K. C. Freeman

Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

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Publications (419)1419.98 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We provide APASS photometry in the Landolt BV and Sloan g'r'i' bands for all the 425,743 stars included in the latest 4th RAVE Data Release. The internal accuracy of the APASS photometry of RAVE stars, expressed as error of the mean of data obtained and separately calibrated over a median of 4 distinct observing epochs and distributed between 2009 and 2013, is 0.013, 0.012, 0.012, 0.014 and 0.021 mag for B, V, g', r' and i' band, respectively. The equally high external accuracy of APASS photometry has been verified on secondary Landolt and Sloan photometric standard stars not involved in the APASS calibration process, and on a large body of literature data on field and cluster stars, confirming the absence of offsets and trends. Compared with the Carlsberg Meridian Catalog (CMC-15), APASS astrometry of RAVE stars is accurate to a median value of 0.098 arcsec. Brightness distribution functions for the RAVE stars have been derived in all bands. APASS photometry of RAVE stars, augmented by 2MASS JHK infrared data, has been chi2 fitted to a densely populated synthetic photometric library designed to widely explore in temperature, surface gravity, metallicity and reddening. Resulting Teff and E(B-V), computed over a range of options, are provided and discussed, and will be kept updated in response to future APASS and RAVE data releases. In the process it is found that the reddening caused by an homogeneous slab of dust, extending for 140 pc on either side of the Galactic plane and responsible for E(B-V,poles)=0.036 +/- 0.002 at the galactic poles, is a suitable approximation of the actual reddening encountered at Galactic latitudes |b|>=25 deg.
    The Astronomical Journal 08/2014; 148(5). · 4.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a study of the chemical abundances of Solar neighbourhood stars associated to dynamical structures in the Milky Way's (thick) disk. These stars were identified as overdensity in the eccentricity range 0.3< ecc < 0.5 in the Copenhagen-Geneva Survey by Helmi et al. (2006). We find that the stars with these dynamical characteristics do not constitute a homogeneous population. A relatively sharp transition in dynamical and chemical properties appears to occur at a metallicity of [Fe/H] ~ -0.4. Stars with [Fe/H] > -0.4 have mostly lower eccentricities, smaller vertical velocity dispersions, are alpha-enhanced and define a rather narrow sequence in [alpha/Fe] vs [Fe/H], clearly distinct from that of the thin disk. Stars with [Fe/H] < -0.4 have a range of eccentricities, are hotter vertically, and depict a larger spread in [alpha/Fe]. We have also found tentative evidence of substructure possibly associated to the disruption of a metal-rich star cluster. The differences between these populations of stars is also present in e.g. [Zn/Fe], [Ni/Fe] and [SmII/Fe], suggesting a real physical distinction.
    The Astrophysical Journal 07/2014; 791(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We determine the Galactic potential in the solar neigbourhood from RAVE observations. We select red clump stars for which accurate distances, radial velocities and metallicities have been measured. Combined with data from the 2MASS and UCAC catalogues, we build a sample of ~4600 red clump stars within a cylinder of 500 pc radius oriented in the direction of the South Galactic Pole, in the range of 200 pc to 2000 pc distances. We deduce the vertical force and the total mass density distribution up to 2 kpc away from the Galactic plane by fitting a distribution function depending explicitly on three isolating integrals of the motion in a separable potential locally representing the Galactic one with four free parameters. Due to the deep extension of our sample, we can determine nearly independently the dark matter mass density and the baryonic disk surface mass density. We find (i) at 1 kpc K_z/(2\pi G)=68.5+/-1.0 Msun/pc2, and (ii) at 2kpc Kz/(2\pi G)=96.9+/-2.2 Msun/pc2. Assuming the solar Galactic radius at R0=8.5 kpc, we deduce the local dark matter density rho_{DM}(z=0)=0.0143+/-0.0011Msun/pc3=0.542+/-0.042 Gev/cm3 and the baryonic surface mass density Sigma{bar}=44.4+/-4.1 Msun/pc2. Our results are in agreement with previously published Kz determinations up to 1 kpc, while the extension to 2 kpc shows some evidence for an unexpectedly large amount of dark matter. A flattening of the dark halo of order 0.8 can produce such a high local density in combination with a circular velocity of 240 km/s. Another explanation, allowing for a lower circular velocity, could be the presence of a secondary dark component, a very thick disk resulting either from the deposit of dark matter from the accretion of multiple small dwarf galaxies, or from the presence of an effective 'phantom' thick disk in the context of effective galactic-scales modifications of gravity.
