B. L. Babler

University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States

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Publications (192)554.16 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present new Herschel photometric and spectroscopic observations of Supernova 1987A, carried out in 2012. Our dedicated photometric measurements provide new 70 micron data and improved imaging quality at 100 and 160 micron compared to previous observations in 2010. Our Herschel spectra show only weak CO line emission, and provide an upper limit for the 63 micron [O I] line flux, eliminating the possibility that line contaminations distort the previously estimated dust mass. The far-infrared spectral energy distribution (SED) is well fitted by thermal emission from cold dust. The newly measured 70 micron flux constrains the dust temperature, limiting it to nearly a single temperature. The far-infrared emission can be fitted by 0.5+-0.1 Msun of amorphous carbon, about a factor of two larger than the current nucleosynthetic mass prediction for carbon. The observation of SiO molecules at early and late phases suggests that silicates may also have formed and we could fit the SED with a combination of 0.3 Msun of amorphous carbon and 0.5 Msun of silicates, totalling 0.8 Msun of dust. Our analysis thus supports the presence of a large dust reservoir in the ejecta of SN 1987A. The inferred dust mass suggests that supernovae can be an important source of dust in the interstellar medium, from local to high-redshift galaxies.
    11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The spatial variations of the gas-to-dust ratio (GDR) provide constraints on the chemical evolution and lifecycle of dust in galaxies. We examine the relation between dust and gas at 10-50 pc resolution in the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (LMC and SMC) based on Herschel far-infrared (FIR), H I 21 cm, CO, and Halpha observations. In the diffuse atomic ISM, we derive the gas-to-dust ratio as the slope of the dust-gas relation and find gas-to-dust ratios of 380+250-130 in the LMC, and 1200+1600-420 in the SMC, not including helium. The atomic-to-molecular transition is located at dust surface densities of 0.05 Mo pc-2 in the LMC and 0.03 Mo pc-2 in the SMC, corresponding to AV ~ 0.4 and 0.2, respectively. We investigate the range of CO-to-H2 conversion factor to best account for all the molecular gas in the beam of the observations, and find upper limits on XCO to be 6x1020 cm-2 K-1 km-1 s in the LMC (Z=0.5Zo) at 15 pc resolution, and 4x 1021 cm-2 K-1 km-1 s in the SMC (Z=0.2Zo) at 45 pc resolution. In the LMC, the slope of the dust-gas relation in the dense ISM is lower than in the diffuse ISM by a factor ~2, even after accounting for the effects of CO-dark H2 in the translucent envelopes of molecular clouds. Coagulation of dust grains and the subsequent dust emissivity increase in molecular clouds, and/or accretion of gas-phase metals onto dust grains, and the subsequent dust abundance (dust-to-gas ratio) increase in molecular clouds could explain the observations. In the SMC, variations in the dust-gas slope caused by coagulation or accretion are degenerate with the effects of CO-dark H2. Within the expected 5--20 times Galactic XCO range, the dust-gas slope can be either constant or decrease by a factor of several across ISM phases. Further modeling and observations are required to break the degeneracy between dust grain coagulation, accretion, and CO-dark H2.
    11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present the analysis of supernova remnants (SNRs) in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and their influence on the environment at far-infrared (FIR) and submillimeter wavelengths. We use new observations obtained with the {\it Herschel} Space Observatory and archival data obtained with the {\it Spitzer} Space Telescope, to make the first FIR atlas of these objects. The SNRs are not clearly discernible at FIR wavelengths, however their influence becomes apparent in maps of dust mass and dust temperature, which we constructed by fitting a modified black-body to the observed spectral energy distribution in each sightline. Most of the dust that is seen is pre-existing interstellar dust in which SNRs leave imprints. The temperature maps clearly reveal SNRs heating surrounding dust, while the mass maps indicate the removal of 3.7$^{+7.5}_{-2.5}$ M$_{\odot}$ of dust per SNR. This agrees with the calculations by others that significant amounts of dust are sputtered by SNRs. Under the assumption that dust is sputtered and not merely pushed away, we estimate a dust destruction rate in the LMC of $0.037^{+0.075}_{-0.025}$ M$_\odot$ yr$^{-1}$ due to SNRs, yielding an average lifetime for interstellar dust of $2^{+4.0}_{-1.3}\times10^7$ yr. We conclude that sputtering of dust by SNRs may be an important ingredient in models of galactic evolution, that supernovae may destroy more dust than they produce, and that they therefore may not be net producers of long lived dust in galaxies.
