Kenneth Wood

University of St Andrews, Saint Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom

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Publications (124)433.14 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We report results of VRI photometric monitoring of the T Tauri star plus disk system HH 30 IRS. We find that HH 30 IRS is highly variable over timescales of a few days with mag, mag. Furthermore, DV ∼ 1.5 DI ∼ 1.1 we find hints of periodicity with periodograms indicating possible periods of 11.6 and 19.8 days. The VRI photometry is available through the ANONYMOUS FTP service. We model the variability with Monte Carlo radiation transfer simulations for a spotted star plus disk system and find that the large variability is best reproduced with a single hot spot and circumstellar grains that are larger than typical interstellar grains. The apparent existence of a single hot spot and the need for larger, more forward-throwing grains is consistent with previous modeling of Hubble Space Telescope imagery.
    The Astrophysical Journal 04/2016; 542:21-24. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The diffuse ionized gas (DIG) in galaxies traces photoionization feedback from massive stars. Through three-dimensional photoionization simulations, we study the propagation of ionizing photons, photoionization heating and the resulting distribution of ionized and neutral gas within snapshots of magnetohydrodynamic simulations of a supernova-driven turbulent interstellar medium. We also investigate the impact of non-photoionization heating on observed optical emission line ratios. Inclusion of a heating term which scales less steeply with electron density than photoionization is required to produce diagnostic emission line ratios similar to those observed with the Wisconsin Hα Mapper. Once such heating terms have been included, we are also able to produce temperatures similar to those inferred from observations of the DIG, with temperatures increasing to above 15 000 K at heights |z| ≳ 1 kpc. We find that ionizing photons travel through low-density regions close to the mid-plane of the simulations, while travelling through diffuse low-density regions at large heights. The majority of photons travel small distances (≲100 pc); however some travel kiloparsecs and ionize the DIG.
    05/2014; 440(4).
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    ABSTRACT: The Diffuse Ionised Gas (DIG) in galaxies traces photoionisation feedback from massive stars. Through three dimensional photoionisation simulations, we study the propagation of ionising photons, photoionisation heating and the resulting distribution of ionised and neutral gas within snapshots of magnetohydrodynamic simulations of a supernova driven turbulent interstellar medium. We also investigate the impact of non-photoionisation heating on observed optical emission line ratios. Inclusion of a heating term which scales less steeply with electron density than photoionisation is required to produce diagnostic emission line ratios similar to those observed with the Wisconsin H{\alpha} Mapper. Once such heating terms have been included, we are also able to produce temperatures similar to those inferred from observations of the DIG, with temperatures increasing to above 15000 K at heights |z| > 1 kpc. We find that ionising photons travel through low density regions close to the midplane of the simulations, while travelling through diffuse low density regions at large heights. The majority of photons travel small distances (< 100pc); however some travel kiloparsecs and ionise the DIG.
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    ABSTRACT: We present the Coordinated Synoptic Investigation of NGC 2264, a continuous 30-day multi-wavelength photometric monitoring campaign on more than 1000 young cluster members using 16 telescopes. The unprecedented combination of multi-wavelength, high-precision, high-cadence, and long-duration data opens a new window into the time domain behavior of young stellar objects. Here we provide an overview of the observations, focusing on results from Spitzer and CoRoT. The highlight of this work is detailed analysis of 162 classical T Tauri stars for which we can probe optical and mid-infrared flux variations to 1% amplitudes and sub-hour timescales. We present a morphological variability census and then use metrics of periodicity, stochasticity, and symmetry to statistically separate the light curves into seven distinct classes, which we suggest represent different physical processes and geometric effects. We provide distributions of the characteristic timescales and amplitudes, and assess the fractional representation within each class. The largest category (>20%) are optical "dippers" having discrete fading events lasting ~1-5 days. The degree of correlation between the optical and infrared light curves is positive but weak; notably, the independently assigned optical and infrared morphology classes tend to be different for the same object. Assessment of flux variation behavior with respect to (circum)stellar properties reveals correlations of variability parameters with H$\alpha$ emission and with effective temperature. Overall, our results point to multiple origins of young star variability, including circumstellar obscuration events, hot spots on the star and/or disk, accretion bursts, and rapid structural changes in the inner disk.