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    ABSTRACT: We investigate the kinematic parameters of the Milky Way disc using the RAVE and GCS stellar surveys. We do this by fitting a kinematic model to the data taking the selection function of the data into account. For stars in the GCS we use all phase-space coordinates, but for RAVE stars we use only $(l,b,v_{\rm los})$. Using MCMC technique, we investigate the full posterior distributions of the parameters given the data. We investigate the `age-velocity dispersion' relation for the three kinematic components ($\sigma_R,\sigma_{\phi},\sigma_z$), the radial dependence of the velocity dispersions, the Solar peculiar motion ($U_{\odot},V_{\odot}, W_{\odot} $), the circular speed $\Theta_0$ at the Sun and the fall of mean azimuthal motion with height above the mid-plane. We confirm that the Besan\c{c}on-style Gaussian model accurately fits the GCS data, but fails to match the details of the more spatially extended RAVE survey. In particular, the Shu distribution function (DF) handles non-circular orbits more accurately and provides a better fit to the kinematic data. The Gaussian distribution function not only fits the data poorly but systematically underestimates the fall of velocity dispersion with radius. We find that correlations exist between a number of parameters, which highlights the importance of doing joint fits. The large size of the RAVE survey, allows us to get precise values for most parameters. However, large systematic uncertainties remain, especially in $V_{\odot}$ and $\Theta_0$. We find that, for an extended sample of stars, $\Theta_0$ is underestimated by as much as $10\%$ if the vertical dependence of the mean azimuthal motion is neglected. Using a simple model for vertical dependence of kinematics, we find that it is possible to match the Sgr A* proper motion without any need for $V_{\odot}$ being larger than that estimated locally by surveys like GCS.
    The Astrophysical Journal 05/2014; 793(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have obtained radial velocity measurements for 51 new globular clusters around the Sombrero galaxy. These measurements were obtained using spectroscopic observations from the AAOmega spectrograph on the Anglo-Australian Telescope and the Hydra spectrograph at WIYN. Combined with our own past measurements and velocity measurements obtained from the literature we have constructed a large database of radial velocities that contains a total of 360 confirmed globular clusters. Previous studies' analyses of the kinematics and mass profile of the Sombrero globular cluster system have been constrained to the inner ~9' (~24 kpc or ~5 effective radii), but our new measurements have increased the radial coverage of the data, allowing us to determine the kinematic properties of M104 out to ~15' (~41 kpc or ~9 effective radii). We use our set of radial velocities to study the GC system kinematics and to determine the mass profile and V-band mass-to-light profile of the galaxy. We find that the V-band mass-to-light ratio increases from 4.5 at the center to a value of 20.9 at 41 kpc (~9 effective radii or 15'), which implies that the dark matter halo extends to the edge of our available data set. We compare our mass profile at 20 kpc (~4 effective radii or ~7.4') to the mass computed from x-ray data and find good agreement. We also use our data to look for rotation in the globular cluster system as a whole, as well as in the red and blue subpopulations. We find no evidence for significant rotation in any of these samples.
