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  1. Abstract

    We present Firefly, a new browser-based interactive tool for visualizing 3D particle data sets. On a typical personal computer, Firefly can simultaneously render and enable real-time interactions with ≳10 million particles, and can interactively explore data sets with billions of particles using the included custom-built octree render engine. Once created, viewing a Firefly visualization requires no installation and is immediately usable in most modern internet browsers simply by visiting a URL. As a result, a Firefly visualization works out-of-the-box on most devices including smartphones and tablets. Firefly is primarily developed for researchers to explore their own data, but can also be useful to communicate results to researchers and/or collaborators and as an effective public outreach tool. Every element of the user interface can be customized and disabled, enabling easy adaptation of the same visualization for different audiences with little additional effort. Creating a new Firefly visualization is simple with the provided Python data preprocessor that translates input data to a Firefly-compatible format and provides helpful methods for hosting instances of Firefly both locally and on the internet. In addition to visualizing the positions of particles, users can visualize vector fields (e.g., velocities) and also filter and color points bymore »scalar fields. We share three examples of Firefly applied to astronomical data sets: (1) the FIRE cosmological zoom-in simulations, (2) the SDSS galaxy catalog, and (3) Gaia Data Release 3. A gallery of additional interactive demos is available

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  2. Abstract

    Mutually misaligned circumbinary planets may form in a warped or broken gas disk or from later planet–planet interactions. With numerical simulations and analytic estimates we explore the dynamics of two circumbinary planets with a large mutual inclination. A coplanar inner planet causes prograde apsidal precession of the binary and the stationary inclination for the outer planet is higher for larger outer planet orbital radius. In this case a coplanar outer planet always remains coplanar. On the other hand, a polar inner planet causes retrograde apsidal precession of the binary orbit and the stationary inclination is smaller for larger outer planet orbital radius. For a range of outer planet semimajor axes, an initially coplanar orbit is librating meaning that the outer planet undergoes large tilt oscillations. Circumbinary planets that are highly inclined to the binary are difficult to detect—it is unlikely for a planet to have an inclination below the transit detection limit in the presence of a polar inner planet. These results suggest that there could be a population of circumbinary planets that are undergoing large tilt oscillations.

  3. Abstract

    Sub-subgiant stars (SSGs) fall below the subgiant branch and/or red of the giant branch in open and globular clusters, an area of the color–magnitude diagram (CMD) not populated by standard stellar evolution tracks. One hypothesis is that SSGs result from rapid rotation in subgiants or giants due to tidal synchronization in a close binary. The strong magnetic fields generated inhibit convection, which in turn produces large starspots, radius inflation, and lower-than-expected average surface temperatures and luminosities. Here we cross-reference a catalog of active giant binaries (RS CVns) in the field with Gaia EDR3. Using the Gaia photometry and parallaxes, we precisely position the RS CVns in a CMD. We identify stars that fall below a 14 Gyr, metal-rich isochrone as candidate field SSGs. Out of a sample of 1723 RS CVn, we find 448 SSG candidates, a dramatic expansion from the 65 SSGs previously known. Most SSGs have rotation periods of 2–20 days, with the highest SSG fraction found among RS CVn with the shortest periods. The ubiquity of SSGs among this population indicates that SSGs are a normal phase in evolution for RS CVn-type systems, not rare by-products of dynamical encounters found only in dense star clusters asmore »some have suggested. We present our catalog of 1723 active giants, including Gaia photometry and astrometry, and rotation periods from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and International Variable Star Index (VSX). This catalog can serve as an important sample to study the impacts of magnetic fields in evolved stars.

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  4. Abstract We use photometry and proper motions from Gaia DR2 to determine the blue straggler star (BSS) populations of 16 old (1–10 Gyr), nearby ( d < 3500 pc) open clusters. We find that the fractional number of BSS compared to red giant branch stars increases with age, starting near zero at 1 Gyr and flattening to ∼0.35 by 4 Gyr. Fitting stellar evolutionary tracks to these BSSs, we find that their mass distribution peaks at a few tenths of a solar mass above the main-sequence turnoff. BSSs more than 0.5 M ⊙ above the turnoff make up only ∼25% of the sample, and BSSs more than 1.0 M ⊙ above the turnoff are rare. We compare this to Compact Object Synthesis and Monte Carlo Investigation Code population synthesis models of BSSs formed via mass transfer. We find that standard population synthesis assumptions dramatically under-produce the number of BSS in old open clusters. We also find that these models overproduce high-mass BSSs relative to lower-mass BSSs. The expected number of BSSs formed through dynamics do not fully account for this discrepancy. We conclude that in order to explain the observed BSS populations from Roche lobe overflow, mass transfer from giantmore »donors must be more stable than assumed in canonical mass-transfer prescriptions, and including nonconservative mass transfer is important in producing realistic BSS masses. Even with these modifications, it is difficult to achieve the large number of BSSs observed in the oldest open clusters. We discuss some additional physics that may explain the large number of observed blue stragglers among old stellar populations.« less
  5. ABSTRACT At least $70\, {\rm per\, cent}$ of massive OBA-type stars reside in binary or higher order systems. The dynamical evolution of these systems can lend insight into the origins of extreme phenomena such as X-ray binaries and gravitational wave sources. In one such dynamical process, the Eccentric Kozai–Lidov (EKL) mechanism, a third companion star alters the secular evolution of a binary system. For dynamical stability, these triple systems must have a hierarchical configuration. We explore the effects of a distant third companion’s gravitational perturbations on a massive binary’s orbital configuration before significant stellar evolution has taken place (≤10 Myr). We include tidal dissipation and general relativistic precession. With large (38 000 total) Monte Carlo realizations of massive hierarchical triples, we characterize imprints of the birth conditions on the final orbital distributions. Specifically, we find that the final eccentricity distribution over the range of 0.1–0.7 is an excellent indicator of its birth distribution. Furthermore, we find that the period distributions have a similar mapping for wide orbits. Finally, we demonstrate that the observed period distribution for approximately 10-Myr-old massive stars is consistent with EKL evolution.