    The Astronomical Journal 01/2014; 147(4):82. · 4.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In order to investigate whether the feedback produced by photo-ionisation has an important effect on the geometry of the circumstellar dust and gas around forming massive stars, we have observed the luminous southern embedded star AFGL 4176 in transitions of NH3 and the hydrogen recombination line H68α. We present our preliminary results, which show a compact H ii region embedded in a parsec-scale (radius ̃ 0.7 pc) rotating envelope/torus. In addition, the H ii region is found to be offset from the centre of the envelope, and the velocity gradient in the ionised gas is not aligned with the rotation axis of the envelope, suggesting complex dynamics and multiplicity.
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    ABSTRACT: We have updated our publicly available dust radiative transfer code (HOCHUNK3D) to include new emission processes and various 3-D geometries appropriate for forming stars. The 3-D geometries include warps and spirals in disks, accretion hotspots on the central star, fractal clumping density enhancements, and misaligned inner disks. Additional axisymmetric (2-D) features include gaps in disks and envelopes, "puffed-up inner rims" in disks, multiple bipolar cavity walls, and iteration of disk vertical structure assuming hydrostatic equilibrium. We include the option for simple power-law envelope geometry, which combined with fractal clumping, and bipolar cavities, can be used to model evolved stars as well as protostars. We include non-thermal emission from PAHs and very small grains, and external illumination from the interstellar radiation field. The grid structure was modified to allow multiple dust species in each cell; based on this, a simple prescription is implemented to model dust stratification. We describe these features in detail, and show example calculations of each. Some of the more interesting results include the following: 1) Outflow cavities may be more clumpy than infalling envelopes. 2) PAH emission in high-mass stars may be a better indicator of evolutionary stage than the broadband SED slope; and related to this, 3) externally illuminated clumps and high-mass stars in optically thin clouds can masquerade as YSOs. 4) Our hydrostatic equilibrium models suggest that dust settling is likely ubiquitous in T Tauri disks, in agreement with previous observations.
    The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 07/2013; 207(2). · 16.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We compare emission line intensities from photoionization models of smooth and fractal shell geometries for low density H II regions, with particular focus on the low-ionization diagnostic diagram [N II]/H-alpha vs H-alpha. Building on previously published models and observations of Barnard's Loop, we show that the observed range of intensities and variations in the line intensity ratios may be reproduced with a three dimensional shell geometry. Our models adopt solar abundances throughout the model nebula, in contrast with previous one dimensional modeling which suggested the variations in line intensity ratios could only be reproduced if the heavy element abundances were increased by a factor of 1.4. For spatially resolved H II regions, the multiple sightlines that pierce and sample different ionization and temperature conditions within smooth and fractal shells produce a range of line intensities that are easily overlooked if only the total integrated intensities from the entire nebula model are computed. Our conclusion is that inference of H II region properties, such as elemental abundances, via photoionization models of one dimensional geometries must be treated with caution and further tested through three dimensional modeling.
