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  1. Abstract

    We present the analysis of ∼100 pc scale compact radio continuum sources detected in 63 local (ultra)luminous infrared galaxies (U/LIRGs;LIR≥ 1011L), using FWHM ≲ 0.″1–0.″2 resolution 15 and 33 GHz observations with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array. We identify a total of 133 compact radio sources with effective radii of 8–170 pc, which are classified into four main categories—“AGN” (active galactic nuclei), “AGN/SBnuc” (AGN-starburst composite nucleus), “SBnuc” (starburst nucleus), and “SF” (star-forming clumps)—based on ancillary data sets and the literature. We find that “AGN” and “AGN/SBnuc” more frequently occur in late-stage mergers and have up to 3 dex higher 33 GHz luminosities and surface densities compared with “SBnuc” and “SF,” which may be attributed to extreme nuclear starburst and/or AGN activity in the former. Star formation rates (SFRs) and surface densities (ΣSFR) are measured for “SF” and “SBnuc” using both the total 33 GHz continuum emission (SFR ∼ 0.14–13Myr−1, ΣSFR∼ 13–1600Myr−1kpc−2) and the thermal free–free emission from Hiiregions (median SFRth∼ 0.4Myr−1,ΣSFRth44Myr−1kpc−2). These values are 1–2 dex higher than those measured for similar-sized clumps in nearby normal (non-U/LIRGs). The latter also have a much flatter median 15–33 GHz spectral index (∼−0.08) compared withmore »“SBnuc” and “SF” (∼−0.46), which may reflect higher nonthermal contribution from supernovae and/or interstellar medium densities in local U/LIRGs that directly result from and/or lead to their extreme star-forming activities on 100 pc scales.

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  2. We develop a hybrid approach that combines the Monte Carlo (MC)method, a variational implicit-solvent model (VISM), and a binary level-set method forthe simulation of biomolecular binding in an aqueous solvent. The solvation free energy for the biomolecular complex is estimated by minimizing the VISM free-energy functional of all possible solute−solvent interfaces that are used as dielectric boundaries. This functional consists of the solute volumetric, solute−solvent interfacial, solute−solvent van der Waals interaction, and electrostatic free energy. A technique of shifting the dielectric boundary is used to accurately predict the electrostatic part of the solvation free energy.Minimizing such a functional in each MC move is made possible by our new and fast binary level-set method. This method is based on the approximation of surface area by the convolution of an indicator function with a compactly supported kernel and is implemented by simple flips of numerical grid cells locally around the solute−solvent interface. We apply our approach to the p53-MDM2 system for which the two molecules are approximated by rigid bodies. Our efficient approach captures some of the poses before the final bound state. All atom molecular dynamics simulations with most of such poses quickly reach the final bound state.Our work is amore »new step toward realistic simulations of biomolecular interactions. With further improvement of coarse graining and MC sampling, and combined with other models, our hybrid approach can be used to study the free-energy landscape and kinetic pathways of ligand binding to proteins.« less
  3. ABSTRACT The merger of two or more galaxies can enhance the inflow of material from galactic scales into the close environments of active galactic nuclei (AGNs), obscuring and feeding the supermassive black hole (SMBH). Both recent simulations and observations of AGN in mergers have confirmed that mergers are related to strong nuclear obscuration. However, it is still unclear how AGN obscuration evolves in the last phases of the merger process. We study a sample of 60 luminous and ultra-luminous IR galaxies (U/LIRGs) from the GOALS sample observed by NuSTAR. We find that the fraction of AGNs that are Compton thick (CT; $N_{\rm H}\ge 10^{24}\rm \, cm^{-2}$) peaks at $74_{-19}^{+14}{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ at a late merger stage, prior to coalescence, when the nuclei have projected separations (dsep) of 0.4–6 kpc. A similar peak is also observed in the median NH [$(1.6\pm 0.5)\times 10^{24}\rm \, cm^{-2}$]. The vast majority ($85^{+7}_{-9}{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$) of the AGNs in the final merger stages (dsep ≲ 10 kpc) are heavily obscured ($N_{\rm H}\ge 10^{23}\rm \, cm^{-2}$), and the median NH of the accreting SMBHs in our sample is systematically higher than that of local hard X-ray-selected AGN, regardless of the merger stage. This implies that thesemore »objects have very obscured nuclear environments, with the $N_{\rm H}\ge 10^{23}\rm \, cm^{-2}$ gas almost completely covering the AGN in late mergers. CT AGNs tend to have systematically higher absorption-corrected X-ray luminosities than less obscured sources. This could either be due to an evolutionary effect, with more obscured sources accreting more rapidly because they have more gas available in their surroundings, or to a selection bias. The latter scenario would imply that we are still missing a large fraction of heavily obscured, lower luminosity ($L_{2-10}\lesssim 10^{43}\rm \, erg\, s^{-1}$) AGNs in U/LIRGs.« less
  4. We report on SRG/eROSITA, ZTF, ASAS-SN, Las Cumbres, NEOWISE-R, and Swift XRT/UVOT observations of the unique ongoing event AT 2019avd, located in the nucleus of a previously inactive galaxy at z = 0.029. eROSITA first observed AT 2019avd on 2020-04-28 during its first all sky survey, when it was detected as an ultra-soft X-ray source ( kT ~ 85 eV) that was ≳90 times brighter in the 0.2−2 keV band than a previous 3 σ upper flux detection limit (with no archival X-ray detection at this position). The ZTF optical light curve in the ~450 days preceding the eROSITA detection is double peaked, and the eROSITA detection coincides with the rise of the second peak. Follow-up optical spectroscopy shows the emergence of a Bowen fluorescence feature and high-ionisation coronal lines ([Fe  X ] 6375 Å, [Fe  XIV ] 5303 Å), along with persistent broad Balmer emission lines ( FWHM ~ 1400 km s −1 ). Whilst the X-ray properties make AT 2019avd a promising tidal disruption event (TDE) candidate, the optical properties are atypical for optically selected TDEs. We discuss potential alternative origins that could explain the observed properties of AT 2019avd, such as a stellar binary TDE candidate, ormore »a TDE involving a super massive black hole binary.« less
  5. ABSTRACT We present the discovery of ASASSN-18jd (AT 2018bcb), a luminous optical/ultraviolet(UV)/X-ray transient located in the nucleus of the galaxy 2MASX J22434289–1659083 at z = 0.1192. Over the year after discovery, Swift UltraViolet and Optical Telescope (UVOT) photometry shows the UV spectral energy distribution of the transient to be well modelled by a slowly shrinking blackbody with temperature $T \sim 2.5 \times 10^{4} \, {\rm K}$, a maximum observed luminosity of $L_{\rm max} = 4.5^{+0.6}_{-0.3}\times 10^{44} \, {\rm erg \,s}^{-1}$, and a radiated energy of $E = 9.6^{+1.1}_{-0.6} \times 10^{51} \, {\rm erg}$. X-ray data from Swift X-Ray Telescope (XRT) and XMM–Newton show a transient, variable X-ray flux with blackbody and power-law components that fade by nearly an order of magnitude over the following year. Optical spectra show strong, roughly constant broad Balmer emission and transient features attributable to He ii, N iii–v, O iii, and coronal Fe. While ASASSN-18jd shares similarities with tidal disruption events (TDEs), it is also similar to the newly discovered nuclear transients seen in quiescent galaxies and faint active galactic nuclei (AGNs).