M. H. Siegel

Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Maryland, United States

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Publications (462)352.98 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We use deep Swift UV/Optical Telescope (UVOT) near-ultraviolet (1600A to 4000A) imaging of the Chandra Deep Field South to measure the rest-frame far-UV (FUV; 1500A) luminosity function (LF) in four redshift bins between z=0.2 and 1.2. Our sample includes 730 galaxies with u < 24.1 mag. We use two methods to construct and fit the LFs: the traditional V_max method with bootstrap errors and a maximum likelihood estimator. We observe luminosity evolution such that M* fades by ~2 magnitudes from z~1 to z~0.3 implying that star formation activity was substantially higher at z~1 than today. We integrate our LFs to determine the FUV luminosity densities and star formation rate densities from z=0.2 to 1.2. We find evolution consistent with an increase proportional to (1+z)^1.9 out to z~1. Our luminosity densities and star formation rates are consistent with those found in the literature, but are, on average, a factor of ~2 higher than previous FUV measurements. In addition, we combine our UVOT data with the MUSYC survey to model the galaxies' ultraviolet-to-infrared spectral energy distributions and estimate the rest-frame FUV attenuation. We find that accounting for the attenuation increases the star formation rate densities by ~1 dex across all four redshift bins.
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    ABSTRACT: When measuring star formation rates using ultraviolet light, correcting for dust extinction is a critical step. However, with the variety of dust extinction curves to choose from, the extinction correction is quite uncertain. Here, we use Swift/UVOT to measure the extinction curve for star-forming regions in the SMC and M33. We find that both the slope of the curve and the strength of the 2175 Angstrom bump vary across both galaxies. In addition, as part of our modeling, we derive a detailed recent star formation history for each galaxy.
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    ABSTRACT: We present the results of our ongoing investigation into the properties of hot stars and young stellar populations using the Swift/UVOT telescope. We present UVOT photometry of open and globular clusters and show that UVOT is capable of characterizing a variety of rare hot stars, including Post-Asymptotic Giant Branch and Extreme Horizontal Branch Stars. We also present very early reults of our survey of stellar populations in the Small Magellanic Cloud. We find that the SMC has experienced recent bouts of star formation but constraining the exact star formation history will depend on finding an effective model of the reddening within the SMC.
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    ABSTRACT: We present the first Swift Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope Serendipitous Source Catalogue (UVOTSSC). The catalogue was compiled from 23,059 Swift datasets taken within the first five years of observations with the Swift UVOT. A purpose-built processing pipeline, based around the standard Swift processing tools, was employed. The catalogue contains positions, photometry in three UV and three optical bands, morphological information and data quality flags. In total, the catalogue contains 6,200,016 unique sources of which more than 2 million have multiple observations in the catalogue.
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    ABSTRACT: Recent intensive Swift monitoring of the Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC 5548 yielded 282 usable epochs over 125 days across six UV/optical bands and the X-rays. This is the densest extended AGN UV/optical continuum sampling ever obtained, with a mean sampling rate < 0.5-day. Approximately daily HST UV sampling was also obtained. The UV/optical light curves show strong correlations (r_max = 0.57 - 0.90) and the clearest measurement to date of interband lags. These lags are well-fit by a lambda^4/3 wavelength dependence, with a normalization that indicates an unexpectedly large disk size of ~0.35 +/- 0.05 lt-day at 1367 A, assuming a simple face-on model. The U-band shows a marginally larger lag than expected from the fit and surrounding bands, which could be due to Balmer continuum emission from the broad-line region as suggested by Korista and Goad. The UV/X-ray correlation is weaker (r_max < 0.45) and less consistent over time. This indicates that while Swift is beginning to measure UV/optical lags in agreement with accretion disk theory, the relationship between X-ray and UV variability is less fully understood. Combining this accretion disk size estimate with those estimated from quasar microlensing studies suggests that AGN disk sizes scale approximately linearly with central black hole mass over a wide range of masses.
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    ABSTRACT: We describe the first results from a six-month long reverberation-mapping experiment in the ultraviolet based on 170 observations of the Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC 5548 with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph on the Hubble Space Telescope. Significant correlated variability is found in the continuum and broad emission lines, with amplitudes ranging from ~30% to a factor of two in the emission lines and a factor of three in the continuum. The variations of all the strong emission lines lag behind those of the continuum, with He II 1640 lagging behind the continuum by ~2.5 days and Lyman alpha 1215, C IV 1550, and Si IV 1400 lagging by ~5-6 days. The relationship between the continuum and emission lines is complex. In particular, during the second half of the campaign, all emission-line lags increased by a factor of 1.3-2 and differences appear in the detailed structure of the continuum and emission-line light curves. Velocity-resolved cross-correlation analysis shows coherent structure in lag versus line-of-sight velocity for the emission lines; the high-velocity wings of C IV respond to continuum variations more rapidly than the line core, probably indicating higher velocity BLR clouds at smaller distances from the central engine. The velocity-dependent response of Lyman alpha, however, is more complex and will require further analysis.
