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  1. ABSTRACT We report the discovery of the closest known black hole candidate as a binary companion to V723 Mon. V723 Mon is a nearby ($d\sim 460\, \rm pc$), bright (V ≃ 8.3 mag), evolved (Teff, giant ≃ 4440 K, and Lgiant ≃ 173 L⊙) red giant in a high mass function, f(M) = 1.72 ± 0.01 M⊙, nearly circular binary (P = 59.9 d, e ≃ 0). V723 Mon is a known variable star, previously classified as an eclipsing binary, but its All-Sky Automated Survey, Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope, and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite light curves are those of a nearly edge-on ellipsoidal variable. Detailed models of the lightmore »curves constrained by the period, radial velocities, and stellar temperature give an inclination of $87.0^{\circ ^{+1.7^\circ }}_{-1.4^\circ }$, a mass ratio of q ≃ 0.33 ± 0.02, a companion mass of Mcomp = 3.04 ± 0.06 M⊙, a stellar radius of Rgiant = 24.9 ± 0.7 R⊙, and a giant mass of Mgiant = 1.00 ± 0.07 M⊙. We identify a likely non-stellar, diffuse veiling component with contributions in the B and V band of ${\sim }63{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ and ${\sim }24{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$, respectively. The SED and the absence of continuum eclipses imply that the companion mass must be dominated by a compact object. We do observe eclipses of the Balmer lines when the dark companion passes behind the giant, but their velocity spreads are low compared to observed accretion discs. The X-ray luminosity of the system is $L_{\rm X}\simeq 7.6\times 10^{29}~\rm ergs~s^{-1}$, corresponding to L/Ledd ∼ 10−9. The simplest explanation for the massive companion is a single compact object, most likely a black hole in the ‘mass gap’.« less
  2. ABSTRACT In this work, we combine spectroscopic information from the SkyMapper survey for Extremely Metal-Poor stars and astrometry from Gaia DR2 to investigate the kinematics of a sample of 475 stars with a metallicity range of $-6.5 \le \rm [Fe/H] \le -2.05$ dex. Exploiting the action map, we identify 16 and 40 stars dynamically consistent with the Gaia Sausage and Gaia Sequoia accretion events, respectively. The most metal poor of these candidates have metallicities of $\rm [Fe/H]=-3.31\, \mathrm{ and }\, -3.74$, respectively, helping to define the low-metallicity tail of the progenitors involved in the accretion events. We also find, consistentmore »with other studies, that ∼21 per cent of the sample have orbits that remain confined to within 3 kpc of the Galactic plane, that is, |Zmax| ≤ 3 kpc. Of particular interest is a subsample (∼11 per cent of the total) of low |Zmax| stars with low eccentricities and prograde motions. The lowest metallicity of these stars has [Fe/H] = –4.30 and the subsample is best interpreted as the very low-metallicity tail of the metal-weak thick disc population. The low |Zmax|, low eccentricity stars with retrograde orbits are likely accreted, while the low |Zmax|, high eccentricity pro- and retrograde stars are plausibly associated with the Gaia Sausage system. We find that a small fraction of our sample (∼4 per cent of the total) is likely escaping from the Galaxy, and postulate that these stars have gained energy from gravitational interactions that occur when infalling dwarf galaxies are tidally disrupted.« less
  3. Context. We present our findings on 18 previously known ZZ Ceti stars observed by the TESS space telescope in 120 s cadence mode during the survey observation of the southern ecliptic hemisphere. Aims. We focus on the frequency analysis of the space-based observations, comparing the results with findings of previous ground-based measurements. The frequencies detected by the TESS observations can serve as inputs for future asteroseismic analyses. Methods. We performed standard pre-whitening of the data sets to derive the possible pulsation frequencies of the different targets. In some cases, we fit Lorentzians to the frequency groups that emerged as themore »result of short-term amplitude or phase variations that occurred during the TESS observations. Results. We detected more than 40 pulsation frequencies in seven ZZ Ceti stars observed in the 120 s cadence by TESS, with precision better than 0.1  μ Hz. We found that HE 0532−5605 may be a new outbursting ZZ Ceti. Ten targets do not show any significant pulsation frequencies in their Fourier transforms, due to a combination of their intrinsic faintness and/or crowding on the large TESS pixels. We also detected possible amplitude or phase variations during the TESS observations in some cases. Such behaviour in these targets was not previously identified from ground-based observations.« less
  4. ABSTRACT We present and discuss the results of a search for extremely metal-poor stars based on photometry from data release DR1.1 of the SkyMapper imaging survey of the southern sky. In particular, we outline our photometric selection procedures and describe the low-resolution (R ≈ 3000) spectroscopic follow-up observations that are used to provide estimates of effective temperature, surface gravity, and metallicity ([Fe/H]) for the candidates. The selection process is very efficient: of the 2618 candidates with low-resolution spectra that have photometric metallicity estimates less than or equal to −2.0, 41 per cent have [Fe/H] ≤ −2.75 and only approximately seven per cent have [Fe/H] > −2.0 dex. Themore »most metal-poor candidate in the sample has [Fe/H] < −4.75 and is notably carbon rich. Except at the lowest metallicities ([Fe/H] < −4), the stars observed spectroscopically are dominated by a ‘carbon-normal’ population with [C/Fe]1D, LTE ≤ +1 dex. Consideration of the A(C)1D, LTE versus [Fe/H]1D, LTE diagram suggests that the current selection process is strongly biased against stars with A(C)1D, LTE > 7.3 (predominantly CEMP-s) while any bias against stars with A(C)1D, LTE < 7.3 and [C/Fe]1D,LTE > +1 (predominantly CEMP-no) is not readily quantifiable given the uncertainty in the SkyMapper v-band DR1.1 photometry. We find that the metallicity distribution function of the observed sample has a power-law slope of Δ(Log N)/Δ[Fe/H] = 1.5 ± 0.1 dex per dex for −4.0 ≤ [Fe/H] ≤ −2.75, but appears to drop abruptly at [Fe/H] ≈ −4.2, in line with previous studies.« less