    10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present a new algorithm, named Autonomous Gaussian Decomposition (AGD), for automatically decomposing spectra into Gaussian components. AGD uses derivative spectroscopy and machine learning to provide optimized guesses for the number of Gaussian components in the data, and also their locations, widths, and amplitudes. We test AGD and find that it produces results comparable to human-derived solutions on 21cm absorption spectra from the 21cm SPectral line Observations of Neutral Gas with the EVLA (21-SPONGE) survey. We use AGD with Monte Carlo methods to derive the HI line completeness as a function of peak optical depth and velocity width for the 21-SPONGE data, and also show that the results of AGD are stable against varying observational noise intensity. The autonomy and computational efficiency of the method over traditional manual Gaussian fits allow for truly unbiased comparisons between observations and simulations, and for the ability to scale up and interpret the very large data volumes from the upcoming Square Kilometer Array and pathfinder telescopes.
    09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The dust properties in the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are studied using the HERITAGE Herschel Key Project photometric data in five bands from 100 to 500 micron. Three simple models of dust emission were fit to the observations: a single temperature blackbody modified by a power- law emissivity (SMBB), a single temperature blackbody modified by a broken power-law emissivity (BEMBB), and two blackbodies with different temperatures, both modified by the same power-law emissivity (TTMBB). Using these models we investigate the origin of the submm excess; defined as the submillimeter (submm) emission above that expected from SMBB models fit to observations < 200 micron. We find that the BEMBB model produces the lowest fit residuals with pixel-averaged 500 micron submm excesses of 27% and 43% for the LMC and SMC, respectively. Adopting gas masses from previous works, the gas-to-dust ratios calculated from our the fitting results shows that the TTMBB fits require significantly more dust than are available even if all the metals present in the interstellar medium (ISM) were condensed into dust. This indicates that the submm excess is more likely to be due to emissivity variations than a second population of colder dust. We derive integrated dust masses of (7.3 +/- 1.7) x 10^5 and (8.3 +/- 2.1) times 10^4 M(sun) for the LMC and SMC, respectively. We find significant correlations between the submm excess and other dust properties; further work is needed to determine the relative contributions of fitting noise and ISM physics to the correlations.
    06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We use the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) to conduct a high-sensitivity survey of neutral hydrogen (HI) absorption in the Milky Way. In combination with corresponding HI emission spectra obtained mostly with the Arecibo Observatory, we detect a widespread warm neutral medium (WNM) component with excitation temperature = 7200 (+1800,-1200) K (68% confidence). This temperature lies above theoretical predictions based on collisional excitation alone, implying that Ly-{\alpha} scattering, the most probable additional source of excitation, is more important in the interstellar medium (ISM) than previously assumed. Our results demonstrate that HI absorption can be used to constrain the Ly-{\alpha} radiation field, a critical quantity for studying the energy balance in the ISM and intergalactic medium yet notoriously difficult to model because of its complicated radiative transfer, in and around galaxies nearby and at high redshift.
    01/2014; 781(2).
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    ABSTRACT: We will report on the first year and a half of observations with the University of Wisconsin's Halfwave Polarimeter (HPOL) instrument at the University of Toledo's Ritter Observatory. HPOL is a medium resolution spectropolarimeter, providing wavelength coverage from 3200 angstroms to 1.05 microns with a 10 angstrom resolution. It was previously a facility instrument at the Pine Bluff Observatory (PBO) of the University of Wisconsin, going off-line in October 2004. We will present the calibration work performed to demonstrate the instrument and telescope stability, which is comparable to the stability of HPOL at PBO. Selected results from the first year and a half of operation will also be presented. The refurbishment of HPOL has been partially funded by a Small Research Grant from the AAS, and also by the Scott E. Smith Fund for Research at Ritter Observatory.