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    ABSTRACT: We present the calibration of the Swift UVOT grisms, of which there are two, providing low-resolution field spectroscopy in the ultraviolet and optical bands respectively. The UV grism covers the range 1700-5000 Angstrom with a spectral resolution of 75 at 2600 Angstrom for source magnitudes of u=10-16 mag, while the visible grism covers the range 2850-6600 Angstrom with a spectral resolution of 100 at 4000 Angstrom for source magnitudes of b=12-17 mag. This calibration extends over all detector positions, for all modes used during operations. The wavelength accuracy (1-sigma) is 9 Angstrom in the UV grism clocked mode, 17 Angstrom in the UV grism nominal mode and 22 Angstrom in the visible grism. The range below 2740 Angstrom in the UV grism and 5200 Angstrom in the visible grism never suffers from overlapping by higher spectral orders. The flux calibration of the grisms includes a correction we developed for coincidence loss in the detector. The error in the coincidence loss correction is less than 20%. The position of the spectrum on the detector only affects the effective area (sensitivity) by a few percent in the nominal modes, but varies substantially in the clocked modes. The error in the effective area is from 9% in the UV grism clocked mode to 15% in the visible grism clocked mode .
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 01/2015; 449(3). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stv408 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We describe the motivations and background of a large survey of nearby stel- lar populations using the Ultraviolet Optical Telescope (UVOT) aboard the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission. UVOT, with its wide field, NUV sensitivity, and 2.3 spatial resolution, is uniquely suited to studying nearby stellar populations and providing insight into the NUV properties of hot stars and the contribution of those stars to the integrated light of more distant stellar populations. We review the state of UV stellar photometry, outline the survey, and address problems spe- cific to wide- and crowded-field UVOT photometry. We present color-magnitude diagrams of the nearby open clusters M 67, NGC 188, and NGC 2539, and the globular cluster M 79. We demonstrate that UVOT can easily discern the young- and intermediate-age main sequences, blue stragglers, and hot white dwarfs, pro- ducing results consistent with previous studies. We also find that it characterizes the blue horizontal branch of M 79 and easily identifies a known post-asymptotic giant branch star.
    The Astronomical Journal 08/2014; 148(6). DOI:10.1088/0004-6256/148/6/131 · 4.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a Hubble Space Telescope (HST) study of stellar proper motions (PMs) for four fields spanning 200 degrees along the Sagittarius (Sgr) stream: one field in the trailing arm, one field near the Sgr dSph tidal radius, and two fields in the leading arm. From data with 6-9 year time baselines, we determine absolute PMs of dozens of individual stars per field, using established techniques that use distant background galaxies to define a stationary reference frame. Stream stars are identified based on combined color-magnitude diagram (CMD) and PM information. The results are broadly consistent with the few existing PM measurements for the Sgr dwarf spheroidal galaxy (dSph) and the trailing arm. However, our new results provide the highest PM accuracy for the stream to date, the first PM measurements for the leading arm, and the first PM measurements for individual stream stars [We also serendipitously determine the PM of the globular cluster NGC 6652 to be ($\mu_{\rm W}$, $\mu_{\rm N}$) = (5.66 $\pm$ 0.07, $-$4.45 $\pm$ 0.10) mas yr$^{-1}$]. In the trailing-arm field, the individual PMs allow us to kinematically separate trailing-arm stars from leading-arm stars that are 360 degrees further ahead in their orbit around the Milky Way (MW). Also, in three of our fields we find indications that two distinct kinematical components may exist within the same arm and wrap of the stream. Qualitative comparison of the HST data to the predictions of the Law & Majewski N-body model of the stream show that the PM measurements closely follow the predicted trend with Sgr longitude. While this does not necessarily indicate that the triaxial MW dark halo shape inferred from the $N$-body model is correct, it does provide a successful consistency check using PM data that the model was not tailored to reproduce. Quantitative data-model comparisons will be presented in a companion paper.
