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  1. Hirota, T. ; Imai, H. ; Menten, K. ; Pihlstrom, Y. (Ed.)
    Intense mass loss through cool, low-velocity winds is a defining characteristic of low-to-intermediate mass stars during the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) evolutionary stage. Such winds return up ~80% of the initial stellar mass to the interstellar medium and play a major role in enriching it with dust and heavy elements. A challenge to understanding the physics underlying AGB mass loss is its dependence on an interplay between complex and highly dynamic processes, including pulsations, convective flows, shocks, magnetic fields, and opacity changes resulting from dust and molecule formation. I highlight some examples of recent advances in our understanding of late-stage stellar mass loss that are emerging from radio and (sub)millimeter observations, with a particular focus on those that resolve the surfaces and extended atmospheres of evolved stars in space, time, and frequency. 
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  2. The proposed next generation Event Horizon Telescope (ngEHT) concept envisions the imaging of various astronomical sources on scales of microarcseconds in unprecedented detail with at least two orders of magnitude improvement in the image dynamic ranges by extending the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). A key technical component of ngEHT is the utilization of large aperture telescopes to anchor the entire array, allowing the connection of less sensitive stations through highly sensitive fringe detections to form a dense network across the planet. Here, we introduce two projects for planned next generation large radio telescopes in the 2030s on the Chajnantor Plateau in the Atacama desert in northern Chile, the Large Submillimeter Telescope (LST) and the Atacama Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope (AtLAST). Both are designed to have a 50-meter diameter and operate at the planned ngEHT frequency bands of 86, 230 and 345 GHz. A large aperture of 50 m that is co-located with two existing EHT stations, the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) Telescope in the excellent observing site of the Chajnantor Plateau, will offer excellent capabilities for highly sensitive, multi-frequency, and time-agile millimeter very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) observations with accurate data calibration relevant to key science cases of ngEHT. In addition to ngEHT, its unique location in Chile will substantially improve angular resolutions of the planned Next Generation Very Large Array in North America or any future global millimeter VLBI arrays if combined. LST and AtLAST will be a key element enabling transformative science cases with next-generation millimeter/submillimeter VLBI arrays. 
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  3. The Haystack Telescope is an antenna with a diameter of 37 m and an elevation-dependent surface accuracy of ≤100μm that is capable of millimeter-wave observations. The radome-enclosed instrument serves as a radar sensor for space situational awareness, with about one-third of the time available for research by MIT Haystack Observatory. Ongoing testing with the K-band (18–26 GHz) and W-band receivers (currently 85–93 GHz) is preparing the inclusion of the telescope into the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) array and the use as a single-dish research telescope. Given its geographic location, the addition of the Haystack Telescope to current and future versions of the EHT array would substantially improve the image quality. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Despite the fact that most science learning takes place outside of school, little is known about how engagement in informal science learning (ISL) experiences affects learners’ knowledge, skill development, interest, or identities over long periods of time. Although substantial ISL research has documented short-term outcomes such as the learning that takes place during a science center visit, research suggests that the genuine benefits of informal experiences are long-term transformations in learners as they pursue a “cascade” of experiences subsequent to the initial educational event. However, a number of major methodological challenges have limited longitudinal research projects investigating the long-term effects of ISL experiences. In this paper we identify and address four key issues surrounding the critical but challenging area of how to study and measure the long-term effects or impacts of ISL experiences: attribution, attrition, data collection, and analytic approaches. Our objective is to provide guidance to ISL researchers wishing to engage in long-term investigations of learner outcomes and to begin a dialogue about how best to address the numerous challenges involved in this work. 
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  5. Abstract The collimation of relativistic jets launched from the vicinity of supermassive black holes (SMBHs) at the centers of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) is one of the key questions to understand the nature of AGN jets. However, little is known about the detailed jet structure for AGN like quasars since very high angular resolutions are required to resolve these objects. We present very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) observations of the archetypical quasar 3C 273 at 86 GHz, performed with the Global Millimeter VLBI Array, for the first time including the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. Our observations achieve a high angular resolution down to ∼60 μ as, resolving the innermost part of the jet ever on scales of ∼10 5 Schwarzschild radii. Our observations, including close-in-time High Sensitivity Array observations of 3C 273 at 15, 22, and 43 GHz, suggest that the inner jet collimates parabolically, while the outer jet expands conically, similar to jets from other nearby low-luminosity AGNs. We discovered the jet collimation break around 10 7 Schwarzschild radii, providing the first compelling evidence for structural transition in a quasar jet. The location of the collimation break for 3C 273 is farther downstream from the sphere of gravitational influence (SGI) from the central SMBH. With the results for other AGN jets, our results show that the end of the collimation zone in AGN jets is governed not only by the SGI of the SMBH but also by the more diverse properties of the central nuclei. 
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  6. In April 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration reported the first-ever event-horizon-scale images of a black hole, resolving the central compact radio source in the giant elliptical galaxy M 87. These images reveal a ring with a southerly brightness distribution and a diameter of ∼42 μas, consistent with the predicted size and shape of a shadow produced by the gravitationally lensed emission around a supermassive black hole. These results were obtained as part of the April 2017 EHT observation campaign, using a global very long baseline interferometric radio array operating at a wavelength of 1.3 mm. Here, we present results based on the second EHT observing campaign, taking place in April 2018 with an improved array, wider frequency coverage, and increased bandwidth. In particular, the additional baselines provided by the Greenland telescope improved the coverage of the array. Multiyear EHT observations provide independent snapshots of the horizon-scale emission, allowing us to confirm the persistence, size, and shape of the black hole shadow, and constrain the intrinsic structural variability of the accretion flow. We have confirmed the presence of an asymmetric ring structure, brighter in the southwest, with a median diameter of 43.3−3.1+1.5 μas. The diameter of the 2018 ring is remarkably consistent with the diameter obtained from the previous 2017 observations. On the other hand, the position angle of the brightness asymmetry in 2018 is shifted by about 30° relative to 2017. The perennial persistence of the ring and its diameter robustly support the interpretation that the ring is formed by lensed emission surrounding a Kerr black hole with a mass ∼6.5 × 109M. The significant change in the ring brightness asymmetry implies a spin axis that is more consistent with the position angle of the large-scale jet.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  7. Abstract