    The Astronomical Journal 03/2014; 147(6). · 4.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We explore the kinematics and orbital properties of a sample of 323 very metal-poor stars in the halo system of the Milky Way, and with high-resolution spectroscopy available, selected from the recent studies of Aoki et al. and Yong et al. The combined sample contains a significant fraction of carbon-enhanced metal-poor (CEMP) stars (22% or 29% depending on whether a strict or relaxed criterion is applied for this definition). Barium abundances (or upper limits) are available for the great majority of the CEMP stars, allowing for their separation into the CEMP-s and CEMP-no sub-classes. A new method to assign membership to the inner- and outer-halo populations of the Milky Way is developed, making use of the integrals of motion, and applied to determine the relative fractions of CEMP stars in these two sub-classes for each halo component. Although limited by small-number statistics, the data suggest that the inner halo of the Milky Way exhibits a somewhat higher relative number of CEMP-s stars than CEMP-no stars (57% vs. 43%), while the outer halo possesses a clearly higher fraction of CEMP-no stars than CEMP-$s$ stars (70% vs. 30%). Although larger samples of CEMP stars with known Ba abundances are required, this result suggests that the dominant progenitors of CEMP stars in the two halo components were different; massive stars for the outer halo, and intermediate-mass stars in the case of the inner halo. Implications of these findings are discussed in the context of hierarchical Galaxy formation and in connection with the Initial Mass Function (IMF) of the primordial sub-Galactic fragments responsible for the formation of the halo system during the early assembly of the Milky Way.
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    ABSTRACT: By selecting in the RAVE-DR4 survey the stars located between 1 and 2 kpc above the Galactic plane, we question the consistency of the simplest three-component model (thin disc, thick disc, halo) for the Milky Way. We confirm that the metallicity and azimuthal velocity distribution functions of the thick disc are not Gaussian. In particular, we find that the thick disc has an extended metallicity tail going at least down to [M/H]=-2 dex, contributing roughly at 3% of the entire thick disc population and having a shorter scale-length compared to the canonical thick disc. The mean azimuthal velocity of these metal-poor stars allows us to estimate the correlation between the metallicity and the orbital velocity, which is an important constraint on the formation mechanisms of the Galactic thick disc. Given our simple approach, we find dVphi/d[M/H] ~ 50 km/s/dex, which is in a very good agreement with previous literature values. We complete the study with a brief discussion on the implications of the formation scenarios for the thick disc, and suggest that given the above mentioned characteristics, a thick disc mainly formed by radial migration mechanisms seems unlikely.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 10/2013; 436(4). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: RAVE, the unbiased magnitude limited survey of southern sky stars, contained 456,676 medium-resolution spectra at the time of our analysis. Spectra cover the Ca II infrared triplet (IRT) range, which is a known indicator of chromospheric activity. Our previous work classified all spectra using locally linear embedding. It identified 53,347 cases with a suggested emission component in calcium lines. Here, we use a spectral subtraction technique to measure the properties of this emission. Synthetic templates are replaced by the observed spectra of non-active stars to bypass the difficult computations of non-local thermal equilibrium profiles of the line cores and stellar parameter dependence. We derive both the equivalent width of the excess emission for each calcium line on a 5 Å wide interval and their sum EWIRT for ~44,000 candidate active dwarf stars with signal-to-noise ratio >20, with no cuts on the basis of the source of their emission flux. From these, ~14,000 show a detectable chromospheric flux with at least a 2σ confidence level. Our set of active stars vastly enlarges previously known samples. Atmospheric parameters and, in some cases, radial velocities of active stars derived from automatic pipelines suffer from systematic shifts due to their shallower calcium lines. We re-estimate the effective temperature, metallicity, and radial velocities for candidate active stars. The overall distribution of activity levels shows a bimodal shape, with the first peak coinciding with non-active stars and the second with the pre-main-sequence cases. The catalog will be made publicly available with the next RAVE public data releases.
    The Astrophysical Journal 10/2013; 776(2):127-. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Diffuse interstellar bands are usually observed in spectra of hot stars, where interstellar lines are rarely blended with stellar ones. The need for hot stars is a strong limitation in the number of sightlines we can observe and the distribution of sightlines in the Galaxy, as hot stars are rare and concentrated in the Galactic plane. We are introducing a new method, where interstellar lines can be observed in spectra of cool stars in large spectroscopic surveys. The method is completely automated and does not require prior knowledge of the stellar parameters. If known, the stellar parameters only reduce the computational time and are not involved in the extraction of the interstellar spectrum. The main step in extracting interstellar lines is a construction of the stellar spectrum, which is in our method done by finding other observed spectra that lack interstellar features and are otherwise very similar to the spectrum in question. Such spectra are then combined into a single stellar spectrum template, which matches the stellar component in an observed spectrum. We demonstrate the performance of this new method on a sample of 482,430 spectra observed in RAVE survey. However, many spectra have to be combined (48 on average) in order to achieve a S/N ratio high enough to measure the DIB's profile, hence limiting the spatial information about the ISM. Only one strong interstellar line is included in the RAVE spectral range, a diffuse interstellar band at 8620 \AA. We compare its equivalent width with extinction maps and with Bayesian reddening, calculated for individual stars, and provide a linear relation between the equivalent width and reddening. Separately from the introduced method, we calculate equivalent widths of the diffuse interstellar band in spectra of hot stars with known extinction and compare all three linear relations with each other and with relations from the literature.