    The Astrophysical Journal 08/2014; 803(2). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/803/2/56 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present optical and ultraviolet (UV) photometry and spectra of the very nearby and highly reddened supernova (SN) 2014J in M82 obtained with the Swift Ultra-Violet/Optical Telescope (UVOT). Comparison of the UVOT grism spectra of SN~2014J with Hubble Space Telescope observations of SN2011fe or UVOT grism spectra of SN~2012fr are consistent with an extinction law with a low value of R_V~1.4. The high reddening causes the detected photon distribution in the broadband UV filters to have a much longer effective wavelength than for an unreddened SN. The light curve evolution is consistent with this shift and does not show a flattening due to photons being scattered back into the line of sight. The light curve shapes and color evolution are inconsistent with a contribution scattered into the line of sight by circumstellar dust. We conclude that most or all of the high reddening must come from interstellar dust. We show that even for a single dust composition, there is not a unique reddening law caused by circumstellar scattering. Rather, when considering scattering from a time-variable source, we confirm earlier studies that the reddening law is a function of the dust geometry, column density, and epoch. We also show how an assumed geometry of dust as a foreground sheet in mixed stellar/dust systems will lead to a higher inferred R_V. Rather than assuming the dust around SNe is peculiar, SNe may be useful probes of the interstellar reddening laws in other galaxies.
    The Astrophysical Journal 08/2014; 805(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/805/1/74 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Swift Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope (UVOT) has recently completed the first wide-field multi-color NUV survey of the Small Magellanic Cloud. The resulting images, the product of nearly two complete days of imaging, covers nearly four square degrees and includes over 250,000 NUV sources. We present the first analysis of this outstanding data set, looking at the recent star formation history of the SMC, the distribution of young stellar populations over the face of the SMC, the location of rare stellar types such as Post-Asymptotic Giant Branch stars, and the SMC dust extinction law.
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    ABSTRACT: We present the first results of a survey of open and globular clusters using the Ultraviolet Optical Telescope (UVOT) aboard the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission. Photometry of 50 open and globular clusters from UVOT reveals the expected sequences of bright main sequence stars, blue horizontal branch stars and extreme horizontal branch stars. It also reveals unusual hot UV-bright stars such as AGB Manque stars and Post-Asymptotic Giant Branch Stars. Comparison to theoretical isochrones and HB evolution models indicate good agreement with the data. UVOT's ability to detect and characterize hot UV-bright stars promises better constraint on evolutionary models and an improvement in our understanding of more distant unresolved stellar populations.
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    ABSTRACT: Since the advent of the Swift satellite it has been possible to obtain precise localisations of GRB positions of sub-arcsec accuracy within seconds, facilitating ground-based robotic telescopes to automatically slew to the target within seconds. This has yielded a plethora of observational data for the afterglow phase of the GRB, but the quantity of data (<2 keV) covering the initial prompt emission still remains small. Only in a handful of cases has it been possible obtain simultaneous coverage of the prompt emission in a multi-wavelength regime (gamma-ray to optical), as a result of: observing the field by chance prior to the GRB (e.g. 080319B/naked-eye burst), long-prompt emission (e.g., 080928, 110205A) or triggered on a pre-cursor (e.g., 041219A, 050820A, 061121). This small selection of bursts have shown both correlated and uncorrelated gamma-ray and optical light curve behaviour, and the multi-wavelength emission mechanism remains far from resolved (i.e. single population synchrotron self-Component, electron distributions, additional neutron components or residual collisions). Such multi-wavelength observations during the GRB prompt phase are pivotal in providing further insight on the poorly understood prompt emission mechanism. We add to this small sample the Swift burst 121217A that had two distinct periods of prompt emission separated by ~700 s, observed by Swift/BAT, Swift/XRT and Fermi/GBM. As a result of the time delay of the second emission, it enabled optical imaging (from 3 to 7 bands) to be taken with the GROND instrument to a resolution as fine as 10s. This multi-wavelength data will hopefully allow us to shed more light on the current picture of prompt emission physics.