    01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The Spitzer Space Telescope Legacy Program SAGE-SMC allows global studies of resolved stellar populations in the SMC in a different environment than our Galaxy. Using the SAGE-SMC IRAC (3.6-8.0 μm) and MIPS (24 and 70 μm) catalogs and images combined with near-infrared (JHK s ) and optical (UBVI) data, we identified a population of ~1000 intermediate- to high-mass young stellar objects (YSOs) in the SMC (three times more than previously known). Our method of identifying YSO candidates builds on the method developed for the Large Magellanic Cloud by Whitney et al. with improvements based on what we learned from our subsequent studies and techniques described in the literature. We perform (1) color-magnitude cuts based on five color-magnitude diagrams (CMDs), (2) visual inspection of multi-wavelength images, and (3) spectral energy distribution (SED) fitting with YSO models. For each YSO candidate, we use its photometry to calculate a measure of our confidence that the source is not a non-YSO contaminant, but rather a true YSO, based on the source's location in the color-magnitude space with respect to non-YSOs. We use this CMD score and the SED fitting results to define two classes of sources: high-reliability YSO candidates and possible YSO candidates. We found that, due to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon emission, about half of our sources have [3.6]-[4.5] and [4.5]-[5.8] colors not predicted by previous YSO models. The YSO candidates are spatially correlated with gas tracers.
    The Astrophysical Journal 11/2013; 778(1):15-. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Open stellar clusters are extremely valuable probes of Galactic structure, star formation, kinematics, and chemical abundance patterns. Near-infrared (NIR) data have enabled the detection of hundreds of clusters hidden from optical surveys, and mid-infrared (MIR) data are poised to offer an even clearer view into the most heavily obscured parts of the Milky Way. We use new MIR images from the Spitzer GLIMPSE-360, Cyg-X, and SMOG surveys to visually identify a large number of open cluster candidates in the outer disk of the Milky Way (65° < l < 265°). Using NIR color-magnitude diagrams, stellar isochrones, and stellar reddening estimates, we derive cluster parameters (metallicity, distance, reddening) for those objects without previous identification and/or parameters in the literature. In total, we present coordinates and sizes of 20 previously unknown open cluster candidates; for 7 of these we also present metallicity, distance, and reddening values. In addition, we provide the first estimates of these values for nine clusters that had been previously cataloged. We compare our cluster sizes and other derived parameters to those in the open cluster catalog of Dias et al. and find strong similarities except for a higher mean reddening for our objects, which signifies our increased detection sensitivity in regions of high extinction. The results of this cluster search and analysis demonstrate the ability of MIR imaging and photometry to augment significantly the current census of open clusters in the Galaxy.
    The Astronomical Journal 08/2013; 146(3):64. · 4.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present an overview of the HERschel Inventory of The Agents of Galaxy Evolution (HERITAGE) in the Magellanic Clouds project, which is a Herschel Space Observatory open time key program. We mapped the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) at 100, 160, 250, 350, and 500 μm with the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE) and Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS) instruments on board Herschel using the SPIRE/PACS parallel mode. The overriding science goal of HERITAGE is to study the life cycle of matter as traced by dust in the LMC and SMC. The far-infrared and submillimeter emission is an effective tracer of the interstellar medium (ISM) dust, the most deeply embedded young stellar objects (YSOs), and the dust ejected by the most massive stars. We describe in detail the data processing, particularly for the PACS data, which required some custom steps because of the large angular extent of a single observational unit and overall the large amount of data to be processed as an ensemble. We report total global fluxes for the LMC and SMC and demonstrate their agreement with measurements by prior missions. The HERITAGE maps of the LMC and SMC are dominated by the ISM dust emission and bear most resemblance to the tracers of ISM gas rather than the stellar content of the galaxies. We describe the point source extraction processing and the criteria used to establish a catalog for each waveband for the HERITAGE program. The 250 μm band is the most sensitive and the source catalogs for this band have ~25,000 objects for the LMC and ~5500 objects for the SMC. These data enable studies of ISM dust properties, submillimeter excess dust emission, dust-to-gas ratio, Class 0 YSO candidates, dusty massive evolved stars, supernova remnants (including SN1987A), H II regions, and dust evolution in the LMC and SMC. All images and catalogs are delivered to the Herschel Science Center as part of the community support aspects of the project. These HERITAGE images and catalogs provide an excellent basis for future research and follow up with other facilities.
    The Astronomical Journal 08/2013; 146(3):62. · 4.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Spitzer surveys of the inner Galactic Plane (GLIMPSE I & II) revealed a promising new diagnostic for identifying actively accreting (proto)stars: extended excess emission in the IRAC 4.5 micron band, believed to trace shocked molecular gas in active protostellar outflows. We will present initial results from our search for extended excess 4.5 micron sources in the outer Galaxy GLIMPSE360 survey, focusing on the area of the survey associated with the Perseus arm.
