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  1. The construction of bounded-degree plane geometric spanners has been a focus of interest since 2002 when Bose, Gudmundsson, and Smid proposed the first algorithm to construct such spanners. To date, 11 algorithms have been designed with various tradeoffs in degree and stretch-factor. We have implemented these sophisticated spanner algorithms in C ++ using the CGAL library and experimented with them using large synthetic and real-world pointsets. Our experiments have revealed their practical behavior and real-world efficacy. We share the implementations via GitHub for broader uses and future research. We design and engineer EstimateStretchFactor , a simple practical algorithm, which can estimate stretch-factors (obtains lower bounds on the exact stretch-factors) of geometric spanners—a challenging problem for which no practical algorithm is known yet. In our experiments with bounded-degree plane geometric spanners, we found that EstimateStretchFactor estimated stretch-factors almost precisely. Further, it gave linear runtime performance in practice for the pointset distributions considered in this work, making it much faster than the naive Dijkstra-based algorithm for calculating stretch-factors. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 31, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 13, 2024
  3. Non-equilibrium photocarriers in multilayer WSe2injected by femtosecond laser pulses exhibit extraordinary nonlinear dynamics in the presence of intense THz fields. The THz absorption in optically excited WSe2rises rapidly in the low THz field regime and gradually ramps up at high intensities. The strong THz pulses drive the photocarriers into sidebands of higher mobility and release trapped charge carriers, which consequently enhance the transient conductivity of WSe2. The spectrally analyzed conductivity reveals distinctive features, indicating that the photocarriers undergo resonant interactions such as carrier-photon scattering.

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    Stars embedded in active galactic nucleus (AGN) discs or captured by them may scatter onto the supermassive black hole (SMBH), leading to a tidal disruption event (TDE). Using the moving-mesh hydrodynamics simulations with arepo, we investigate the dependence of debris properties in in-plane TDEs in AGN discs on the disc density and the orientation of stellar orbits relative to the disc gas (pro- and retro-grade). Key findings are: (1) Debris experiences continuous perturbations from the disc gas, which can result in significant and continuous changes in debris energy and angular momentum compared to ‘naked’ TDEs. (2) Above a critical density of a disc around an SMBH with mass M• [ρcrit ∼ 10−8 g cm−3 (M•/106 M⊙)−2.5] for retrograde stars, both bound and unbound debris is fully mixed into the disc. The density threshold for no bound debris return, inhibiting the accretion component of TDEs, is $\rho _{\rm crit,bound} \sim 10^{-9}{\rm g~cm^{-3}}(M_{\bullet }/10^{6}\, {\rm M}_{\odot })^{-2.5}$. (3) Observationally, AGN-TDEs transition from resembling naked TDEs in the limit of ρdisc ≲ 10−2ρcrit,bound to fully muffled TDEs with associated inner disc state changes at ρdisc ≳ ρcrit,bound, with a superposition of AGN + TDE in between. Stellar or remnant passages themselves can significantly perturb the inner disc. This can lead to an immediate X-ray signature and optically detectable inner disc state changes, potentially contributing to the changing-look AGN phenomenon. (4) Debris mixing can enrich the average disc metallicity over time if the star’s metallicity exceeds that of the disc gas. We point out that signatures of AGN-TDEs may be found in large AGN surveys.

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    Rapid identification of the optical counterparts of neutron star (NS) merger events discovered by gravitational wave detectors may require observing a large error region and sifting through a large number of transients to identify the object of interest. Given the expense of spectroscopic observations, a question arises: How can we utilize photometric observations for candidate prioritization, and what kinds of photometric observations are needed to achieve this goal? NS merger kilonova exhibits low ejecta mass (∼5 × 10−2 M⊙) and a rapidly evolving photospheric radius (with a velocity ∼0.2c). As a consequence, these sources display rapid optical-flux evolution. Indeed, selection based on fast flux variations is commonly used for young supernovae and NS mergers. In this study, we leverage the best currently available flux-limited transient survey – the Zwicky Transient Facility Bright Transient Survey – to extend and quantify this approach. We focus on selecting transients detected in a 3-day cadence survey and observed at a one-day cadence. We explore their distribution in the phase space defined by g–r, $\dot{g}$, and $\dot{r}$. Our analysis demonstrates that for a significant portion of the time during the first week, the kilonova AT 2017gfo stands out in this phase space. It is important to note that this investigation is subject to various biases and challenges; nevertheless, it suggests that certain photometric observations can be leveraged to identify transients with the highest probability of being fast-evolving events. We also find that a large fraction (≈75 per cent) of the transient candidates with $\vert\dot{g}\vert>0.7$ mag d−1, are cataclysmic variables or active galactic nuclei with radio counterparts.