    The Astrophysical Journal 04/2013; 770(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This paper aims to investigate the hypothesis that the embedded luminous star AFGL2591-VLA3 (2.3E5Lsun at 3.33kpc) is forming according to a scaled-up version of a low-mass star formation scenario. We present multi-configuration VLA 3.6cm and 7mm, as well as CARMA C18O and 3mm continuum observations to investigate the morphology and kinematics of the ionized gas, dust, and molecular gas around AFGL2591. We also compare our results to ancillary near-IR images, and model the SED and 2MASS image profiles of AFGL2591 using a dust continuum radiative transfer code. The observed 3.6cm images uncover for the first time that the central powering source AFGL2591-VLA3 has a compact core plus collimated jet morphology, extending 4000AU eastward from the central source with an opening angle of <10deg at this radius. However, at 7mm VLA3 does not show a jet morphology, but instead compact (<500AU) emission, some of which (<0.57 mJy of 2.9mJy) is estimated to be from dust. We determine that the momentum rate of the jet is not sufficient to ionize itself via only shocks, and thus a significant portion of the emission is instead likely created in a photoionized wind. The C18O emission uncovers dense entrained material in the outflow(s) from the young stars in the region. The main features of the SED and 2MASS images of AFGL2591-VLA3 are also reproduced by our model dust geometry of a rotationally flattened envelope with and without a disk. The above results are consistent with a picture of massive star formation similar to that seen for low-mass protostars. However, within its envelope, AFGL2591-VLA3 contains at least four other young stars, constituting a small cluster. Therefore it appears that AFGL2591-VLA3 may be able to source its accreting material from a shared gas reservoir while still exhibiting the phenomena expected during the formation of low-mass stars. (Abridged)
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 03/2013; 551(43). · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We explore a variety of radiation transfer models to explain multi-wavelength photometric variability of young stellar objects in the Orion Nebula Cluster (Morales-Calderon et al. (2011). Our models include hotspots, warps in the accretion disk, and spiral arms. Variability comes in different types, which have been categorized as periodic or quasi-periodic, narrow or broad dips in the light curves, and rapid flux variations or “wild type” stars. Our models can successfully reproduce these. The optical and near-infrared light curves are sensitive to the stellar variations and obscurations from the circumstellar material. The mid-infrared provides an additional diagnostic because it is sensitive to emission from the inner disk and the inner wall height. Our models make specific predictions as to the shapes and phasing of optical through mid-infrared photometry that can be tested with multi-wavelength time-series data. This work is based in part on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under a contract with NASA. Support for this work was provided by NASA through an award issued by JPL/Caltech and was partially supported by the National Science Foundation's REU program through NSF Award AST-1004881.
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    ABSTRACT: We review the observational evidence that the warm ionized medium (WIM) is a major and physically distinct component of the Galactic interstellar medium. Although up to ~20% of the faint, high-latitude H-alpha emission in the Milky Way may be scattered light emitted in midplane H II regions, recent scattered light models do not effectively challenge the well-established properties of the WIM.
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    ABSTRACT: FITS images corresponding to Figs. 5, 6, 9, 11, 12 and 13 in the above paper. Figs. 5 and 6 are, respectively, 3.6 cm and 7mm continuum images taken with the Very Large Array (VLA). Fig. 9 contains ~2.8 and 2.7 mm continuum Combined Array for Research in Millimeter Astronomy (CARMA) images. Figs. 11 and 12 display a CARMA {13}CO image cube, and Fig. 13 presents a CARMA C{18}O image cube. Further details of the observations which produced these images are given in Section 2 of the paper. Note that the {13}CO observations are missing significant flux on extended scales, and are therefore difficult to interpret. (2 data files).
    VizieR Online Data Catalog. 11/2012;
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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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    ABSTRACT: Massive young stellar objects (MYSOs) are identified using a diverse set of observational tracers, from masers to centimeter emission to mid-infrared ice absorption. Fairly simple assumptions are usually used to try to gauge MYSO evolutionary state; e.g. that ionizing radiation is quenched by a heavily accreting protostar, so that the youngest luminous sources should not have a detectable H+ region. We present self-consistent sets of models for protostars accreting from less than 1 to 100 solar masses, predicting the ionized gas emission (centimeter free-free continuum and infrared fine-structure lines), the dust spectral energy distribution, and the PAH emission along each evolutionary track. These can be compared with large samples of MSYOs in the Milky Way and Magellanic System for which we now have multi-tracer datasets.
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    ABSTRACT: We investigate the three-dimensional structure of the nearby edge-on spiral galaxy NGC 891 using 3D Monte Carlo radiative transfer models, with realistic spiral structure and fractally clumped dust. Using the spiral and clumpiness parameters found from recently completed scattered light models we produce lower resolution SED models which reproduce the global UV-to-FIR SED of NGC 891. Our models contain a color gradient across the major axis of the galaxy - similar to what is seen in images of the NGC 891. With minor adjustment our SED models are able to match the majority of M51's SED, a similar galaxy at a near face-on different inclination.
    Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 02/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: We produce three-dimensional Monte-Carlo radiative transfer models of the edge-on spiral galaxy NGC 891, a fast-rotating galaxy thought to be an analogue to the Milky Way. The models contain realistic spiral arms and a fractal distribution of clumpy dust. We fit our models to Hubble Space Telescope images corresponding to the B and I bands, using shapelet analysis and a genetic algorithm to generate 30 statistically best-fitting models. These models have a strong preference for spirality and clumpiness, with average face-on attenuation decreasing from 0.24(0.16) to 0.03(0.03) mag in the B(I) band between 0.5 and 2 radial scale-lengths. Most of the attenuation comes from small high-density clumps with low (<10%) filling factors. The fraction of dust in clumps is broadly consistent with results from fitting NGC 891's spectral energy distribution. Because of scattering effects and the intermixed nature of the dust and starlight, attenuation is smaller and less wavelength-dependent than the integrated dust column-density. Our clumpy models typically have higher attenuation at low inclinations than previous radiative transfer models using smooth distributions of stars and dust, but similar attenuation at inclinations above 70 degrees. At all inclinations most clumpy models have less attenuation than expected from previous estimates based on minimizing scatter in the Tully-Fisher relation. Mass-to-light ratios are higher and the intrinsic scatter in the Tully-Fisher relation is larger than previously expected for galaxies similar to NGC 891. The attenuation curve changes as a function of inclination, with R_(B,B-I)=A_(B)/E(B-I) increasing by ~0.75 from face-on to near-edge-on orientations.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2011; 746(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present new 3D magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of a supernova-driven, stratified interstellar medium. These simulations were run using the Waagan (2009) positivity preserving scheme for ideal MHD implemented in the Flash code. The scheme is stable even for the Mach numbers approaching 100 found in this problem. We have previously shown that the density distribution arising from hydrodynamical versions of these simulations creates low-density pathways through which Lyman continuum photons can travel to heights |z| > 1 kpc. This naturally produces the warm ionized medium through photoionization due primarily to O stars near the plane. However, our earlier models reproduce the peak but not the width of the observed emission measure distribution. Here, we examine whether inclusion of magnetic fields and a greater vertical extent to the simulation domain produce a gas distribution that better matches the observations. We further study the change of magnetic energy over time in our models, showing that it appears to reach a steady state after a few hundred megayears, presumably supported by a turbulent dynamo driven by the supernova explosions.
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    ABSTRACT: In order to investigate whether massive stars form similarly to their low-mass counterparts, we have used the standard envelope plus disc geometry successfully applied to low-mass protostars to model the near-IR to submillimetre spectral energy distribution (SED) and several mid-IR images of the embedded massive star IRAS 20126+4104. We have used a Monte Carlo radiative transfer dust code to model the continuum absorption, emission and scattering through two azimuthally symmetric dust geometries, the first consisting of a rotationally flattened envelope with outflow cavities, and the second which also includes a flared accretion disc. Our results show that the envelope plus disc model reproduces the observed SED and images more accurately than the model without a disc, although the latter model more closely reproduces the morphology of the mid-IR emission within a radius of 1.1 arcsec or ∼1800 au. We have put forward several possible causes of this discontinuity, including inner truncation of the disc due to stellar irradiation or precession of the outflow cavity. Our best-fitting envelope plus disc model has a disc radius of 9200 au. We find that it is unlikely that the outer regions of such a disc would be in hydrostatic or centrifugal equilibrium, however we calculate that the temperatures within the disc would keep it stable to fragmentation.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 08/2011; 415(3):2953 - 2968. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We propose a simultaneous, continuous 30 day observation of the star forming region NGC2264 with Spitzer and CoRoT. NGC2264 is the only nearby, rich star-forming region which can be observed with CoRoT; it is by definition then the only nearby, rich star-forming region where a simultaneous Spitzer/CoRoT campaign is possible. Fortunately, the visibility windows for the two spacecraft overlap, allowing this program to be done in the Nov. 25, 2011 to Jan. 4, 2012 time period. For 10 days, we propose to map the majority of the cluster (a 35'x35' region) to a depth of 48 seconds per point, with each epoch taking 1.7 hours, allowing of order 12 epochs per day. For the other 20 days, we propose to obtaining staring-mode data for two positions in the cluster having a high density of cluster members. We also plan to propose for a variety of other ground and space-based data, most of which would also be simultaneous with the Spitzer and CoRoT observing. These data will allow us to address many astrophysical questions related to the structure and evolution of the disks of young stars and the interaction of those disks with the forming star. The data may also help inform models of planet formation since planets form and migrate through the pre-main sequence disks during the 0.5-5 Myr age range of stars in NGC2264. The data we collect will also provide an archive of the variability properties of young stars that is unmatched in its accuracy, sensitivity, cadence and duration and which therefore could inspire investigation of phenomena which we cannot now imagine. The CoRoT observations have been approved, contingent on approval of a simultaneous Spitzer observing program (this proposal).