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    ABSTRACT: The mechanism that causes the prompt-emission episode of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) is still widely debated despite there being thousands of prompt detections. The favoured internal shock model relates this emission to synchrotron radiation. However, it does not always explain the spectral indices of the shape of the spectrum, often fit with empirical functions. Multi-wavelength observations are therefore required to help investigate the possible underlying mechanisms that causes the prompt emission. We present GRB 121217A, for which we were able to observe its near-infrared (NIR) emission during a secondary prompt-emission episode with the Gamma-Ray Burst Optical Near-infrared Detector (GROND) in combination with the Swift and Fermi satellites, covering an energy range of 0.001 keV to 100 keV. We determine a photometric redshift of z=3.1+/-0.1 with a line-of-sight extinction of A_V~0 mag, utilising the optical/NIR SED. From the afterglow, we determine a bulk Lorentz factor of Gamma~250 and an emission radius of R<10^18 cm. The prompt-emission broadband spectral energy distribution is well fit with a broken power law with b1=-0.3+/-0.1, b2=0.6+/-0.1 that has a break at E=6.6+/-0.9 keV, which can be interpreted as the maximum injection frequency. Self-absorption by the electron population below energies of E_a<6 keV suggest a magnetic field strength of B~10^5 G. However, all the best fit models underpredict the flux observed in the NIR wavelengths, which also only rebrightens by a factor of ~2 during the second prompt emission episode, in stark contrast to the X-ray emission, which rebrightens by a factor of ~100, suggesting an afterglow component is dominating the emission. We present GRB 121217A one of the few GRBs for which there are multi-wavelength observations of the prompt-emission period and show that it can be understood with a synchrotron radiation model.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 12/2013; 562. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201322600 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this study we compare the photometric data of 34 Milky Way globular clusters, observed within the ACS Treasury Program (PI: Ata Sarajedini) with the corresponding ground-based data, provided by the Photometric Standard Field Catalogs of Stetson (2000, 2005). We focus on the transformation between the HST/ACS F606W to V-band and F814W to I-band only. The goal is to assess the validity of the filter transformation equations by Sirianni et al.(2005) with respect to their dependence on metallicity, Horizontal Branch morphology, mass and integrated (V-I) colour of the various globular clusters. Such a dependence is expected due to the fact that the transformation equations are based on the observations of only one globular cluster, i.e., NGC 2419. Surprisingly, the correlation between offset and metallicity is found to be weak, with a low level significance. The correlation between offset and Horizontal Branch structure, as well as total cluster mass is still weaker. Based on the available data we do not find the photometric offset to be linked to multiple stellar populations, e.g., as found in NGC 0288, NGC 1851, and NGC 5139. The results of this study show that there are small systematic offsets between the transformed ACS- and observed ground based photometry, and that these are only weakly correlated, if at all, with various cluster parameters and their underlying stellar populations. As a result, investigators wishing to transform globular cluster photometry from the Sirianni et al.(2005) ground-based V, I system onto the Stetson (2000) system simply need to add 0.040 (+/-0.012) to the V-band magnitudes and 0.047 (+/-0.011) to the I-band magnitudes. This in turn means that the transformed ACS (V-I) colours match the ground-based values from Stetson (2000) to within ~0.01 mag.
    The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 12/2013; 211(1). DOI:10.1088/0067-0049/211/1/1 · 14.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: GRB 110918A is the brightest long GRB detected by Konus-WIND during its 19 years of continuous observations and the most luminous GRB ever observed since the beginning of the cosmological era in 1997. We report on the final IPN localization of this event and its detailed multiwavelength study with a number of space-based instruments. The prompt emission is characterized by a typical duration, a moderare $E_{peak}$ of the time-integrated spectrum, and strong hard-to-soft evolution. The high observed energy fluence yields, at z=0.984, a huge isotropic-equivalent energy release $E_{iso}=(2.1\pm0.1)\times10^{54}$ erg. The record-breaking energy flux observed at the peak of the short, bright, hard initial pulse results in an unprecedented isotropic-equivalent luminosity $L_{iso}=(4.7\pm0.2)\times10^{54}$erg s$^{-1}$. A tail of the soft gamma-ray emission was detected with temporal and spectral behavior typical of that predicted by the synchrotron forward-shock model. Swift/XRT and Swift/UVOT observed the bright afterglow from 1.2 to 48 days after the burst and revealed no evidence of a jet break. The post-break scenario for the afterglow is preferred from our analysis, with a hard underlying electron spectrum and ISM-like circumburst environment implied. We conclude that, among multiple reasons investigated, the tight collimation of the jet must have been a key ingredient to produce this unusually bright burst. The inferred jet opening angle of 1.7-3.4 deg results in reasonable values of the collimation-corrected radiated energy and the peak luminosity, which, however, are still at the top of their distributions for such tightly collimated events. We estimate a detection horizon for a similar ultraluminous GRB of $z\sim7.5$ for Konus-WIND, and $z\sim12$ for Swift/BAT, which stresses the importance of GRBs as probes of the early Universe.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2013; 779(2):151. DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/779/2/151 · 6.28 Impact Factor
  • M. H. Siegel, C. Pagani

Publication Stats

1k Citations
352.98 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2009–2015
    • Pennsylvania State University
      • Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
      University Park, Maryland, United States
  • 2005–2013
    • Space Telescope Science Institute
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2011
    • William Penn University
      Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2004–2009
    • University of Texas at Austin
      • Department of Astronomy
      Austin, Texas, United States
  • 2008
    • Concordia University Texas
      Austin, Texas, United States
  • 2001–2008
    • University of Virginia
      • Department of Astronomy
      Charlottesville, VA, United States
  • 2006
    • University of California, Santa Cruz
      • Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
      Santa Cruz, California, United States
  • 1999–2001
    • The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
      Los Altos, California, United States