D. B. Zucker

Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Are you D. B. Zucker?

Claim your profile

Publications (94)400.25 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We have developed a method to identify planetary nebula (PN) candidates in imaging data of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). This method exploits the SDSS's five-band sampling of emission lines in PN spectra, which results in a color signature distinct from that of other sources. Selection criteria based on this signature can be applied to nearby galaxies in which PNe appear as point sources. We applied these criteria to the whole area of M31 as scanned by the SDSS, selecting 167 PN candidates that are located in the outer regions of M31. The spectra of 80 selected candidates were then observed with the 2.2 m telescope at Calar Alto Observatory. These observations and cross-checks with literature data show that our method has a selection rate efficiency of about 90%, but the efficiency is different for the different groups of PN candidates. In the outer regions of M31, PNe trace different well-known morphological features like the Northern Spur, the NGC 205 Loop, the G1 Clump, etc. In general, the distribution of PNe in the outer region 8 < R < 20 kpc along the minor axis shows the "extended disk"—a rotationally supported low surface brightness structure with an exponential scale length of 3.21 ± 0.14 kpc and a total mass of ~1010 M ☉, which is equivalent to the mass of M33. We report the discovery of three PN candidates with projected locations in the center of Andromeda NE, a very low surface brightness giant stellar structure in the outer halo of M31. Two of the PNe were spectroscopically confirmed as genuine PNe. These two PNe are located at projected distances along the major axis of ~48 Kpc and ~41 Kpc from the center of M31 and are the most distant PNe in M31 found up to now. With the new PN data at hand we see the obvious kinematic connection between the continuation of the Giant Stream and the Northern Spur. We suggest that 20%-30% of the stars in the Northern Spur area may belong to the Giant Stream. In our data we also see a possible kinematic connection between the Giant Stream and PNe in Andromeda NE, suggesting that Andromeda NE could be the core or remnant of the Giant Stream. Using PN data we estimate the total mass of the Giant Stream progenitor to be ≈109 M ☉. About 90% of its stars appear to have been lost during the interaction with M31. Based in part on observations collected at the German-Spanish Astronomical Center (DSAZ), Calar Alto, operated by the Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie Heidelberg jointly with the Spanish National Commission for Astronomy.
    The Astronomical Journal 01/2014; 147(1):16-. · 4.97 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: HERMES is a new high-resolution multi-object spectrograph on the Anglo Australian Telescope. The primary science driver for HERMES is the GALAH survey, GALactic Archaeology with HERMES. We are planning a spectroscopic survey of about a million stars, aimed at using chemical tagging techniques to reconstruct the star-forming aggregates that built up the disk, the bulge and halo of the Galaxy. This project will benefit greatly from the stellar distances and transverse motions from the Gaia mission.
    12/2013;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The early science results from the new generation of high-resolution stellar spectroscopic surveys, such as GALAH and the Gaia-ESO survey, will represent major milestones in the quest to chemically tag the Galaxy. Yet this technique to reconstruct dispersed coeval stellar groups has remained largely untested until recently. We build on previous work that developed an empirical chemical tagging probability function, which describes the likelihood that two field stars are conatal, that is, they were formed in the same cluster environment. In this work we perform the first ever blind chemical tagging experiment, i.e., tagging stars with no known or otherwise discernable associations, on a sample of 714 disc field stars with a number of high quality high resolution homogeneous metal abundance measurements. We present evidence that chemical tagging of field stars does identify coeval groups of stars, yet these groups may not represent distinct formation sites, e.g. as in dissolved open clusters, as previously thought. Our results point to several important conclusions, among them that group finding will be limited strictly to chemical abundance space, e.g. stellar ages, kinematics, colors, temperature and surface gravity do not enhance the detectability of groups. We also demonstrate that in addition to its role in probing the chemical enrichment and kinematic history of the Galactic disc, chemical tagging represents a powerful new stellar age determination technique.
    12/2013; 438(4).