    The Astrophysical Journal 09/2013; 778(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We construct new estimates on the Galactic escape speed at various Galactocentric radii using the latest data release of the Radial Velocity Experiment (RAVE DR4). Compared to previous studies we have a database larger by a factor of 10 as well as reliable distance estimates for almost all stars. Our analysis is based on the statistical analysis of a rigorously selected sample of 90 high-velocity halo stars from RAVE and a previously published data set. We calibrate and extensively test our method using a suite of cosmological simulations of the formation of Milky Way-sized galaxies. Our best estimate of the local Galactic escape speed, which we define as the minimum speed required to reach three virial radii R340, is 537 +59 -43 km/s (90% confidence) with an additional 5% systematic uncertainty, where R340 is the Galactocentric radius encompassing a mean overdensity of 340 times the critical density for closure in the Universe. From the escape speed we further derive estimates of the mass of the Galaxy using a simple mass model with two options for the mass profile of the dark matter halo: an unaltered and an adiabatically contracted Navarro, Frenk & White (NFW) sphere. If we fix the local circular velocity the latter profile yields a significantly higher mass than the uncontracted halo, but if we instead use the statistics on halo concentration parameters in large cosmological simulations as a constraint we find very similar masses for both models. Our best estimate for M340, the mass interior to R340 (dark matter and baryons), is 1.4 +0.5 -0.3 x 10^12 M_sun (corresponding to M200 = 1.6 +0.5 -0.4 x 10^12 M_sun). This estimate is in good agreement with recently published independent mass estimates based on the kinematics of more distant halo stars and the satellite galaxy Leo I.
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    ABSTRACT: RAVE, the unbiased magnitude limited survey of the southern sky stars, contained 456,676 medium-resolution spectra at the time of our analysis. Spectra cover the CaII IRT range which is a known indicator of chromospheric activity. Our previous work (Matijevi\v{c} et al. 2012) classified all spectra using locally linear embedding. It identified 53,347 cases with a suggested emission component in calcium lines. Here we use a spectral subtraction technique to measure the properties of this emission. Synthetic templates are replaced by the observed spectra of non-active stars to bypass the difficult computations of non-LTE profiles of the line cores and stellar parameter dependence. We derive both the equivalent width of the excess emission for each calcium line on a 5\AA\ wide interval and their sum EW_IRT for ~44,000 candidate active dwarf stars with S/N>20 and with no respect to the source of their emission flux. From these ~14,000 show a detectable chromospheric flux with at least 2\sigma\ confidence level. Our set of active stars vastly enlarges previously known samples. Atmospheric parameters and in some cases radial velocities of active stars derived from automatic pipeline suffer from systematic shifts due to their shallower calcium lines. We re-estimate the effective temperature, metallicity and radial velocities for candidate active stars. The overall distribution of activity levels shows a bimodal shape, with the first peak coinciding with non-active stars and the second with the pre main-sequence cases. The catalogue will be publicly available with the next RAVE public data releases.
