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Background: Mutations of the slow skeletal muscle troponin-T1 (TNNT1) gene are a rare cause of nemaline myopathy. The phenotype is characterized by severe amyotrophy and contractures. Death from respiratory insufficiency occurs in infancy. We report on four French Canadians with a novel congenital TNNT1-related myopathy. Methods: Patients underwent MRI of leg muscles, quadriceps biopsy and genetic testing. Wild type or mutated human TNNT1 mRNAs were co-injected with morpholinos in a zebrafish knockdown model to assess their relative abilities to rescue the morphant phenotype. Results: Three adults and one child shared a novel missense homozygous pathogenic variant in the TNNT1 gene. They developed from childhood slowly progressive limb-girdle weakness with spinal rigidity and contractures. They suffered from restrictive lung disease and recurrent episodes of infection-triggered rhabdomyolysis, which were relieved by dantrolene in one patient. Older patients remained ambulatory into their sixties. MRI of leg muscles showed symmetrical atrophy and fatty infiltration in a proximal-to-distal gradient. Biopsies showed multi-minicores, while nemaline rods were seen in half the patients. Wild type TNNT1 mRNA rescued the zebrafish morphants but mutant transcripts failed to rescue the morphants. Conclusions: This study expands the spectrum of TNNT1-related myopathy to include a milder clinical phenotype caused by a functionally-confirmed novel missense mutation.
This study aimed to estimate the number of new cancer cases attributable to diet among adults aged 30–84 years in France in 2015, where convincing or probable evidence of a causal association exists, and, in a secondary analysis, where at least limited but suggestive evidence of a causal association exists. Cancer cases attributable to diet were estimated assuming a 10-year latency period. Dietary intake data were obtained from the 2006 French National Nutrition and Health Survey. Counterfactual scenarios of dietary intake were based on dietary guidelines. Corresponding risk relation estimates were obtained from meta-analyses, cohort studies and one case–control study. Cancer incidence data were obtained from the French Network of Cancer Registries. Nationally, unfavourable dietary habits led to 16 930 new cancer cases, representing 5·4 % of all new cancer cases. Low intake of fruit and dietary fibre was the largest contributor to this burden, being responsible for 4787 and 4389 new cancer cases, respectively. If this is expanded to dietary component and cancer pairs with at least limited but suggestive evidence of a causal association, 36 049 new cancer cases, representing 11·6 % of all new cancer cases, were estimated to be attributable to diet. These findings suggest that unfavourable dietary habits lead to a substantial number of new cancer cases in France; however, there is a large degree of uncertainty as to the number of cancers attributable to diet, including through indirect mechanisms such as obesity, and therefore additional research is needed to determine how diet affects cancer risk.
Eta Carinae is one of the most massive observable binaries. Yet determination of its orbital and physical parameters is hampered by obscuring winds. However the effects of the strong, colliding winds changes with phase due to the high orbital eccentricity. We wanted to improve measures of the orbital parameters and to determine the mechanisms that produce the relatively brief, phase-locked minimum as detected throughout the electromagnetic spectrum. We conducted intense monitoring of the He ii λ4686 line in η Carinae for 10 months in the year 2014, gathering ~300 high S/N spectra with ground- and space-based telescopes. We also used published spectra at the FOS4 SE polar region of the Homunculus, which views the minimum from a different direction. We used a model in which the He ii λ4686 emission is produced by two mechanisms: a) one linked to the intensity of the wind-wind collision which occurs along the whole orbit and is proportional to the inverse square of the separation between the companion stars; and b) the other produced by the ‘bore hole’ effect which occurs at phases across the periastron passage. The opacity (computed from 3D SPH simulations) as convolved with the emission reproduces the behavior of equivalent widths both for direct and reflected light. Our main results are: a) a demonstration that the He ii λ4686 light curve is exquisitely repeatable from cycle to cycle, contrary to previous claims for large changes; b) an accurate determination of the longitude of periastron, indicating that the secondary star is ‘behind’ the primary at periastron, a dispute extended over the past decade; c) a determination of the time of periastron passage, at ~4 days after the onset of the deep light curve minimum; and d) show that the minimum is simultaneous for observers at different lines of sight, indicating that it is not caused by an eclipse of the secondary star, but rather by the immersion of the wind-wind collision interior to the inner wind of the primary.
