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  1. Abstract

    Patchick 99 is a candidate globular cluster located in the direction of the Galactic bulge, with a proper motion almost identical to the field and extreme field star contamination. A recent analysis suggests it is a low-luminosity globular cluster with a population of RR Lyrae stars. We present new spectra of stars in and around Patchick 99, targeting specifically the three RR Lyrae stars associated with the cluster as well as the other RR Lyrae stars in the field. A sample of 53 giant stars selected from proper motions and a position on the color–magnitude diagram are also observed. The three RR Lyrae stars associated with the cluster have similar radial velocities and distances, and two of the targeted giants also have radial velocities in this velocity regime and [Fe/H] metallicities that are slightly more metal-poor than the field. Therefore, if Patchick 99 is a bona fide globular cluster, it would have a radial velocity of −92 ± 10 km s−1, a distance of 6.7 ± 0.4 kpc (as determined from the RR Lyrae stars), and an orbit that confines it to the inner bulge.

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  2. Abstract

    The Milky Way Bulge extra-tidal star survey is a spectroscopic survey with the goal of identifying stripped globular cluster stars from inner Galaxy clusters. In this way, an indication of the fraction of metal-poor bulge stars that originated from globular clusters can be determined. We observed and analyzed stars in and around BH 261, an understudied globular cluster in the bulge. From seven giants within the tidal radius of the cluster, we measured an average heliocentric radial velocity of 〈RV〉 = −61 ± 2.6 km s−1with a radial velocity dispersion of 〈σ〉 = 6.1 ± 1.9 km s−1. The large velocity dispersion may have arisen from tidal heating in the cluster’s orbit about the Galactic center, or because BH 261 has a high dynamical mass as well as a high mass-to-light ratio. From spectra of five giants, we measure an average metallicity of 〈[Fe/H]〉 = −1.1 ± 0.2 dex. We also spectroscopically confirm an RR Lyrae star in BH 261, which yields a distance to the cluster of 7.1 ± 0.4 kpc. Stars with 3D velocities and metallicities consistent with BH 261 reaching to ∼0.°5 from the cluster are identified. A handful of these stars are also consistent with the spatial distribution of potential debris from models focusing on the most recent disruption of the cluster.

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  3. Abstract Observations show an almost ubiquitous presence of extra mixing in low-mass upper giant branch stars. The most commonly invoked explanation for this is thermohaline mixing. One-dimensional stellar evolution models include various prescriptions for thermohaline mixing, but the use of observational data directly to discriminate between thermohaline prescriptions has thus far been limited. Here, we propose a new framework to facilitate direct comparison: using carbon-to-nitrogen measurements from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-IV APOGEE survey as a probe of mixing and a fluid parameter known as the reduced density ratio from one-dimensional stellar evolution programs, we compare the observed amount of extra mixing on the upper giant branch to predicted trends from three-dimensional fluid dynamics simulations. Using this method, we are able to empirically constrain how mixing efficiency should vary with the reduced density ratio. We find the observed amount of extra mixing is strongly correlated with the reduced density ratio and that trends between reduced density ratio and fundamental stellar parameters are robust across choices for modeling prescription. We show that stars with available mixing data tend to have relatively low density ratios, which should inform the regimes selected for future simulation efforts. Finally, we show that there is increased mixing at low reduced density ratios, which is consistent with current hydrodynamical models of thermohaline mixing. The introduction of this framework sets a new standard for theoretical modeling efforts, as validation for not only the amount of extra mixing, but trends between the degree of extra mixing and fundamental stellar parameters is now possible. 
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  4. Aims. The Blanco DECam Bulge Survey (BDBS) has imaged more than 200 square degrees of the southern Galactic bulge, providing photometry in the ugrizy filters for ∼250 million unique stars. The presence of a strong foreground disk population, along with complex reddening and extreme image crowding, has made it difficult to constrain the presence of young and intermediate age stars in the bulge population. Methods. We employed an accurate cross-match of BDBS with the latest data release (EDR3) from the Gaia mission, matching more than 140 million sources with BDBS photometry and Gaia EDR3 photometry and astrometry. We relied on Gaia EDR3 astrometry, without any photometric selection, to produce clean BDBS bulge colour-magnitude diagrams (CMDs). Gaia parallaxes were used to filter out bright foreground sources, and a Gaussian mixture model fit to Galactic proper motions could identify stars kinematically consistent with bulge membership. We applied this method to 127 different bulge fields of 1 deg 2 each, with | ℓ | ≤ 9.5° and −9.5° ≤ b  ≤ −2.5°. Results. The astrometric cleaning procedure removes the majority of blue stars in each field, especially near the Galactic plane, where the ratio of blue to red stars is ≲10%, increasing to values ∼20% at higher Galactic latitudes. We rule out the presence of a widespread population of stars younger than 2 Gyr. The vast majority of blue stars brighter than the turnoff belong to the foreground population, according to their measured astrometry. We introduce the distance between the observed red giant branch bump and the red clump as a simple age proxy for the dominant population in the field, and we confirm the picture of a predominantly old bulge. Further work is needed to apply the method to estimate ages to fields at higher latitudes, and to model the complex morphology of the Galactic bulge. We also produce transverse kinematic maps, recovering expected patterns related to the presence of the bar and of the X-shaped nature of the bulge. 
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  5. Abstract

    Stellar evolution models calculate convective boundaries using either the Schwarzschild or Ledoux criterion, but confusion remains regarding which criterion to use. Here we present a 3D hydrodynamical simulation of a convection zone and adjacent radiative zone, including both thermal and compositional buoyancy forces. As expected, regions that are unstable according to the Ledoux criterion are convective. Initially, the radiative zone adjacent to the convection zone is Schwarzschild unstable but Ledoux stable due to a composition gradient. Over many convective overturn timescales, the convection zone grows via entrainment. The convection zone saturates at the size originally predicted by the Schwarzschild criterion, although in this final state the Schwarzschild and Ledoux criteria agree. Therefore, the Schwarzschild criterion should be used to determine the size of stellar convection zones, except possibly during short-lived evolutionary stages in which entrainment persists.

