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  1. We explore the plasma matter content in the innermost accretion disk/jet in M87* as relevant for an enthusiastic search for the signatures of anti-matter in the next generation of the Event Horizon Telescope (ngEHT). We model the impact of non-zero positron-to-electron ratio using different emission models, including a constant electron to magnetic pressure (constant βe model) with a population of non-thermal electrons as well as an R-beta model populated with thermal electrons. In the former case, we pick a semi-analytic fit to the force-free region of a general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (GRMHD) simulation, while in the latter case, we analyze the GRMHD simulations directly. In both cases, positrons are being added at the post-processing level. We generate polarized images and spectra for some of these models and find out that at the radio frequencies, both of the linear and the circular polarizations are enhanced with every pair added. On the contrary, we show that, at higher frequencies, a substantial positron fraction washes out the circular polarization. We report strong degeneracies between different emission models and the positron fraction, though our non-thermal models show more sensitivities to the pair fraction than the thermal models. We conclude that a large theoretical image librarymore »is indeed required to fully understand the trends probed in this study, and to place them in the context of a large set of parameters which also affect polarimetric images, such as magnetic field strength, black hole spin, and detailed aspects of the electron temperature and the distribution function.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2024
  2. Abstract We present new, deep, narrow- and broadband Hubble Space Telescope observations of seven of the most star-forming brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs). Continuum-subtracted [O II ] maps reveal the detailed, complex structure of warm ( T ∼ 10 4 K) ionized gas filaments in these BCGs, allowing us to measure spatially resolved star formation rates (SFRs) of ∼60–600 M ⊙ yr −1 . We compare the SFRs in these systems and others from the literature to their intracluster medium cooling rates ( M ̇ cool ), measured from archival Chandra X-ray data, finding a best-fit relation of log ( SFR ) = ( 1.66 ± 0.17 ) log ( M ̇ cool ) + (−3.22 ± 0.38) with an intrinsic scatter of 0.39 ± 0.09 dex. This steeper-than-unity slope implies an increasingly efficient conversion of hot ( T ∼ 10 7 K) gas into young stars with increasing M ̇ cool , or conversely a gradual decrease in the effectiveness of AGN feedback in the strongest cool cores. We also seek to understand the physical extent of these multiphase filaments that we observe in cluster cores. We show, for the first time, that the average extent of the multiphase gasmore »is always smaller than the radii at which the cooling time reaches 1 Gyr, the t cool / t ff profile flattens, and that X-ray cavities are observed. This implies a close connection between the multiphase filaments, the thermodynamics of the cooling core, and the dynamics of X-ray bubbles. Interestingly, we find a one-to-one correlation between the average extent of cool multiphase filaments and the radius at which the cooling time reaches 0.5 Gyr, which may be indicative of a universal condensation timescale in cluster cores.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 29, 2023
  3. Abstract

    We present a machine-learning framework to accurately characterize the morphologies of active galactic nucleus (AGN) host galaxies withinz< 1. We first use PSFGAN to decouple host galaxy light from the central point source, then we invoke the Galaxy Morphology Network (GaMorNet) to estimate whether the host galaxy is disk-dominated, bulge-dominated, or indeterminate. Using optical images from five bands of the HSC Wide Survey, we build models independently in three redshift bins: low (0 <z< 0.25), mid (0.25 <z< 0.5), and high (0.5 <z< 1.0). By first training on a large number of simulated galaxies, then fine-tuning using far fewer classified real galaxies, our framework predicts the actual morphology for ∼60%–70% of the host galaxies from test sets, with a classification precision of ∼80%–95%, depending on the redshift bin. Specifically, our models achieve a disk precision of 96%/82%/79% and bulge precision of 90%/90%/80% (for the three redshift bins) at thresholds corresponding to indeterminate fractions of 30%/43%/42%. The classification precision of our models has a noticeable dependency on host galaxy radius and magnitude. No strong dependency is observed on contrast ratio. Comparing classifications of real AGNs, our models agree well with traditional 2D fitting with GALFIT. The PSFGAN+GaMorNetframework does not dependmore »on the choice of fitting functions or galaxy-related input parameters, runs orders of magnitude faster than GALFIT, and is easily generalizable via transfer learning, making it an ideal tool for studying AGN host galaxy morphology in forthcoming large imaging surveys.

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  4. We propose the tracing of the motion of a shearing hot spot near the Sgr A* source through a dynamical image reconstruction algorithm, StarWarps. Such a hot spot may form as the exhaust of magnetic reconnection in a current sheet near the black hole horizon. A hot spot that is ejected from the current sheet into an orbit in the accretion disk may shear and diffuse due to instabilities at its boundary during its orbit, resulting in a distinct signature. We subdivide the motion into two different phases: the first phase refers to the appearance of the hot spot modeled as a bright blob, followed by a subsequent shearing phase. We employ different observational array configurations, including EHT (2017, 2022) and the next-generation Event Horizon Telescope (ngEHTp1, ngEHT) arrays, with several new sites added, and make dynamical image reconstructions for each of them. Subsequently, we infer the hot spot angular image location in the first phase, followed by the axes ratio and the ellipse area in the second phase. We focus on the direct observability of the orbiting hot spot in the sub-mm wavelength. Our analysis demonstrates that for this particular simulation, the newly added dishes are better able tomore »trace the first phase as well as part of the second phase before the flux is reduced substantially, compared to the EHT arrays. The algorithm used in this work can be easily extended to other types of dynamics, as well as different shearing timescales. More simulations are required to prove whether the current set of newly proposed sites are sufficient to resolve any motions near variable sources, such as Sgr A*.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2024

    The formation and evolution of local brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs) is investigated by determining the stellar populations and dynamics from the galaxy core, through the outskirts and into the intracluster light (ICL). Integral spectroscopy of 23 BCGs observed out to $4\, r_{e}$ is collected and high signal-to-noise regions are identified. Stellar population synthesis codes are used to determine the age, metallicity, velocity, and velocity dispersion of stars within each region. The ICL spectra are best modelled with populations that are younger and less metal-rich than those of the BCG cores. The average BCG core age of the sample is $\rm 13.3\pm 2.8\, Gyr$ and the average metallicity is $\rm [Fe/H] = 0.30\pm 0.09$, whereas for the ICL the average age is $\rm 9.2\pm 3.5\, Gyr$ and the average metallicity is $\rm [Fe/H] = 0.18\pm 0.16$. The velocity dispersion profile is seen to be rising or flat in most of the sample (17/23), and those with rising values reach the value of the host cluster’s velocity dispersion in several cases. The most extended BCGs are closest to the peak of the cluster’s X-ray luminosity. The results are consistent with the idea that the BCG cores and inner regions formed quicklymore »and long ago, with the outer regions and ICL forming more recently, and continuing to assemble through minor merging. Any recent star formation in the BCGs is a minor component, and is associated with the cluster cool core status.

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