To this date ψ Per is the only classical Be star that was angularly resolved in radio (by the VLA at λ = 2 cm). Gaussian fit to the azimuthally averaged visibility data indicates a disk size (FWHM) of ~500 stellar radii (Dougherty & Taylor 1992). Recently, we obtained new multi-band cm flux density measurements of ψ Per from the enhanced VLA. We modeled the observed spectral energy distribution (SED) covering the interval from ultraviolet to radio using the Monte Carlo radiative transfer code HDUST (Carciofi & Bjorkman 2006). An SED turndown, that occurs between far-IR and radio wavelengths, is explained by a truncated viscous decretion disk (VDD), although the shallow slope of the radio SED suggests that the disk is not simply cut off, as is assumed in our model. The best-fit size of a truncated disk derived from the modeling of the radio SED is 100+5−15 stellar radii, which is in striking contrast with the result of Dougherty & Taylor (1992). The reasons for this discrepancy are under investigation.
The objective is to determine the nature of the unseen companion of the single-lined spectroscopic binary, WR 148 (= WN7h+?). The absence of companion lines supports a compact companion (cc) scenario. The lack of hard X-rays favours a non-compact companion scenario. Is WR 148 a commonplace WR+OB binary or a rare WR+cc binary?
We present Chandra X-ray grating spectroscopy of the B0.2V star, θ Carina. θ Car is in a critical transition region between the latest O-type and earliest B-type stars, where some stars are observed to have UV-determined wind densities much lower than theoretically expected (e.g., Marcolino et al. 2009). In general, X-ray emission in this low-density wind regime should be less prominent than for O-stars (e.g., Martins et al. 2005), but observations suggest a higher than expected X-ray emission filling factor (Lucy 2012; Huenemoerder et al. 2012); if a larger fraction of the wind is shock-heated, it could explain the weak UV wind signature seen in weak wind stars, but this might severely challenge predictions of radiatively-driven wind theory.
We measured the line widths of several He-, H-like and Fe ions and the f/i ratio of He-like ions in the X-ray spectrum, which improves upon the results from Nazé et al. (2008) (XMM-Newton RGS) with additional measurements (Chandra HETG) of Mgxi and Sixiii by further constraining the X-ray emission location. The f/i ratio is modified by the proximity to the UV-emitting stellar photosphere, and is therefore a diagnostic of the radial location of the X-ray emitting plasma. The measured widths of X-ray lines are narrow, <300 km s−1 and the f/i ratios place the X-rays relatively close to the surface, both implying θ Car is a weak wind star. The measured widths are also consistent with other later-type stars in the weak wind regime, β Cru (Cohen et al. 2008), for example, and are smaller on average than earlier weak wind stars such as μ Col (Huenemoerder et al. 2012). This could point to a spectral type divide, where one hypothesis, low density, works for early-B type stars and the other hypothesis, a larger fraction of shock-heated gas, explains weak winds in late-O type stars. Archival IUE data still needs to be analyzed to determine the mass loss rate and hydrodynamical simulations will be compared with observations to determine which hypothesis works for θ Car.
We present a pilot study of using the Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA) continuum observations to constrain the density structure in the intermediate wind zone of massive stars, in which the wind is extremely sensitive to clumping.
Luminous Blue Variables (LBVs) are a brief phase in the evolution of massive stars, but a very important one. The giant eruptions remain enigmatic, but the discovery of the flagship LBV η Car to be a five-year highly eccentric binary put focus on possible binarity induced mechanism for these outbursts, and prompted binarity searches among LBVs. While several wide LBV binaries were identified, HR Car is the first system found to be similar to η Car, i.e., relatively close & eccentric.
SN 1978K is the oldest-known Type IIn supernova, and one of the closest. We report new radio observations at high frequency and spatial resolution. SN 1978K has been detected at 34 and 94 GHz with the Australia Telescope Compact Array, while Very Long Baseline Interferometry at 8.4 GHz has allowed us to derive the past average expansion velocity, which indicates significant deceleration as the blast wave interacts with the dense circumstellar medium.
The role of episodic mass loss in evolved massive stars is one of the outstanding questions in stellar evolution theory. Integral field spectroscopy of nebulae around massive stars provide information on their recent mass-loss history. η Car is one of the most massive evolved stars and is surrounded by a complex circumstellar environment. We have conducted a three-dimensional morpho-kinematic analysis of η Car’s ejecta outside its famous Homunculus nebula. SHAPE modelling of VLT MUSE data establish unequivocally the spatial cohesion of the outer ejecta and the correlation of ejecta with the soft X-ray emission.
