the center of the LMC, suggesting the possibility of a "pan-Magellanic'' magnetic field. A cosmic-ray driven dynamo is the most viable explanation of the observed field geometry, but has difficulties accounting for the observed uni-directional field lines. A study of Faraday rotation through the Magellanic Bridge is needed to further test the pan-Magellanic field hypothesis.


read more at astro-ph updates on arXiv.org

Is the Gini coefficient a stable measure of galaxy structure?. (arXiv:0807.1531v1 [astro-ph]) Jul. 12th, 2008 @ 11:41 pm

Is the Gini coefficient a stable measure of galaxy structure?. (arXiv:0807.1531v1 [astro-ph])

The Gini coefficient, a non-parametric measure of galaxy morphology, has recently taken up an important role in the automated identification of galaxy mergers. I present a critical assessment of its stability, based on a comparison of HST/ACS imaging data from the GOODS and UDF surveys. Below a certain signal-to-noise level, the Gini coefficient depends strongly on the signal-to-noise ratio, and thus becomes useless for distinguishing different galaxy morphologies. Moreover, at all signal-to-noise levels the Gini coefficient shows a strong dependence on the choice of aperture within which it is measured. Consequently, quantitative selection criteria involving the Gini coefficient, such as a selection of merger candidates, cannot always be straightforwardly applied to different datasets. I discuss whether these effects could have affected previous studies that were based on the Gini coefficient, and establish signal-to-noise limits above which measured Gini values can be considered reliable.


read more at astro-ph updates on arXiv.org
Other entries
» Determination of stellar, orbital and planetary parameters using complete Monte-Carlo analysis -- th

Determination of stellar, orbital and planetary parameters using complete Monte-Carlo analysis -- the case of HAT-P-7b. (arXiv:0807.1530v1 [astro-ph])

The recently discovered transiting very hot Jupiter, HAT-P-7b, a planet detected by the telescopes of HATNet, turned out to be among the ones subjected to the highest irradiation from the parent star. As known, the combination of photometric and spectroscopic data for such an object yields the stellar, orbital and planetary parameters. In order to best characterize this particular planet, we carried out a complex analysis based on a complete and simultaneous Monte-Carlo solution using all available data. We included the discovery light curves, partial follow-up light curves, the radial velocity data, and we used the stellar evolution models to infer the stellar properties. This self-consistent way of modeling provides the most precise estimate of the a posteriori distributions of all of the system parameters of interest, and avoids making assumptions on the values and uncertainties of any of the internally derived variables describing the system. This analysis demonstrates that even partial light curve information can be valuable. This may become very important for future discoveries of planets with longer periods -- and therefore longer transit durations -- where the chance of observing a full event is small.


read more at astro-ph updates on arXiv.org
» Rapid optical and X-ray timing observations of GX 339-4: flux correlations at the onset of a low/har

Rapid optical and X-ray timing observations of GX 339-4: flux correlations at the onset of a low/hard state. (arXiv:0807.1529v1 [astro-ph])

We present the discovery of optical/X-ray flux correlations on rapid timescales in the low/hard state of the Galactic black hole GX 339-4. The source had recently emerged from outburst and was associated with a relatively-faint counterpart with mag V~17. The optical (VLT/ULTRACAM) and X-ray (RXTE/PCA) data show a clear positive cross-correlation function (CCF) signal, with the optical peak lagging X-rays by ~ 150 ms, preceded by a shallow rise and followed by a steep decline along with broad anti-correlation dips. Examination of the light curves shows that the main CCF features are reproduced in superpositions of flares and dips. The CCF peak is narrow and the X-ray auto-correlation function (ACF) is broader than the optical ACF, arguing against reprocessing as the origin for the rapid optical emission. X-ray flaring is associated with spectral hardening, but no corresponding changes are detected around optical peaks and dips. The variability may be explained in the context of synchrotron emission with interaction between a jet and a corona. The complex CCF structure in GX 339-4 has similarities to that of another remarkable X-ray binary XTE J1118+480, in spite of showing a weaker maximum strength. Such simultaneous multi-wavelength, rapid timing studies provide key constraints for modeling the inner regions of accreting stellar sources.