    Spitzer Proposal. 05/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: We present initial results from time series imaging at infrared wavelengths of 0.9 sq. degrees in the Orion Nebula Cluster (ONC). During Fall 2009 we obtained 81 epochs of Spitzer 3.6 and 4.5 micron data over 40 consecutive days. We extracted light curves with ~3% photometric accuracy for ~2000 ONC members ranging from several solar masses down to well below the hydrogen burning mass limit. For many of the stars, we also have time-series photometry obtained at optical (Ic) and/or near-infrared (JKs) wavelengths. Our data set can be mined to determine stellar rotation periods, identify new pre-main-sequence (PMS) eclipsing binaries, search for new substellar Orion members, and help better determine the frequency of circumstellar disks as a function of stellar mass in the ONC. Our primary focus is the unique ability of 3.6 & 4.5 micron variability information to improve our understanding of inner disk processes and structure in the Class I and II young stellar objects (YSOs). In this paper, we provide a brief overview of the YSOVAR Orion data obtained in Fall 2009, and we highlight our light curves for AA-Tau analogs - YSOs with narrow dips in flux, most probably due to disk density structures passing through our line of sight. Detailed follow-up observations are needed in order to better quantify the nature of the obscuring bodies and what this implies for the structure of the inner disks of YSOs.
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    ABSTRACT: We present a study of ionized gas, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and H2 emission in the halos of three edge-on galaxies, NGC 891, NGC 5775, and NGC 3044, based on 10-20 μm Spitzer Space Telescope spectra. The [Ne III]/[Ne II] ratio, an excellent measure of radiation hardness, rises with z in the halo of NGC 891. It is also higher in the halo of NGC 5775 than in the disk. NGC 3044 presents a more confusing situation. To explain the [Ne III]/[Ne II] as well as optical line ratio behavior in NGC 891, we carry out a simple exploration of parameter space with CLOUDY, which indicates a large increase in radiation temperature with height. Illustrative examples of physical models using a Monte Carlo radiative transfer code show that the rising neon ratio may be explained by adding a vertically extended, hot stellar source to a thin disk of massive stars. However, several other sources of hard spectra may be relevant. PAH features have scale heights of 430-530 pc in NGC 891 and 720-1080 pc in NGC 5775, suggesting they can be transported by disk-halo flows. Within NGC 891 and NGC 5775, scale heights are similar for all PAHs. For NGC 891, the scale heights exceed that of 8 μm emission, indicating a transition from more ionized to more neutral PAHs with height. Most PAH equivalent widths are higher in the halos. H217.03 μm emission with scale heights of 550-580 pc in NGC 891 and 850 pc in NGC 5775 suggests a molecular component in a surprisingly thick layer.
    The Astrophysical Journal 02/2011; 728(2):163. · 6.73 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
433.14 Total Impact Points


  • 2002–2014
    • University of St Andrews
      • School of Physics and Astronomy
      Saint Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 2011
    • Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
      Heidelburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 1996–2011
    • University of Wisconsin, Madison
      • Department of Astronomy
      Mississippi, United States
  • 2009
    • University of British Columbia - Okanagan
      Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
  • 2001–2008
    • Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
      • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2006
    • Andrews University
      Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States
  • 2005
    • University of Virginia
      • Department of Astronomy
      Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
  • 2003
    • European Southern Observatory
      Arching, Bavaria, Germany
    • University of Colorado at Boulder
      • Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences
      Boulder, CO, United States
  • 1999
    • University of Massachusetts Amherst
      Amherst Center, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1997
    • University of Toledo
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Toledo, OH, United States