A substantial number of core-collapse supernovae (CCSNe) are expected to be hosted by starbursting luminous infrared galaxies (LIRGs). However, so far very few CCSNe have been discovered in LIRGs, most likely as a result of dust extinction and lack of contrast in their typically luminous and complex nuclear regions. We present the first results of Project SUNBIRD (Supernovae UNmasked By InfraRed Detection), where we aim to uncover dust-obscured nuclear supernovae by monitoring over 30 LIRGs, using near-infrared state-of-the-art Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics (LGSAO) imaging on the Gemini South and Keck telescopes. Such discoveries are vital for determining the fraction of supernovae which will be missed as a result of dust obscuration by current and future optical surveys.
We present the first detailed three-dimensional hydrodynamic implicit large eddy simulations of turbulent convection for carbon burning. The simulations start with an initial radial profile mapped from a carbon burning shell within a 15 M⊙ stellar evolution model. We considered 4 resolutions from 1283 to 10243 zones. These simulations confirm that convective boundary mixing (CBM) occurs via turbulent entrainment as in the case of oxygen burning. The expansion of the boundary into the surrounding stable region and the entrainment rate are smaller at the bottom boundary because it is stiffer than the upper boundary. The results of this and similar studies call for improved CBM prescriptions in 1D stellar evolution models.
Observations with powerful X-ray telescopes, such as XMM-Newton and Chandra, significantly advance our understanding of massive stars. Nearly all early-type stars are X-ray sources. Studies of their X-ray emission provide important diagnostics of stellar winds. High-resolution X-ray spectra of O-type stars are well explained when stellar wind clumping is taking into account, providing further support to a modern picture of stellar winds as non-stationary, inhomogeneous outflows. X-ray variability is detected from such winds, on time scales likely associated with stellar rotation. High-resolution X-ray spectroscopy indicates that the winds of late O-type stars are predominantly in a hot phase. Consequently, X-rays provide the best observational window to study these winds. X-ray spectroscopy of evolved, Wolf-Rayet type, stars allows to probe their powerful metal enhanced winds, while the mechanisms responsible for the X-ray emission of these stars are not yet understood.
As part of a multi-year survey for Wolf-Rayet stars in the Magellanic Clouds, we have discovered a new type of Wolf-Rayet star with both strong emission and absorption. While one might initially classify these stars as WN3+O3V binaries based on their spectra, such a pairing is unlikely given their faint visual magnitudes. Spectral modeling suggests effective temperatures and bolometric luminosities similar to those of other early-type LMC WNs but with mass-loss rates that are three to five times lower than expected. They additionally retain a significant amount of hydrogen, with nitrogen at its CNO-equilibrium value (10× enhanced). Their evolutionary status remains an open question. Here we discuss why these stars did not evolve through quasi-homogeneous evolution. Instead we suggest that based on a link with long-duration gamma ray bursts, they may form in lower metallicity environments. A new survey in M33, which has a large metallicity gradient, is underway.
Large magnetometric surveys have contributed to the detection of an increasing number of magnetic massive stars, and to the recognition of a population of magnetic massive stellar objects with distinct properties. Among these, NGC 1624-2 possesses the largest magnetic field of any O-type star; such a field confines the stellar wind into a circumstellar magnetosphere, which can be probed using observations at different wavelength regimes. Recent optical and X-ray observations suggest that NGC 1624-2’s magnetosphere is much larger than that of any other magnetic O star. By modeling the variations of UV resonance lines, we can constrain its velocity structure. Furthermore, recent spectropolarimetric observations raise the possibility of a more complex field topology than previously expected. Putting all of these multi-wavelength constraints together will allow us to paint a consistent picture of NGC 1624-2 and its surprising behavior, giving us valuable insight into the very nature of massive star magnetospheres.
The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) hosts a large number of high-mass X-ray binaries, and in particular of Be/X-ray Binaries (BeXRBs; neutron stars orbiting OBe-type stars), offering a unique laboratory to address the effect of metalicity. One key property of their optical companion is Hα in emission, which makes them bright sources when observed through a narrow-band Hα filter. We performed a survey of the SMC Bar and Wing regions using wide-field cameras (WFI@MPG/ESO and MOSAIC@CTIO/Blanco) in order to identify the counterparts of the sources detected in our XMM-Newton survey of the same area. We obtained broad-band R and narrow-band Hα photometry, and identified ~10000 Hα emission sources down to a sensitivity limit of 18.7 mag (equivalent to ~B8 type Main Sequence stars). We find the fraction of OBe/OB stars to be 13% down to this limit, and by investigating this fraction as a function of the brightness of the stars we deduce that Hα excess peaks at the O9-B2 spectral range. Using the most up-to-date numbers of SMC BeXRBs we find their fraction over their parent population to be ~0.002 − 0.025 BeXRBs/OBe, a direct measurement of their formation rate.