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of a new faint dwarf galaxy, GHOSTS I, using HST/ACS data from one of our GHOSTS (Galaxy Halos, Outer disks, Substructure, Thick disk, and Star clusters) fields. Its detected individual stars populate an approximately one magnitude range of its luminosity function (LF). Using synthetic color-magnitude diagrams (CMDs) to compare with the galaxy's CMD, we find that the colors and magnitudes of GHOSTS I's individual stars are most consistent with being young helium-burning and asymptotic giant branch stars at a distance of 12 +/- 2 Mpc. Morphologically, GHOSTS I appears to be actively forming stars, so we tentatively classify it as a dwarf irregular (dIrr) galaxy, although future HST observations deep enough to resolve a larger magnitude range in its LF are required to make a more secure classification. GHOSTS I's absolute magnitude is $M_V = -9.85^{+ 0.40}_{- 0.33}$, making it one of the least luminous dIrr galaxies known, and its metallicity is lower than [Fe/H] =-1.5 dex. The half-light radius of GHOSTS I is 226 +/- 38 pc and its ellipticity is 0.47 +/- 0.07, similar to Milky Way and M31 dwarf satellites at comparable luminosity. There are no luminous massive galaxies or galaxy clusters within ~ 4 Mpc from GHOSTS I that could be considered as its host, making it a very isolated dwarf galaxy in the Local Universe.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2013; 780(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We have developed a method to identify planetary nebula (PN) candidates in imaging data of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). This method exploits the SDSS' five-band sampling of emission lines in PN spectra, which results in a color signature distinct from that of other sources. Selection criteria based on this signature can be applied to nearby galaxies in which PNe appear as point sources. We applied these criteria to the whole area of M31 as scanned by the SDSS, selecting 167 PN candidates that are located in the outer regions of M31. The spectra of 80 selected candidates were then observed with the 2.2m telescope at Calar Alto Observatory. These observations and cross-checks with literature data show that our method has a selection rate efficiency of about 90%, but the efficiency is different for the different groups of PNe candidates. In the outer regions of M31, PNe trace different well-known morphological features like the Northern Spur, the NGC205 Loop, the G1 Clump, etc. In general, the distribution of PNe in the outer region 8<R<20 kpc along the minor axis shows the "extended disk" - a rotationally supported low surface brightness structure with an exponential scale length of 3.21+/-0.14 kpc and a total mass of ~10^10 M_{\sun}, which is equivalent to the mass of M33. We report the discovery of three PN candidates with projected locations in the center of Andromeda NE, a very low surface brightness giant stellar structure in the outer halo of M31. Two of the PNe were spectroscopically confirmed as genuine PNe. These two PNe are located at projected distances along the major axis of ~48 Kpc and ~41 Kpc from the center of M31 and are the most distant PNe in M31 found up to now.
    11/2013;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Galactic satellite galaxies provide a unique opportunity to map the history of early star formation and chemical evolution, the baryonic feedback on gas and dark matter, and the structure of low-mass dark matter halos, in surviving examples of the first galaxies. We are using VLT-FLAMES spectroscopy to map the kinematics and chemical abundances of stars in several ultra-faint dwarf spheroidal galaxies and the enigmatic Orphan Stream in the Halo. Two paths of early chemical enrichment at very low iron abundance are observed directly: one rapid and carbon-rich (CEMP-no), one slow and carbon-normal. We deduce long-lived, low-rate star formation in Boötes-I, implying insignificant dynamical feedback on the structure of its dark matter halo, and find remarkably similar kinematics in the apparently discrete systems Segue 1 and the Orphan Stream.
    The Messenger. 03/2013;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We undertake an investigation into the spatial structure of the M31 satellite system utilizing the distance distributions presented in a previous publication. These distances make use of the unique combination of depth and spatial coverage of the Pan-Andromeda Archaeological Survey (PAndAS) to provide a large, homogeneous sample consisting of 27 of M31's satellites, as well as M31 itself. We find that the satellite distribution, when viewed as a whole, is no more planar than one would expect from a random distribution of equal size. A disk consisting of 15 of the satellites is however found to be highly significant, and strikingly thin, with a root-mean-square thickness of just $12.34^{+0.75}_{-0.43}$ kpc. This disk is oriented approximately edge on with respect to the Milky Way and almost perpendicular to the Milky Way disk. It is also roughly orthogonal to the disk like structure regularly reported for the Milky Way satellite system and in close alignment with M31's Giant Stellar Stream. A similar analysis of the asymmetry of the M31 satellite distribution finds that it is also significantly larger than one would expect from a random distribution. In particular, it is remarkable that 20 of the 27 satellites most likely lie on the Milky Way side of the galaxy, with the asymmetry being most pronounced within the satellite subset forming the aforementioned disk. This lopsidedness is all the more intriguing in light of the apparent orthogonality observed between the satellite disk structures of the Milky Way and M31.