  5. ABSTRACT We report the discovery of SMSS J160540.18−144323.1, a new ultra metal-poor halo star discovered with the SkyMapper telescope. We measure $\left[\rm {Fe}/\rm {H}\right]= -6.2 \pm 0.2$ (1D LTE), the lowest ever detected abundance of iron in a star. The star is strongly carbon-enhanced, $\left[\rm {C}/\rm {Fe}\right] = 3.9 \pm 0.2$, while other abundances are compatible with an α-enhanced solar-like pattern with $\left[\rm {Ca}/\rm {Fe}\right] = 0.4 \pm 0.2$, $\left[\rm {Mg}/\rm {Fe}\right] = 0.6 \pm 0.2$, $\left[\rm {Ti}/\rm {Fe}\right] = 0.8 \pm 0.2$, and no significant s- or r-process enrichment, $\left[\rm {Sr}/\rm {Fe}\right] \lt 0.2$ and $\left[\rm {Ba}/\rm {Fe}\right] \ltmore »1.0$ (3σ limits). Population III stars exploding as fallback supernovae may explain both the strong carbon enhancement and the apparent lack of enhancement of odd-Z and neutron-capture element abundances. Grids of supernova models computed for metal-free progenitor stars yield good matches for stars of about $10\, \rm M_\odot$ imparting a low kinetic energy on the supernova ejecta, while models for stars more massive than roughly $20\, \rm M_\odot$ are incompatible with the observed abundance pattern.« less
  6. Context. The TESS satellite was launched in 2018 to perform high-precision photometry from space over almost the whole sky in a search for exoplanets orbiting bright stars. This instrument has opened new opportunities to study variable hot subdwarfs, white dwarfs, and related compact objects. Targets of interest include white dwarf and hot subdwarf pulsators, both carrying high potential for asteroseismology. Aims. We present the discovery and detailed asteroseismic analysis of a new g -mode hot B subdwarf (sdB) pulsator, EC 21494−7018 (TIC 278659026), monitored in TESS first sector using 120-s cadence. Methods. The TESS light curve was analyzed with standardmore »prewhitening techniques, followed by forward modeling using our latest generation of sdB models developed for asteroseismic investigations. By simultaneously best-matching all the observed frequencies with those computed from models, we identified the pulsation modes detected and, more importantly, we determined the global parameters and structural configuration of the star. Results. The light curve analysis reveals that EC 21494−7018 is a sdB pulsator counting up to 20 frequencies associated with independent g -modes. The seismic analysis singles out an optimal model solution in full agreement with independent measurements provided by spectroscopy (atmospheric parameters derived from model atmospheres) and astrometry (distance evaluated from Gaia DR2 trigonometric parallax). Several key parameters of the star are derived. Its mass (0.391 ± 0.009  M ⊙ ) is significantly lower than the typical mass of sdB stars and suggests that its progenitor has not undergone the He-core flash; therefore this progenitor could originate from a massive (≳2  M ⊙ ) red giant, which is an alternative channel for the formation of sdBs. Other derived parameters include the H-rich envelope mass (0.0037 ± 0.0010  M ⊙ ), radius (0.1694 ± 0.0081  R ⊙ ), and luminosity (8.2 ± 1.1  L ⊙ ). The optimal model fit has a double-layered He+H composition profile, which we interpret as an incomplete but ongoing process of gravitational settling of helium at the bottom of a thick H-rich envelope. Moreover, the derived properties of the core indicate that EC 21494−7018 has burnt ∼43% (in mass) of its central helium and possesses a relatively large mixed core ( M core  = 0.198 ± 0.010  M ⊙ ), in line with trends already uncovered from other g-mode sdB pulsators analyzed with asteroseismology. Finally, we obtain for the first time an estimate of the amount of oxygen (in mass; X (O) core = 0.16 +0.13 −0.05 ) produced at this stage of evolution by an helium-burning core. This result, along with the core-size estimate, is an interesting constraint that may help to narrow down the still uncertain 12 C( α ,  γ ) 16 O nuclear reaction rate.« less
  7. ABSTRACT

    We present the first asteroseismic results for δ Scuti and γ Doradus stars observed in Sectors 1 and 2 of the TESS mission. We utilize the 2-min cadence TESS data for a sample of 117 stars to classify their behaviour regarding variability and place them in the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram using Gaia DR2 data. Included within our sample are the eponymous members of two pulsator classes, γ Doradus and SX Phoenicis. Our sample of pulsating intermediate-mass stars observed by TESS also allows us to confront theoretical models of pulsation driving in the classical instability strip for the first time and show that mixing processesmore »in the outer envelope play an important role. We derive an empirical estimate of 74 per cent for the relative amplitude suppression factor as a result of the redder TESS passband compared to the Kepler mission using a pulsating eclipsing binary system. Furthermore, our sample contains many high-frequency pulsators, allowing us to probe the frequency variability of hot young δ Scuti stars, which were lacking in the Kepler mission data set, and identify promising targets for future asteroseismic modelling. The TESS data also allow us to refine the stellar parameters of SX Phoenicis, which is believed to be a blue straggler.

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