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    ABSTRACT: We investigate the diffuse light in the outer regions of the nearby elliptical galaxy M87 in the Virgo cluster, using planetary nebulas (PNs) as tracers. The surveyed areas (0.43 squared degrees) cover M87 up to a radial distance of 150 kpc, in the ransition region between galaxy halo and intracluster light (ICL). All PNs are identified through the on-off band technique using automatic selection criteria based on the distribution of the detected sources in the colour-magnitude diagram and the properties of their point-spread function. We extract a catalogue of 688 objects down to m_5007=28.4, with an estimated residual contamination from foreground stars and background Lyalpha galaxies, which amounts to ~35% of the sample. This is one of the largest extragalactic PN samples in number of candidates, magnitude depth, and radial extent, which allows us to carry out an unprecedented photometric study of the PN population in the outer regions of M87. We find that the logarithmic density profile of the PN distribution is shallower than the surface brightness profile at large radii. This behaviour is consistent with the superposition of two components associated with the halo of M87 and with the ICL, which have different luminosity specific PN numbers, the ICL contributing three times more PNs per unit light. Because of the depth of this survey we are also able to study the shape of the PN luminosity function (PNLF) in the outer regions of M87. We find a slope for the PNLF that is steeper at fainter magnitudes than the standard analytical PNLF formula and adopt a generalised model that treats the slope as a free parameter. Comparing the PNLF of M87 and the M31 bulge, both normalised by the sampled luminosity, the M87 PNLF contains fewer bright PNs and has a steeper slope towards fainter magnitudes.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 08/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Using spectra from the Hydra spectrograph on the 3.5m WIYN telescope and from the AAOmega spectrograph on the 3.9m Anglo-Australian Telescope, we have measured heliocentric radial velocities for >50 globular clusters in the Sombrero Galaxy (M104). We combine these new measurements with those from previous studies to construct and analyze a total sample of >360 globular cluster velocities in M104. We use the line-of-sight velocity dispersion to determine the mass and mass-to-light ratio profiles for the galaxy using a spherical, isotropic Jeans mass model. In addition to the increased sample size, our data provide a significant expansion in radial coverage compared to previous spectroscopic studies. This allows us to reliably compute the mass profile of M104 out to ~43 kpc, nearly 14 kpc farther into the halo than previous work. We find that the mass-to-light ratio profile increases from the center to a value of ~20 at 43 kpc. We also look for the presence of rotation in the globular cluster system as a whole and within the red and blue subpopulations. Despite the large number of clusters and better radial sampling, we do not find strong evidence of rotation.
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    ABSTRACT: The stellar kinematics of the spheroids and discs of S0 galaxies contain clues to their formation histories. Unfortunately, it is difficult to disentangle the two components and to recover their stellar kinematics in the faint outer parts of the galaxies using conventional absorption line spectroscopy. This paper therefore presents the stellar kinematics of six S0 galaxies derived from observations of planetary nebulae, obtained using the Planetary Nebula Spectrograph. To separate the kinematics of the two components, we use a maximum-likelihood method that combines the discrete kinematic data with a photometric component decomposition. The results of this analysis reveal that: the discs of S0 galaxies are rotationally supported; however, the amount of random motion in these discs is systematically higher than in comparable spiral galaxies; and the S0s lie around one magnitude below the Tully-Fisher relation for spiral galaxies, while their spheroids lie nearly one magnitude above the Faber-Jackson relation for ellipticals. All of these findings are consistent with a scenario in which spirals are converted into S0s through a process of mild harassment or `pestering,' with their discs somewhat heated and their spheroid somewhat enhanced by the conversion process. In such a scenario, one might expect the properties of S0s to depend on environment. We do not see such an effect in this fairly small sample, although any differences would be diluted by the fact that the current location does not necessarily reflect the environment in which the transformation occurred. Similar observations of larger samples probing a broader range of environments, coupled with more detailed modelling of the transformation process to match the wide range of parameters that we have shown can now be measured, should take us from these first steps to the definitive answer as to how S0 galaxies form.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 06/2013; 432(2):1010-1020. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We explore the kinematics and orbital properties of a sample of red giants in the halo system of the Milky Way that are thought to have formed in globular clusters based on their anomalously strong UV/blue CN bands. The orbital parameters of the CN-strong halo stars are compared to those of the inner- and outer-halo populations as described by Carollo et al., and to the orbital parameters of globular clusters with well-studied Galactic orbits. The CN-strong field stars and the globular clusters both exhibit kinematics and orbital properties similar to the inner-halo population, indicating that stripped or destroyed globular clusters could be a significant source of inner-halo field stars, and suggesting that both the CN-strong stars and the majority of globular clusters are primarily associated with this population.