    The Astrophysical Journal 01/2013; 766(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Observations were carried out using the Fibre Large Array Multi Element Spectrograph (FLAMES) multi-object fibre system feeding the Ultraviolet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph (UVES; R~45000) at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) as a part of service programme 072.B-0331B over nine nights in 2004. (2 data files).
    VizieR Online Data Catalog. 01/2013;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Wrapping around the Milky Way, the Sagittarius (Sgr) stream is the most dominant substructure in the halo. Its progenitor, the Sgr dwarf galaxy, has been assumed to be a non-rotating, pressure-supported dwarf spheroidal galaxy. However, to date, no such model for the interaction of Sgr with the Milky Way has been able to reproduce all of the observational features of the stream. We have obtained spectra of over 21,000 stars in the stream and the core of Sgr, providing the most comprehensive spectral observations ever taken for this system. Our analysis demonstrates that Sgr is unlikely to have originated as a disk galaxy. Using careful selection criteria, we have identified several hundred likely members of the Sgr stream. From the most probable members identified, we characterize the chemical and dynamical nature and, through comparison to theory, provide a new mapping of this extended system of Sgr stars.
    01/2013;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The first generation of large-scale chemical tagging surveys, in particular the HERMES/GALAH million star survey, promises to vastly expand our understanding of the chemical and dynamical evolution of the Galaxy. This, however, is contingent on our ability to confidently perform chemical tagging on such a large data-set. Chemical homogeneity has been observed across a range of elements within several Galactic open clusters, yet the level to which this is the case globally, and particularly in comparison to the scatter across clusters themselves, is not well understood. The patterns of elements in coeval cluster members, occupying a complex chemical abundance space, are rooted in the evolution, ultimately the nature of the very late stages, of early generations of stars. The current astrophysical models of such stages are not yet sufficient to explain all observations, combining with our significant gaps in the understanding of star formation, makes this a difficult arena to tackle theoretically. Here, we describe a robust pair-wise metric used to gauge the chemical difference between two stellar components. This metric is then applied to a database of high-resolution literature abundance sources to derive a function describing the probability that two stars are of common evolutionary origin. With this cluster probability function, it will be possible to report a confidence, grounded in empirical observational evidence, with which clusters are detected, independent of the group finding methods. This formulation is also used to probe the role of chemical dimensionality, and that of individual chemical species, on the ability of chemical tagging to differentiate coeval groups of stars.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 10/2012; 428(3). · 5.52 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In `A Bayesian Approach to Locating the Red Giant Branch Tip Magnitude (PART I),' a new technique was introduced for obtaining distances using the TRGB standard candle. Here we describe a useful complement to the technique with the potential to further reduce the uncertainty in our distance measurements by incorporating a matched-filter weighting scheme into the model likelihood calculations. In this scheme, stars are weighted according to their probability of being true object members. We then re-test our modified algorithm using random-realization artificial data to verify the validity of the generated posterior probability distributions (PPDs) and proceed to apply the algorithm to the satellite system of M31, culminating in a 3D view of the system. Further to the distributions thus obtained, we apply a satellite-specific prior on the satellite distances to weight the resulting distance posterior distributions, based on the halo density profile. Thus in a single publication, using a single method, a comprehensive coverage of the distances to the companion galaxies of M31 is presented, encompassing the dwarf spheroidals Andromedas I - III, V, IX-XXVII and XXX along with NGC147, NGC 185, M33 and M31 itself. Of these, the distances to Andromeda XXIV - XXVII and Andromeda XXX have never before been derived using the TRGB. Object distances are determined from high-resolution tip magnitude posterior distributions generated using the Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) technique and associated sampling of these distributions to take into account uncertainties in foreground extinction and the absolute magnitude of the TRGB as well as photometric errors. The distance PPDs obtained for each object both with, and without the aforementioned prior are made available to the reader in tabular form...