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    We present photometric metallicity measurements for a sample of 2.6 million bulge red clump stars extracted from the Blanco DECam Bulge Survey (BDBS). Similar to previous studies, we find that the bulge exhibits a strong vertical metallicity gradient, and that at least two peaks in the metallicity distribution functions appear at b < −5°. We can discern a metal-poor ([Fe/H] ∼ −0.3) and metal-rich ([Fe/H] ∼ +0.2) abundance distribution that each show clear systematic trends with latitude, and may be best understood by changes in the bulge’s star formation/enrichment processes. Both groups exhibit asymmetric tails, and as a result we argue that the proximity of a star to either peak in [Fe/H] space is not necessarily an affirmation of group membership. The metal-poor peak shifts to lower [Fe/H] values at larger distances from the plane while the metal-rich tail truncates. Close to the plane, the metal-rich tail appears broader along the minor axis than in off-axis fields. We also posit that the bulge has two metal-poor populations – one that belongs to the metal-poor tail of the low latitude and predominantly metal-rich group, and another belonging to the metal-poor group that dominates in the outer bulge. We detect the X-shape structure in fields with |Z| > 0.7 kpc and for stars with [Fe/H] > −0.5. Stars with [Fe/H] < −0.5 may form a spheroidal or ‘thick bar’ distribution while those with [Fe/H] $\gtrsim$ −0.1 are strongly concentrated near the plane.

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  7. Abstract

    We update the capabilities of the open-knowledge software instrument Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (MESA). The newauto_diffmodule implements automatic differentiation inMESA, an enabling capability that alleviates the need for hard-coded analytic expressions or finite-difference approximations. We significantly enhance the treatment of the growth and decay of convection inMESAwith a new model for time-dependent convection, which is particularly important during late-stage nuclear burning in massive stars and electron-degenerate ignition events. We strengthenMESA’s implementation of the equation of state, and we quantify continued improvements to energy accounting and solver accuracy through a discussion of different energy equation features and enhancements. To improve the modeling of stars inMESA, we describe key updates to the treatment of stellar atmospheres, molecular opacities, Compton opacities, conductive opacities, element diffusion coefficients, and nuclear reaction rates. We introduce treatments of starspots, an important consideration for low-mass stars, and modifications for superadiabatic convection in radiation-dominated regions. We describe new approaches for increasing the efficiency of calculating monochromatic opacities and radiative levitation, and for increasing the efficiency of evolving the late stages of massive stars with a new operator-split nuclear burning mode. We close by discussing major updates toMESA’s software infrastructure that enhance source code development and community engagement.

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  8. Abstract The gravitationally lensed star WHL 0137–LS, nicknamed Earendel, was identified with a photometric redshift z phot = 6.2 ± 0.1 based on images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. Here we present James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Near Infrared Camera images of Earendel in eight filters spanning 0.8–5.0 μ m. In these higher-resolution images, Earendel remains a single unresolved point source on the lensing critical curve, increasing the lower limit on the lensing magnification to μ > 4000 and restricting the source plane radius further to r < 0.02 pc, or ∼4000 au. These new observations strengthen the conclusion that Earendel is best explained by an individual star or multiple star system and support the previous photometric redshift estimate. Fitting grids of stellar spectra to our photometry yields a stellar temperature of T eff ≃ 13,000–16,000 K, assuming the light is dominated by a single star. The delensed bolometric luminosity in this case ranges from log ( L ) = 5.8 to 6.6 L ⊙ , which is in the range where one expects luminous blue variable stars. Follow-up observations, including JWST NIRSpec scheduled for late 2022, are needed to further unravel the nature of this object, which presents a unique opportunity to study massive stars in the first billion years of the universe. 
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  9. Abstract

    We present the third and final data release of the K2 Galactic Archaeology Program (K2 GAP) for Campaigns C1–C8 and C10–C18. We provide asteroseismic radius and mass coefficients,κRandκM, for ∼19,000 red giant stars, which translate directly to radius and mass given a temperature. As such, K2 GAP DR3 represents the largest asteroseismic sample in the literature to date. K2 GAP DR3 stellar parameters are calibrated to be on an absolute parallactic scale based on Gaia DR2, with red giant branch and red clump evolutionary state classifications provided via a machine-learning approach. Combining these stellar parameters with GALAH DR3 spectroscopy, we determine asteroseismic ages with precisions of ∼20%–30% and compare age-abundance relations to Galactic chemical evolution models among both low- and high-αpopulations forα, light, iron-peak, and neutron-capture elements. We confirm recent indications in the literature of both increased Ba production at late Galactic times as well as significant contributions tor-process enrichment from prompt sources associated with, e.g., core-collapse supernovae. With an eye toward other Galactic archeology applications, we characterize K2 GAP DR3 uncertainties and completeness using injection tests, suggesting that K2 GAP DR3 is largely unbiased in mass/age, with uncertainties of 2.9% (stat.) ± 0.1% (syst.) and 6.7% (stat.) ± 0.3% (syst.) inκRandκMfor red giant branch stars and 4.7% (stat.) ± 0.3% (syst.) and 11% (stat.) ± 0.9% (syst.) for red clump stars. We also identify percent-level asteroseismic systematics, which are likely related to the time baseline of the underlying data, and which therefore should be considered in TESS asteroseismic analysis.

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