    The Astrophysical Journal 05/2013; 769(2):87. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: H{\alpha} observations centred on galaxies selected from the HI Parkes All Sky Survey (HIPASS, Barnes et al. 2001) typically show one and sometimes two star-forming galaxies within the approximately 15-arcminute beam of the Parkes 64-m HI detections. In our Survey of Ionization in Neutral Gas Galaxies (SINGG, Meurer et al. 2006) we found fifteen cases of HIPASS sources containing four or more emission line galaxies (ELGs). We name these fields Choir groups. In the most extreme case we found a field with at least nine ELGs. In this paper we present a catalogue of Choir group members in the context of the wider SINGG sample. The dwarf galaxies in the Choir groups would not be individually detectable in HIPASS at the observed distances if they were isolated, but are detected in SINGG narrow-band imaging due to their membership of groups with sufficiently large total HI mass. The ELGs in these groups are similar to the wider SINGG sample in terms of size, H{\alpha} equivalent width, and surface brightness. Eight of these groups have two large spiral galaxies with several dwarf galaxies and may be thought of as morphological analogues of the Local Group. However, on average our groups are not significantly HI-deficient, suggesting that they are at an early stage of assembly, and more like the M81 group. The Choir groups are very compact at typically only 190 kpc in projected distance between the two brightest members. They are very similar to SINGG fields in terms of star formation efficiency (the ratio of star formation rate to HI mass; SFE), showing an increasing trend in SFE with stellar mass.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 04/2013; 433(1). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Context. The origins of S0 galaxies remain obscure, with various mechanisms proposed for their formation, likely depending on environment. These mechanisms would imprint different signatures in the galaxies' stellar kinematics out to large radii, offering a method for distinguishing between them. Aims: We aim to study a sample of six S0 galaxies from a range of environments, and use planetary nebulae (PNe) as tracers of their stellar populations out to very large radii, to determine their kinematics in order to understand their origins. Methods: Using a special-purpose instrument, the Planetary Nebula Spectrograph, we observe and extract PNe catalogues for these six systems. Results: We show that the PNe have the same spatial distribution as the starlight, that the numbers of them are consistent with what would be expected in a comparable old stellar population in elliptical galaxies, and that their kinematics join smoothly onto those derived at smaller radii from conventional spectroscopy. Conclusions: The high-quality kinematic observations presented here form an excellent set for studying the detailed kinematics of S0 galaxies, in order to unravel their formation histories. We find that PNe are good tracers of stellar kinematics in these systems. We show that the recovered kinematics are largely dominated by rotational motion, although with significant random velocities in most cases. Full Tables 3-7 are available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr ( or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/549/A115
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 03/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The shape of the dark matter halo of a galaxy offers valuable clues on the physical nature of dark matter. In this series of papers, we model the structure and kinematics of the baryons in edge-on galaxies. The flaring of the HI disk provides a measure of the vertical force field of that disk. In a similar way, the rotation curve provides a measure of the horizontal force field. As the galaxies are at rest, the combination of these two provides all the required ingredients for full hydrostatic models. We use these models to analyze their potential wells as generated by the dark matter halo and its shape. In this first paper, we explain this project in more detail and present the HI observations of our sample of 8 edge-on galaxies. We also argue that self-absorption of the HI has a significant effect in these galaxies.