    The Astrophysical Journal 09/2012; 758(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: KOALA, the Kilofibre Optimised Astronomical Lenslet Array, is a wide-field, high efficiency integral field unit being designed for use with the bench mounted AAOmega spectrograph on the AAT. KOALA will have 1000 fibres in a rectangular array with a selectable field of view of either 1390 or 430 sq. arcseconds with a spatial sampling of 1.25" or 0.7" respectively. To achieve this KOALA will use a telecentric double lenslet array with interchangeable fore-optics. The IFU will feed AAOmega via a 31m fibre run. The efficiency of KOALA is expected to be ≍ 52% at 3700A and ≍ 66% at 6563°Å with a throughput of > 52% over the entire wavelength range.
    Proc SPIE 09/2012;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Sagittarius dwarf galaxy and its vast associated stellar stream represent the most dramatic example of a satellite accreting onto the Milky Way in the past few billion years. We present an in-depth characterisation of the Sagittarius core using spectra of over 7,000 red giant stars taken with AAOmega on the AAT, and show the first results of stream and core data together. Future observations with HERMES will yield detailed abundances to compare with models of chemical enrichment.
    08/2012;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The High Efficiency and Resolution Multi Element Spectrograph, HERMES is an optical spectrograph designed primarily for the GALAH, Galactic Archeology Survey, the first major attempt to create a detailed understanding of galaxy formation and evolution by studying the history of our own galaxy, the Milky Way1. The goal of the GALAH survey is to reconstruct the mass assembly history of the of the Milky way, through a detailed spatially tagged abundance study of one million stars in the Milky Way. The spectrograph will be based at the Anglo Australian Telescope (AAT) and be fed with the existing 2dF robotic fibre positioning system. The spectrograph uses VPH-gratings to achieve a spectral resolving power of 28,000 in standard mode and also provides a high resolution mode ranging between 40,000 to 50,000 using a slit mask. The GALAH survey requires a SNR greater than 100 aiming for a star brightness of V=14. The total spectral coverage of the four channels is about 100nm between 370 and 1000nm for up to 392 simultaneous targets within the 2 degree field of view. Current efforts are focused on manufacturing and integration. The delivery date of spectrograph at the telescope is scheduled for 2013. A performance prediction is presented and a complete overview of the status of the HERMES spectrograph is given. This paper details the following specific topics: The approach to AIT, the manufacturing and integration of the large mechanical frame, the opto-mechanical slit assembly, collimator optics and cameras, VPH gratings, cryostats, fibre cable assembly, instrument control hardware and software, data reduction.
    Proc. SPIE 8446, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy IV, Amsterdam, Netherlands; 07/2012
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We analyzed the radial surface brightness profile of the spiral galaxy NGC 7793 using HST/ACS images from the GHOSTS survey and a new HST/WFC3 image across the disk break. We used the photometry of resolved stars to select distinct populations covering a wide range of stellar ages. We found breaks in the radial profiles of all stellar populations at 280" (~5.1 kpc). Beyond this disk break, the profiles become steeper for younger populations. This same trend is seen in numerical simulations where the outer disk is formed almost entirely by radial migration. We also found that the older stars of NGC 7793 extend significantly farther than the underlying HI disk. They are thus unlikely to have formed entirely at their current radii, unless the gas disk was substantially larger in the past. These observations thus provide evidence for substantial stellar radial migration in late-type disks.