Recent spectropolarimetric surveys of bright, hot stars have found that ~10% of OB-type stars contain strong (mostly dipolar) surface magnetic fields (~kG). The prominent paradigm describing the interaction between the stellar winds and the surface magnetic field is the magnetically confined wind shock (MCWS) model. In this model, the stellar wind plasma is forced to move along the closed field loops of the magnetic field, colliding at the magnetic equator, and creating a shock. As the shocked material cools radiatively it will emit X-rays. Therefore, X-ray spectroscopy is a key tool in detecting and characterizing the hot wind material confined by the magnetic fields of these stars. Some B-type stars are found to have very short rotational periods. The effects of the rapid rotation on the X-ray production within the magnetosphere have yet to be explored in detail. The added centrifugal force due to rapid rotation is predicted to cause faster wind outflows along the field lines, leading to higher shock temperatures and harder X-rays. However, this is not observed in all rapidly rotating magnetic B-type stars. In order to address this from a theoretical point of view, we use the X-ray Analytical Dynamical Magnetosphere (XADM) model, originally developed for slow rotators, with an implementation of new rapid rotational physics. Using X-ray spectroscopy from ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescope, we observed 5 rapidly rotating B-types stars to add to the previous list of observations. Comparing the observed X-ray luminosity and hardness ratio to that predicted by the XADM allows us to determine the role the added centrifugal force plays in the magnetospheric X-ray emission of these stars.
Be stars (for an in-depth review see Rivinius, Carciofi & Martayan 2013) rotate at ⩾80% of the critical velocity and are multi-mode nonradial pulsators. Magnetic dipole fields are not detected, and binaries with periods less than 30 days are rare. The name-giving emission lines form in a Keplerian decretion disk, which is viscously re-accreted and also radiatively ablated unless replenished by outburts of unknown origin.
Months-long, high-cadence space photometry with the BRITE-Constellation nanosatellites (Pablo et al. 2016) of about 10 early-type Be stars reveals the following (cf. Baade et al. 2016a, Baade et al. 2016b):
○Many Be stars exhibit 1 or 2 so-called Δ frequencies, which are differences between two nonradial-pulsation (NRP) frequencies and much lower (mostly less than 0.1 c/d) than the parent frequencies. The associated light curves are roughly sinusoidal. The amplitudes can exceed that of the sum of the parent amplitudes.
○Conventional beat patterns also occur.
○Amplitudes of both Δ and beat frequencies can temporarily be enhanced. Around phases of maximal amplitude the mean brightness is in- or decreased, and the scatter can be enhanced.
○During high-activity phases (outbursts), broad and dense groups of numerous spikes arise in the power spectra. The two strongest groups often have a frequency ratio near 2. The phase coherence seems to be low.
○Time coverage (less than half a year) is not yet sufficient to infer whether two Δ or beat frequencies can combine to cause long-lasting (years) superoutbursts (cf. Carciofi et al. 2012).
From these observations it is concluded:
•The variable mean brightness and the increased Δ-frequency amplitude and scatter trace the amount of near-circumstellar matter.
•Increase or decrease of mean brightness is aspect-angle dependent (pole-on vs. equator-on).
•Increased amounts of near-circumstellar matter are due to rotation-assisted mass ejections caused by coupled NRP modes.
•Observations do not constrain the location of the coupling (atmosphere or stellar interior).
•Broad frequency groups do not represent stellar pulsation modes but circumstellar variability.
•Be stars later than B5 are less active and may in some cases even behave differently.
We carried out a pivot experiment to select distant luminous late-type stars on the basis on their 2MASS and GLIMPSE photometry. Low-resolution infrared spectra enabled us to measure the equivalent widths (EWs) of their CO band-heads at 2.293 μm, and to confirm an extraordinarily high detection rate of red supergiants (RSGs), i.e. 61% (Messineo et al. (2016)).
The Of?p category was introduced more than 40 years ago to gather several Galactic stars with some odd properties. Since 2000, spectropolarimetry, high-resolution spectroscopy, long-term photometry, and X-ray observations have revealed their nature: magnetic oblique rotators - they all have magnetic fields that confine their winds. Several Of?p stars have now been detected in the Magellanic Clouds, likely the prototypes of magnetic massive stars at low metallicity. This contribution will present the most recent photometric, spectroscopic, and spectropolarimetric data, along with the first modeling of these objects.