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    ABSTRACT: The RAVE survey, combined with proper motions and distance estimates, can be used to study in detail stellar kinematics in the extended solar neighbourhood (solar suburb). Using the red clump, we examine the mean velocity components in 3D between an R of 6 and 10 kpc and a Z of -2 to 2 kpc, concentrating on North-South differences. Simple parametric fits to the R, Z trends for VPHI and the velocity dispersions are presented. We confirm the recently discovered gradient in mean Galactocentric radial velocity, VR, finding that the gradient is more marked below the plane, with a Z gradient also present. The vertical velocity, VZ, also shows clear structure, with indications of a rarefaction-compression pattern, suggestive of wave-like behaviour. We perform a rigorous error analysis, tracing sources of both systematic and random errors. We confirm the North-South differences in VR and VZ along the line-of-sight, with the VR estimated independent of the proper motions. The complex three-dimensional structure of velocity space presents challenges for future modelling of the Galactic disk, with the Galactic bar, spiral arms and excitation of wave-like structures all probably playing a role.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 02/2013; 436(1). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The sky background is over 1000 times brighter in the near-infrared (NIR) than in the visible placing severe limitations on our ability to study the redshifted light from the distant objects formed in the early Universe from the ground. It is well-known that 98% of the NIR background comes from the forest of bright and highly variable emission lines of atmospheric hydroxyl (OH) molecules. Unfortunately, astronomers have been unable to effectively remove this background from their data. We present the first OH suppression unit, GNOSIS, to utilize fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs). Simple FBGs are optical fibers with a periodic refractive index modulation imprinted within the fiber core, which induces a strong reflection in a narrow 0.2 nm) stopband. GNOSIS utilizes “OH suppression fibers” with a complex aperiodic refractive index modulation capable of removing the 103 brightest OH doublets between 1470 and 1700 nm by up 30 dB before dispersion and in a manner purely dependent on wavelength. The OH suppression fibers have high throughput 60%) and over 90% of the H band is available for spectroscopy. OH suppression units like GNOSIS may be utilized with any NIR telescope and spectrograph combination, but we commissioned GNOSIS at the 3.9-meter Anglo-Australian Telescope with the IRIS2 spectrograph for our first demonstration. Commissioning reveals excellent suppression performance. Approximately 78% of the OH lines were suppressed at the target level or greater. GNOSIS reduces the integrated background between 1500 and 1700 nm by a factor of ~ 9 but the signal-to-noise ratio is about the same as standard long-slit IRIS2 observations due to retrofitting to an un-optimized spectrograph. Nevertheless, if paired with a fiber-optimized spectrograph FBG OH suppression technology shows great promise for high sensitivity NIR spectroscopy at moderate to low resolutions from the ground.

Publication Stats

7k Citations
1,419.98 Total Impact Points


  • 1989–2014
    • Australian National University
      • • Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics
      • • Mount Stromlo Observatory
      Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
  • 2013
    • National Optical Astronomy Observatory
      Tucson, Arizona, United States
  • 2012
    • Saint Mary's University
      Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 2009–2011
    • University of Concepción
      • Departamento de Física
      Ciudad de Concepcion, Biobío, Chile
  • 2010
    • University of Oxford
      • Department of Physics
      Oxford, England, United Kingdom
  • 1998–2009
    • University of Washington Seattle
      • Department of Astronomy
      Seattle, WA, United States
    • Astronomical Society of Australia
      Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
  • 2008
    • Space Research Institute
      Moskva, Moscow, Russia
    • ANU College
      Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
    • University of Canberra
      Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
    • National University (California)
      San Diego, California, United States
  • 1998–2008
    • The Astronomical Observatory of Brera
      Merate, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2007
    • University of Nottingham
      • School of Physics and Astronomy
      Nottigham, England, United Kingdom
    • Macquarie University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • 2006
    • Michigan State University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      East Lansing, Michigan, United States
    • Swinburne University of Technology
      • Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing
      Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 2001–2006
    • University of Santiago, Chile
      CiudadSantiago, Santiago, Chile
    • Johns Hopkins University
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2005
    • Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias
      San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Canary Islands, Spain
  • 2003
    • Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics
      Arching, Bavaria, Germany
  • 2002
    • University of Colorado at Boulder
      • Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy
      Boulder, CO, United States
  • 1995–2002
    • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
      Livermore, California, United States
    • University of California, Davis
      • Department of Physics
      Davis, CA, United States
    • University of Wisconsin, Madison
      • Department of Astronomy
      Mississippi, United States
  • 1999
    • McMaster University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
    • University of Notre Dame
      • Department of Physics
      Washington, D. C., DC, United States
  • 1994
    • University of Padova
      Padua, Veneto, Italy