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Creators/Authors contains: "Kawai, Nobuyuki"

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    We analysed optical/X-ray quasi-simultaneous light curves of Aql X-1, obtained by Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image, Zwicky Transient Facility, and Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope network in about 3.6 yr from 2016, for understanding electromagnetic radiation mechanisms during its outbursts. As a result, we confirmed that five outbursts had detected in the epoch, and that three outbursts underwent the X-ray state transition across Low-Hard, In-Transition, and High-Soft state while remaining two outbursts stayed in the Low-Hard state. We found that the optical spectral energy distribution in the High-Soft state is consistent with a simplified irradiated disc model, and that the optical colour/magnitude variation can be explained by variations in the X-ray luminosity and the disc geometrical thickness.

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  2. Abstract

    We report on the discovery of a new supergiant fast X-ray transient (SFXT), MAXI J0709−159, and its identification with LY CMa (also known as HD 54786). On 2022 January 25, a new flaring X-ray object, named MAXI J0709−159, was detected by the Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI). Two flaring activities were observed in two scans ∼3 hr apart, where the 2–10 keV flux reached 5 × 10−9 erg cm−2 s−1. During the period, the source exhibited a large spectral change, suggesting that the absorption column density NH increased from 1022 to 1023 cm−2. A NuSTAR follow-up observation on January 29 identified a new X-ray source with a flux of 6 × 10−13 erg cm−2 s−1 at a position consistent with LY CMa, which has been identified as a B supergiant as well as a Be star, located at a 3 kpc distance. The observed X-ray activity, characterized by short (≲several hours) duration, rapid (≲ a few seconds) variabilities accompanied by spectral changes, and a large luminosity swing (1032–1037 erg s−1), agree with those of SFXTs. On the other hand, optical spectroscopic observations of LY CMa reveal a broad Hα emission line, which may indicate the existence of a Be circumstellar disk. These results suggest that the optical companion, LY CMa, certainly has a complex circumstellar medium including dense clumps.

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  4. Abstract We report the discovery of the unusually bright long-duration gamma-ray burst (GRB), GRB 221009A, as observed by the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory (Swift), Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image, and Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer Mission. This energetic GRB was located relatively nearby ( z = 0.151), allowing for sustained observations of the afterglow. The large X-ray luminosity and low Galactic latitude ( b = 4.°3) make GRB 221009A a powerful probe of dust in the Milky Way. Using echo tomography, we map the line-of-sight dust distribution and find evidence for significant column densities at large distances (≳10 kpc). We present analysis of the light curves and spectra at X-ray and UV–optical wavelengths, and find that the X-ray afterglow of GRB 221009A is more than an order of magnitude brighter at T 0 + 4.5 ks than that from any previous GRB observed by Swift. In its rest frame, GRB 221009A is at the high end of the afterglow luminosity distribution, but not uniquely so. In a simulation of randomly generated bursts, only 1 in 10 4 long GRBs were as energetic as GRB 221009A; such a large E γ ,iso implies a narrow jet structure, but the afterglow light curve is inconsistent with simple top-hat jet models. Using the sample of Swift GRBs with redshifts, we estimate that GRBs as energetic and nearby as GRB 221009A occur at a rate of ≲1 per 1000 yr—making this a truly remarkable opportunity unlikely to be repeated in our lifetime. 
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  6. Abstract

    Sample return from the near-Earth asteroid known as 25143 Itokawa was conducted as part of the Hayabusa mission, with a large number of scientific findings being derived from the returned samples. Following the Hayabusa mission, Hayabusa2 was planned, targeting sample return from a primitive asteroid. The primary target body of Hayabusa2 was asteroid 162173 Ryugu; however, it was also necessary to gather physical information for backup target selection. Therefore, we examined five asteroids spectroscopically, 43 asteroids spectrophotometrically, and 41 asteroids through periodic analysis. Hence, the physical properties of 74 near-Earth asteroids were obtained, which helped the Hayabusa2 backup target search, and also furthered understanding of the physical properties of individual asteroids and their origins.

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  7. Abstract

    We report on the development of a wide-field near-infrared (0.9–2.5$\, \mu$m) camera built as a renewal of the existing classical Cassegrain 0.91 m telescope at Okayama Astrophysical Observatory. The optics system was replaced with fast hybrid optics (f/2.5) composed of forward Cassegrain optics and quasi-Schmidt optics, which results in an effective image circle of 52 mm diameter on the focal plane. The new camera, called the Okayama Astrophysical Observatory Wide-Field Camera (OAOWFC), has imaging capabilities in the $Y$, $J$, $H$, and $K_{\rm s}$ bands over a field of view of $0.^{\!\!\!\circ }47 \times 0.^{\!\!\!\circ }47$ with a HAWAII-1 HgCdTe PACE focal plane array. The primary purpose of OAOWFC is to search for variability in the Galactic plane in the $K_{\rm s}$ band and to promptly follow up transients. We have demonstrated a photometric repeatability of 2% in the densest field in the northern Galactic plane and successfully discovered previously unreported variable stars. The observations of OAOWFC are fully autonomous, and we started scientific operations in 2015 April.

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