    06/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The GLIMPSE and additional surveys observed the full 360 degrees of longitude of the Galactic Plane with a width that ranged from 2-9 degrees in latitude using the Spitzer Space Telescope. Some regions of the survey include Spitzer MIPS 24 micron as well as the 4 IRAC bands (3.6, 4.5, 5.8, and 8 microns), while others were only observed in 3.6 and 4.5 microns during the “warm mission.” Here we tabulate and describe the different surveys and observing modes that were processed by the GLIMPSE team. We describe the data products (point source lists and cleaned mosaic images) and how to get the data.
    06/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Based on the 3.6 and 4.5 micron images from the Spitzer GLIMPSE360 survey, combined with the WISE 12 micron image, we identified a sample of star formation regions in the outer Galaxy. We study their correlation with the CO clouds from "The Outer Galaxy Molecular Cloud Catalog" (Brunt et al. 2003; based on the FCRAO survey), as well as with known H II regions and masers. We investigate the CO and mid-IR properties as a function of distance and the association with various dynamical features in the Galaxy.
    06/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We characterize the completeness of point source lists from Spitzer Space Telescope surveys in the four Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) bandpasses, emphasizing the Galactic Legacy Infrared Mid-Plane Survey Extraordinaire (GLIMPSE) programs (GLIMPSE I, II, 3D, 360; Deep GLIMPSE) and their resulting point source Catalogs and Archives. The analysis separately addresses effects of incompleteness resulting from high diffuse background emission and incompleteness resulting from point source confusion (i.e., crowding). An artificial star addition and extraction analysis demonstrates that completeness is strongly dependent on local background brightness and structure, with high-surface-brightness regions suffering up to five magnitudes of reduced sensitivity to point sources. This effect is most pronounced at the IRAC 5.8 and 8.0 microns bands where UV-excited PAH emission produces bright, complex structures (photodissociation regions; PDRs). With regard to diffuse background effects, we provide the completeness as a function of stellar magnitude and diffuse background level in graphical and tabular formats. These data are suitable for estimating completeness in the low-source-density limit in any of the four IRAC bands in GLIMPSE Catalogs and Archives and some other Spitzer IRAC programs that employ similar observational strategies and are processed by the GLIMPSE pipeline. Point source incompleteness is primarily a consequence of structure in the diffuse background emission rather than photon noise. With regard to source confusion in the high-source-density regions of the Galactic Plane, we provide figures illustrating the 90% completeness levels as a function of point source density at each band. (Slightly abridged)
    The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 05/2013; 207(1). · 16.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We study the emission by dust and stars in the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, a pair of low-metallicity nearby galaxies, as traced by their spatially resolved spectral energy distributions (SEDs). This project combines Herschel Space Observatory PACS and SPIRE far-infrared photometry with other data at infrared and optical wavelengths. We build maps of dust and stellar luminosity and mass of both Magellanic Clouds, and analyze the spatial distribution of dust/stellar luminosity and mass ratios. These ratios vary considerably throughout the galaxies, generally between the range $0.01\leq L_{\rm dust}/L_\ast\leq 0.6$ and $10^{-4}\leq M_{\rm dust}/M_\ast\leq 4\times10^{-3}$. We observe that the dust/stellar ratios depend on the interstellar medium (ISM) environment, such as the distance from currently or previously star-forming regions, and on the intensity of the interstellar radiation field (ISRF). In addition, we construct star formation rate (SFR) maps, and find that the SFR is correlated with the dust/stellar luminosity and dust temperature in both galaxies, demonstrating the relation between star formation, dust emission and heating, though these correlations exhibit substantial scatter.