    The Astrophysical Journal 06/2012; 753(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present a new abundance analysis of the intermediate age Galactic open cluster NGC 3680, based on high resolution, high signal-to-noise VLT/UVES spectroscopic data. Several element abundances are presented for this cluster for the first time, but most notably we derive abundances for the light and heavy s-process elements Y, Ba, La, and Nd. The serendipitous measurement of the rare-earth r-process element Gd is also reported. This cluster exhibits a significant enhancement of Na in giants as compared to dwarfs, which may be a proxy for an O to Na anti-correlation as observed in Galactic globular clusters but not open clusters. We also observe a step-like enhancement of heavy s-process elements towards higher atomic number, contrary to expectations from AGB nucleosynthesis models, suggesting that the r-process played a significant role in the generation of both La and Nd in this cluster
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 03/2012; 422(4). · 5.52 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present the star formation history (SFH) of the faintest known star-forming galaxy, Leo T, based on imaging taken with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2). The HST/WFPC2 color-magnitude diagram (CMD) of Leo T is exquisitely deep, extending ~ 2 magnitudes below the oldest main sequence turnoff, permitting excellent constraints on star formation at all ages. We use a maximum likelihood CMD fitting technique to measure the SFH of Leo T assuming three different sets of stellar evolution models: Padova (solar-scaled metallicity) and BaSTI (both solar-scaled and alpha-enhanced metallicities). The resulting SFHs are remarkably consistent at all ages, indicating that our derived SFH is robust to the choice of stellar evolution model. From the lifetime SFH of Leo T, we find that 50% of the total stellar mass formed prior to z ~ 1 (7.6 Gyr ago). Subsequent to this epoch, the SFH of Leo T is roughly constant until the most recent ~ 25 Myr, where the SFH shows an abrupt drop. This decrease could be due to a cessation of star formation or stellar initial mass function sampling effects, but we are unable to distinguish between the two scenarios. Overall, our measured SFH is consistent with previously derived SFHs of Leo T. However, the HST-based solution provides improved age resolution and reduced uncertainties at all epochs. The SFH, baryonic gas fraction, and location of Leo T are unlike any of the other recently discovered faint dwarf galaxies in the Local Group, and instead bear strong resemblance to gas-rich dwarf galaxies (irregular or transition), suggesting that gas-rich dwarf galaxies may share common modes of star formation over a large range of stellar mass (~ 10^5-10^9 Msun).
    The Astrophysical Journal 01/2012; 748(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
  • 01/2012;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present an analysis of the WISE photometric data for 829 stars in the Sco-Cen OB2 association, using the latest high-mass membership probabilities. We detect infrared excesses associated with 135 BAF-type stars, 99 of which are secure Sco-Cen members. There is a clear increase in excess fraction with membership probability, which can be fitted linearly. We infer that 41+-5% of Sco-Cen OB2 BAF stars to have excesses, while the field star excess fraction is consistent with zero. This is the first time that the probability of non-membership has been used in the calculation of excess fractions for young stars. We do not observe any significant change in excess fraction between the three subgroups. Within our sample, we have observed that B-type association members have a significantly smaller excess fraction than A and F-type association members.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 12/2011; · 5.52 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present a new approach for identifying the Tip of the Red Giant Branch (TRGB) which, as we show, works robustly even on sparsely populated targets. Moreover, the approach is highly adaptable to the available data for the stellar population under study, with prior information readily incorporable into the algorithm. The uncertainty in the derived distances is also made tangible and easily calculable from posterior probability distributions. We provide an outline of the development of the algorithm and present the results of tests designed to characterize its capabilities and limitations. We then apply the new algorithm to three M31 satellites: Andromeda I, Andromeda II and the fainter Andromeda XXIII, using data from the Pan-Andromeda Archaeological Survey (PAndAS), and derive their distances as $731^{(+ 5) + 18}_{(- 4) - 17}$ kpc, $634^{(+ 2) + 15}_{(- 2) - 14}$ kpc and $733^{(+ 13)+ 23}_{(- 11) - 22}$ kpc respectively, where the errors appearing in parentheses are the components intrinsic to the method, while the larger values give the errors after accounting for additional sources of error. These results agree well with the best distance determinations in the literature and provide the smallest uncertainties to date. This paper is an introduction to the workings and capabilities of our new approach in its basic form, while a follow-up paper shall make full use of the method's ability to incorporate priors and use the resulting algorithm to systematically obtain distances to all of M31's satellites identifiable in the PAndAS survey area.
    The Astrophysical Journal 07/2011; 740(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

3k Citations
400.25 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2010–2014
    • Macquarie University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 2013
    • French National Centre for Scientific Research
      • Observatoire astronomique de Strasbourg
      Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France
  • 2006–2010
    • University of Cambridge
      • Institute of Astronomy
      Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
    • Johns Hopkins University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2009
    • University of Chicago
      • Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
      Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • 2005–2009
    • Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
      Heidelburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 2008
    • The University of Tokyo
      • Institute for Cosmic Ray Research
      Edo, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 2007
    • University of Washington Seattle
      • Department of Astronomy
      Seattle, Washington, United States
  • 2004
    • Carnegie Institution for Science
      Washington, West Virginia, United States
  • 2003
    • Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics
      Arching, Bavaria, Germany