    In 2017 the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) observed the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), at a frequency of 228.1 GHz (λ= 1.3 mm). The fundamental physics tests that even a single pulsar orbiting Sgr A* would enable motivate searching for pulsars in EHT data sets. The high observing frequency means that pulsars—which typically exhibit steep emission spectra—are expected to be very faint. However, it also negates pulse scattering, an effect that could hinder pulsar detections in the Galactic center. Additionally, magnetars or a secondary inverse Compton emission could be stronger at millimeter wavelengths than at lower frequencies. We present a search for pulsars close to Sgr A* using the data from the three most sensitive stations in the EHT 2017 campaign: the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, the Large Millimeter Telescope, and the IRAM 30 m Telescope. We apply three detection methods based on Fourier-domain analysis, the fast folding algorithm, and single-pulse searches targeting both pulsars and burst-like transient emission. We use the simultaneity of the observations to confirm potential candidates. No new pulsars or significant bursts were found. Being the first pulsar search ever carried out at such high radio frequencies, we detail our analysis methods and give a detailed estimation of the sensitivity of the search. We conclude that the EHT 2017 observations are only sensitive to a small fraction (≲2.2%) of the pulsars that may exist close to Sgr A*, motivating further searches for fainter pulsars in the region.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 29, 2024
  8. Abstract

    The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is a millimeter very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) array that has imaged the apparent shadows of the supermassive black holes M87* and Sagittarius A*. Polarimetric data from these observations contain a wealth of information on the black hole and accretion flow properties. In this work, we develop polarimetric geometric modeling methods for mm-VLBI data, focusing on approaches that fit data products with differing degrees of invariance to broad classes of calibration errors. We establish a fitting procedure using a polarimetric “m-ring” model to approximate the image structure near a black hole. By fitting this model to synthetic EHT data from general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic models, we show that the linear and circular polarization structure can be successfully approximated with relatively few model parameters. We then fit this model to EHT observations of M87* taken in 2017. In total intensity and linear polarization, the m-ring fits are consistent with previous results from imaging methods. In circular polarization, the m-ring fits indicate the presence of event-horizon-scale circular polarization structure, with a persistent dipolar asymmetry and orientation across several days. The same structure was recovered independently of observing band, used data products, and model assumptions. Despite this broad agreement, imaging methods do not produce similarly consistent results. Our circular polarization results, which imposed additional assumptions on the source structure, should thus be interpreted with some caution. Polarimetric geometric modeling provides a useful and powerful method to constrain the properties of horizon-scale polarized emission, particularly for sparse arrays like the EHT.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024
  9. Abstract

    Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) observations have revealed a bright ring of emission around the supermassive black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy. EHT images in linear polarization have further identified a coherent spiral pattern around the black hole, produced from ordered magnetic fields threading the emitting plasma. Here we present the first analysis of circular polarization using EHT data, acquired in 2017, which can potentially provide additional insights into the magnetic fields and plasma composition near the black hole. Interferometric closure quantities provide convincing evidence for the presence of circularly polarized emission on event-horizon scales. We produce images of the circular polarization using both traditional and newly developed methods. All methods find a moderate level of resolved circular polarization across the image (〈∣v∣〉 < 3.7%), consistent with the low image-integrated circular polarization fraction measured by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (∣vint∣ < 1%). Despite this broad agreement, the methods show substantial variation in the morphology of the circularly polarized emission, indicating that our conclusions are strongly dependent on the imaging assumptions because of the limited baseline coverage, uncertain telescope gain calibration, and weakly polarized signal. We include this upper limit in an updated comparison to general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulation models. This analysis reinforces the previously reported preference for magnetically arrested accretion flow models. We find that most simulations naturally produce a low level of circular polarization consistent with our upper limit and that Faraday conversion is likely the dominant production mechanism for circular polarization at 230 GHz in M87*.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024