370 research outputs found

    A new approach to the solar oxygen abundance problem

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    In this work we present new data that sets strong constraints on the solar oxygen abundance. Our approach, based on the analysis of spectro-polarimetric observations, is almost model-independent and therefore extremely robust. The asymmetry of the Stokes V profile of the 6300 A [OI] and NiI blend is used as an indicator of the relative abundances of these two elements. The peculiar shape of the profile requires a value of EO = 730+/-100 ppm (parts per million), or logEO = 8.86+/-0.07 in the logarithmic scale commonly used in Astrophysics. The uncertainty range includes the model dependence as well as uncertainties in the oscillator strengths of the lines. We emphasize that the very low degree of model dependence in our analysis makes it very reliable compared to traditional determinations.Comment: Accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 12 pages, 3 figures, referee format. This is the replacement of a previous version of the paper. Our revised analysis takes into consideration the formation of molecules, resulting in a substantially larger value for the derived Oxygen abundanc

    The Solar Oxygen Abundance from an Empirical Three-Dimensional Model

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    The Oxygen abundance in the solar photosphere, and consequently the solar metallicity itself, is still a controversial issue with far-reaching implications in many areas of Astrophysics. This paper presents a new determination obtained by fitting the forbidden OI line at 6300 A with an observational 3D model. The approach presented here is novel because previous determinations were based either on 1D empirical stratifications or on 3D theoretical models. The resulting best-fit abundances are lg E(O)=8.90 and lg E(Ni)=6.15. Nevertheless, introducing minor tweaks in the model and the procedure, it is possible to retrieve very different values, even down to lg E(O)=8.70. This extreme sensitivity of the abundance to possible systematic effects is not something specific to this particular work but probably reflects the real uncertainty inherent to all abundance determinations based on a prescribed model atmosphere.Comment: Submitted to A&

    The Three-Dimensional Structure of a Sunspot Magnetic Field

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    Here we report on observations of the three-dimensional structure of a sunspot magnetic field from the photosphere to the chromosphere, obtained with the new visible/infrared spectro-polarimeter SPINOR. The observations, interpreted with a non-LTE modeling technique, reveal a surprisingly complex topology with areas of opposite-sign torsion, suggesting that flux-ropes of opposite helicities may coexist together in the same spot.Comment: To appear in the Astrophysical Journal Letter

    Polarimetric Calibration of Large-Aperture Telescopes II: The sub-aperture method

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    A new method for absolute polarimetric calibration of large telescopes is presented. The proposed method is highly accurate and is based on the calibration of a small sub-aperture, which is then extended to the full system by means of actual observations of an astronomical source. The calibration procedure is described in detail along with numerical simulations that explore its robustness and accuracy. The advantages and disadvantages of this technique with respect to other possible alternatives are discussed.Comment: Journal of the Optical Society of America-A, submitte

    Polarimetric Calibration of Large-Aperture Telescopes I: The Beam-Expansion Method

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    This paper describes a concept for the high-accuracy absolute calibration of the instrumental polarization introduced by the primary mirror of a large-aperture telescope. This procedure requires a small aperture with polarization calibration optics (e.g., mounted on the dome) followed by a lens that opens the beam to illuminate the entire surface of the mirror. The Jones matrix corresponding to this calibration setup (with a diverging incident beam) is related to that of the normal observing setup (with a collimated incident beam) by an approximate correction term. Numerical models of parabolic on-axis and off-axis mirrors with surface imperfections are used to explore its accuracy.Comment: Journal of the Optical Society of America-A, in pres

    Can a negative-mass cosmology explain dark matter and dark energy?

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    A recent study by Farnes (2018) proposed an alternative cosmological model in which both dark matter and dark energy are replaced with a single fluid of negative mass. This paper presents a critical review of that model. A number of problems and discrepancies with observations are identified. For instance, the predicted shape and density of galactic dark matter halos are incorrect. Also, halos would need to be less massive than the baryonic component otherwise they would become gravitationally unstable. Perhaps the most challenging problem in this theory is the presence of a large-scale version of the `runaway' effect, which would result in all galaxies moving in random directions at nearly the speed of light. Other more general issues regarding negative mass in general relativity are discussed, such as the possibility of time-travel paradoxes.Comment: Accepted for publication in A&

    Milne-Eddington inversions of the He I 10830 {\AA} Stokes profiles: Influence of the Paschen-Back effect

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    The Paschen-Back effect influences the Zeeman sublevels of the He I multiplet at 10830 {\AA}, leading to changes in strength and in position of the Zeeman components of these lines. We illustrate the relevance of this effect using synthetic Stokes profiles of the He I 10830 {\AA} multiplet lines and investigate its influence on the inversion of polarimetric data. We invert data obtained with the Tenerife Infrared Polarimeter (TIP) at the German Vacuum Tower Telescope (VTT). We compare the results of inversions based on synthetic profiles calculated with and without the Paschen-Back effect being included. We find that when taking into account the incomplete Paschen-Back effect, on average 16% higher field strength values are obtained. We also show that this effect is not the main cause for the area asymmetry exhibited by many He I 10830 Stokes V-profiles. This points to the importance of velocity and magnetic field gradients over the formation height range of these lines.Comment: Accepted for publication in A&A on Jun 12th 200
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