    The Astrophysical Journal 10/2012; 761(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a self-consistent three-dimensional Monte-Carlo radiative transfer model of the stellar and dust emission in the Milky-Way, and have computed synthetic observations of the 3.6 to 100 microns emission in the Galactic mid-plane. In order to compare the model to observations, we use the GLIMPSE, MIPSGAL, and IRAS surveys to construct total emission spectra, as well as longitude and latitude profiles for the emission. The distribution of stars and dust is taken from the SKY model, and the dust emissivities includes an approximation of the emission from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in addition to thermal emission. The model emission is in broad agreement with the observations, but a few modifications are needed to obtain a good fit. Firstly, by adjusting the model to include two major and two minor spiral arms rather than four equal spiral arms, the fit to the longitude profiles for |l|>30 degrees can be improved. Secondly, introducing a deficit in the dust distribution in the inner Galaxy results in a better fit to the shape of the IRAS longitude profiles at 60 and 100 microns. With these modifications, the model fits the observed profiles well, although it systematically under-estimates the 5.8 and 8.0 microns fluxes. One way to resolve this discrepancy is to increase the abundance of PAH molecules by 50% compared to the original model, although we note that changes to the dust distribution or radiation field may provide alternative solutions. Finally, we use the model to quantify which stellar populations contribute the most to the heating of different dust types, and which stellar populations and dust types contribute the most to the emission at different wavelengths.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 08/2012; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    The Astronomical Journal 05/2012; 143:127. · 4.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The primary laboratory for developing and testing models of galaxy formation, structure, and evolution is our own Milky Way, the closest large galaxy and the only one in which we can resolve large numbers of individual stars. The recent availability of extensive stellar surveys, particularly infrared ones, has enabled precise, contiguous measurement of large-scale Galactic properties, a major improvement over inferences based on selected, but scattered, sightlines. However, our ability to fully exploit the Milky Way as a galactic laboratory is severely hampered by the fact that its midplane and central bulge -- where most of the Galactic stellar mass lies -- is heavily obscured by interstellar dust. Therefore, proper consideration of the interstellar extinction is crucial. This thesis describes a new extinction-correction method (the RJCE method) that measures the foreground extinction towards each star and, in many cases, enables recovery of its intrinsic stellar type. We have demonstrated the RJCE Method's validity and used it to produce new, reliable extinction maps of the heavily-reddened Galactic midplane. Taking advantage of the recovered stellar type information, we have generated maps probing the extinction at different heliocentric distances, thus yielding information on the elusive three-dimensional distribution of the interstellar dust. We also performed a study of the interstellar extinction law itself which revealed variations previously undetected in the diffuse ISM and established constraints on models of ISM grain formation and evolution. Furthermore, we undertook a study of large-scale stellar structure in the inner Galaxy -- the bar(s), bulge(s), and inner spiral arms. We used observed and extinction-corrected infrared photometry to map the coherent stellar features in these heavily-obscured parts of the Galaxy, placing constraints on models of the central stellar mass distribution.
    01/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: In 2007, R Coronae Borealis (R CrB) went into an historically deep and long decline. In this state, the dust acts like a natural coronagraph at visible wavelengths, allowing faint nebulosity around the star to be seen. Imaging has been obtained from 0.5 to 500 micron with Gemini/GMOS, HST/WFPC2, Spitzer/MIPS, and Herschel/SPIRE. Several of the structures around R CrB are cometary globules caused by wind from the star streaming past dense blobs. The estimated dust mass of the knots is consistent with their being responsible for the R CrB declines if they form along the line of sight to the star. In addition, there is a large diffuse shell extending up to 4 pc away from the star containing cool 25 K dust that is detected all the way out to 500 micron. The SED of R CrB can be well fit by a 150 AU disk surrounded by a very large diffuse envelope which corresponds to the size of the observed nebulosity. The total masses of the disk and envelope are 10^-4 and 2 M(Sun), respectively, assuming a gas-to-dust ratio of 100. The evidence pointing toward a white-dwarf merger or a final-helium-shell flash origin for R CrB is contradictory. The shell and the cometary knots are consistent with a fossil planetary nebula. Along with the fact that R CrB shows significant Lithium in its atmosphere, this supports the final-helium-shell flash. However, the relatively high inferred mass of R CrB and its high fluorine abundance support a white-dwarf merger.
    The Astrophysical Journal 10/2011; 743. · 6.73 Impact Factor
  • Why Galaxies Care about AGB Stars II: Shining Examples and Common Inhabitants; 09/2011

Publication Stats

3k Citations
554.16 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1990–2014
    • University of Wisconsin–Madison
      • Department of Astronomy
      Madison, Wisconsin, United States
  • 2013
    • University of Virginia
      • Department of Astronomy
      Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
  • 1999–2013
    • Space Telescope Science Institute
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2012
    • Raytheon Company
      Waltham, Massachusetts, United States
    • Academia Sinica
      • Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics
      T’ai-pei, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 2008
    • Vanderbilt University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Nashville, Michigan, United States
  • 1997
    • Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1995
    • University of Toledo
      Toledo, Ohio, United States
  • 1994–1995
    • University of Pittsburgh
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States