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    Cataclysmic variables (CVs) that have evolved past the period minimum during their lifetimes are predicted to be systems with a brown dwarf donor. While population synthesis models predict that around 40–70 per cent of the Galactic CVs are post-period minimum systems referred to as ‘period bouncers’, only a few dozen confirmed systems are known. We report the study and characterization of a new eclipsing CV, SRGeJ041130.3+685350 (SRGeJ0411), discovered from a joint SRG/eROSITA and ZTF programme. The optical spectrum of SRGeJ0411 shows prominent hydrogen and helium emission lines, typical for CVs. We obtained optical high-speed photometry to confirm the eclipse of SRGeJ0411 and determine the orbital period to be Porb ≈ 97.530 min. The spectral energy distribution suggests that the donor has an effective temperature of ≲ 1800 K. We constrain the donor mass with the period–density relationship for Roche lobe-filling stars and find that Mdonor ≲ 0.04 M⊙. The binary parameters are consistent with evolutionary models for post-period minimum CVs, suggesting that SRGeJ0411 is a new period bouncer. The optical emission lines of SRGeJ0411 are single-peaked despite the system being eclipsing, which is typically only seen due to stream-fed accretion in polars. X-ray spectroscopy hints that the white dwarf in SRGeJ0411 could be magnetic, but verifying the magnetic nature of SRGeJ0411 requires further investigation. The lack of optical outbursts has made SRGeJ0411 elusive in previous surveys, and joint X-ray and optical surveys highlight the potential for discovering similar systems in the near future.

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  7. Advanced sequencing technologies have expedited resolution of higher-level arthropod relationships. Yet, dark branches persist, principally among groups occurring in cryptic habitats. Among chelicerates, Solifugae ("camel spiders") is the last order lacking a higher-level phylogeny and have thus been historically characterized as "neglected [arachnid] cousins". Though renowned for aggression, remarkable running speed, and xeric adaptation, inferring solifuge relationships has been hindered by inaccessibility of diagnostic morphological characters, whereas molecular investigations have been limited to one of 12 recognized families. Our phylogenomic dataset via capture of ultraconserved elements sampling all extant families recovered a well-resolved phylogeny, with two distinct groups of New World taxa nested within a broader Paleotropical radiation. Divergence times using fossil calibrations inferred that Solifugae radiated by the Permian, and most families diverged prior to the Paleogene-Cretaceous extinction, likely driven by continental breakup. We establish Boreosolifugae new suborder uniting five Laurasian families, and Australosolifugae new suborder uniting seven Gondwanan families using morphological and biogeographic signal. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  8. Abstract

    SX Phoenicis (SXP) variables are short-period pulsating stars that exhibit a period–luminosity (PL) relation. We derived thegri-band PL and extinction-free period–Wesenheit (PW) relations, as well as the period-color and reddening-free period-Q-index relations for 47 SXP stars located in 21 globular clusters, using the optical light curves taken from Zwicky Transient Facility. These empirical relations were derived for the first time in thegrifilters except for theg-band PL relation. We used ourgi-band PL and PW relations to derive a distance modulus to Crater II dwarf spheroidal which hosts one SXP variable. Assuming that the fundamental and first-overtone pulsation mode for the SXP variable in Crater II, we found distance moduli of 20.03 ± 0.23 mag and 20.37 ± 0.24 mag, respectively, using the PW relation, where the latter is in excellent agreement with independent RR Lyrae based distance to Crater II dwarf galaxy.

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  9. Abstract

    Scorpions are ancient and historically renowned for their potent venom. Traditionally, the systematics of this group of arthropods was supported by morphological characters, until recent phylogenomic analyses (using RNAseq data) revealed most of the higher‐level taxa to be non‐monophyletic. While these phylogenomic hypotheses are stable for almost all lineages, some nodes have been hard to resolve due to minimal taxonomic sampling (e.g. family Chactidae). In the same line, it has been shown that some nodes in the Arachnid Tree of Life show disagreement between hypotheses generated using transcritptomes and other genomic sources such as the ultraconserved elements (UCEs). Here, we compared the phylogenetic signal of transcriptomes vs. UCEs by retrieving UCEs from new and previously published scorpion transcriptomes and genomes, and reconstructed phylogenies using both datasets independently. We reexamined the monophyly and phylogenetic placement of Chactidae, sampling an additional chactid species using both datasets. Our results showed that both sets of genome‐scale datasets recovered highly similar topologies, with Chactidae rendered paraphyletic owing to the placement ofNullibrotheas allenii. As a first step toward redressing the systematics of Chactidae, we establish the family Anuroctonidae (new family) to accommodate the genusAnuroctonus.

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