read more at astro-ph updates on arXiv.org
» Near-IR Spectrograph for VSI (VLTI Spectro Imager): dispersing the light from an integrated optics b

Near-IR Spectrograph for VSI (VLTI Spectro Imager): dispersing the light from an integrated optics beam-combiner. (arXiv:0807.1617v1 [astro-ph])

We present the optical and cryo-mechanical solutions for the Spectrograph of VSI (VLTI Spectro-Imager), the second generation near-infrared (J, H and K bands) interferometric instrument for the VLTI. The peculiarity of this spectrograph is represented by the Integrated Optics (IO) beam-combiner, a small and delicate component which is located inside the cryostat and makes VSI capable to coherently combine 4, 6 or even 8 telescopes. The optics have been specifically designed to match the IO combiner output with the IR detector still preserving the needed spatial and spectral sampling, as well as the required fringe spacing. A compact device that allows us to interchange spectral resolutions (from R=200 to R=12000), is also presented.


read more at astro-ph updates on arXiv.org
» Magnetic field distribution in the quiet Sun: a reduced model approach. (arXiv:0807.1625v1 [astro-ph

Magnetic field distribution in the quiet Sun: a reduced model approach. (arXiv:0807.1625v1 [astro-ph])

We simulate the dynamics and the evolution of quiet Sun magnetic elements to produce a probability density function of the field strengths associated with such elements. The dynamics of the magnetic field are simulated through a numerical model in which magnetic elements are passively driven by an advection field presenting spatio-temporal correlations which mimicks the granulation and the mesogranulation scales observed on the solar surface. The field strength can increase due to an amplification process which takes place where the magnetic elements converge. Starting from a delta-like probability density function centered on B=30 G, we obtain magnetic field strengths up to 2 kG (in absolute value). To derive the statistical properties of the magnetic elements several simulation runs are performed. The model is able to produce kG magnetic fields in a time interval of the order of the granulation time scale. The mean unsigned flux density and the mean magnetic energy density of the synthetic quiet Sun reach respectively 100 G and 350 G in the stationary regime. The derived probability density function of the magnetic field strength decreases rapidly from B=30 G to B=100 G and presents a secondary maximum for B=2 kG. From this result it follows that magnetic fields >700 G dominate the unsigned flux density and magnetic energy density although the probability density function of the field strength presents a maximum for B=30 G.


read more at astro-ph updates on arXiv.org
» Stability and mode analysis of solar coronal loops using thermodynamic irreversible energy principle

Stability and mode analysis of solar coronal loops using thermodynamic irreversible energy principles II. Modes in twisted non--isothermal magnetic field configurations. (arXiv:0807.1722v1 [astro-ph])

We study the stability and the modes of non -- isothermal coronal loop models with different intensity values of the equilibrium twisted magnetic field.We use an energy principle obtained via non -- equilibrium thermodynamic arguments. The principle is expressed in terms of Hermitian operators and allows to consider together the coupled system of equations: the balance of energy equation and the equation of motion, to obtain modes and eigenmodes in a spectrum ranging from short to long--wavelength disturbances without having to use weak varying approximations of the equilibrium parameters. Long--wavelength perturbations introduce additional difficulties because the inhomogeneous nature of the medium determines disturbances leading to continuous intervals of eigenfrequencies which cannot be considered as purely sinusoidal.We analyze the modification of periods, modes structure and stability when the helicity, the magnetic field strength and the radius of the fluxtube are varied. The efficiency of the damping due to the resonant absorption mechanism is analyzed in a context of modes that can either impulsively release or storage magnetic energy.We find that the onset of the instability is associated to a critical value of the helicity and that the magnetic energy content has a determinant role on the instability of the system with respect to the stabilizing effect of the resonant absorption mechanism.


read more at astro-ph updates on arXiv.org
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