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Invasive rodents detrimentally affect native bird species on many islands worldwide, and rodent eradication is a useful tool to safeguard endemic and threatened species. However, especially on tropical islands, rodent eradications can fail for various reasons, and it is unclear whether the temporary reduction of a rodent population during an unsuccessful eradication operation has beneficial effects on native birds. Here we examine the response of four endemic land bird species on subtropical Henderson Island in the Pitcairn Island Group, South Pacific Ocean, following an unsuccessful rodent eradication in 2011. We conducted point counts at 25 sampling locations in 14 survey periods between 2011 and 2015, and modelled the abundance trends of all species using binomial mixture models accounting for observer and environmental variation in detection probability. Henderson Reed Warbler Acrocephalus taiti more than doubled in abundance (2015 population estimate: 7,194-28,776), and Henderson Fruit Dove Ptilinopus insularis increased slightly between 2011 and 2015 (2015 population estimate: 4,476–10,072), while we detected no change in abundance of the Henderson Lorikeet Vini stepheni (2015 population estimate: 554–3014). Henderson Crake Zapornia atra increased to pre-eradication levels following anticipated mortality during the operation (2015 population estimate: 4,960–20,783). A temporary reduction of rat predation pressure and rat competition for fruit may have benefitted the reed warbler and the fruit dove, respectively. However, a long drought may have naturally suppressed bird populations prior to the rat eradication operation in 2011, potentially confounding the effects of temporary rat reduction and natural recovery. We therefore cannot unequivocally ascribe the population recovery to the temporary reduction of the rat population. We encourage robust monitoring of island biodiversity both before and after any management operation to better understand responses of endemic species to failed or successful operations.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
The Binary Population and Spectral Synthesis suite of binary stellar evolution models and synthetic stellar populations provides a framework for the physically motivated analysis of both the integrated light from distant stellar populations and the detailed properties of those nearby. We present a new version 2.1 data release of these models, detailing the methodology by which Binary Population and Spectral Synthesis incorporates binary mass transfer and its effect on stellar evolution pathways, as well as the construction of simple stellar populations. We demonstrate key tests of the latest Binary Population and Spectral Synthesis model suite demonstrating its ability to reproduce the colours and derived properties of resolved stellar populations, including well-constrained eclipsing binaries. We consider observational constraints on the ratio of massive star types and the distribution of stellar remnant masses. We describe the identification of supernova progenitors in our models, and demonstrate a good agreement to the properties of observed progenitors. We also test our models against photometric and spectroscopic observations of unresolved stellar populations, both in the local and distant Universe, finding that binary models provide a self-consistent explanation for observed galaxy properties across a broad redshift range. Finally, we carefully describe the limitations of our models, and areas where we expect to see significant improvement in future versions.
Recent observational modelling of the atmospheres of hydrogen-free Wolf–Rayet stars have indicated that their stellar surfaces are cooler than those predicted by the latest stellar evolution models. We have created a large grid of pure helium star models to investigate the dependence of the surface temperatures on factors such as the rate of mass loss and the amount of clumping in the outer convection zone. Upon comparing our results with Galactic and LMC WR observations, we find that the outer convection zones should be clumped and that the mass-loss rates need to be slightly reduced. We discuss the implications of these findings in terms of the detectability of Type Ibc supernovae progenitors, and in terms of refining the Conti scenario.
We present a number of notable results from the VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey (VFTS), an ESO Large Program during which we obtained multi-epoch medium-resolution optical spectroscopy of a very large sample of over 800 massive stars in the 30 Doradus region of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). This unprecedented data-set has enabled us to address some key questions regarding atmospheres and winds, as well as the evolution of (very) massive stars. Here we focus on O-type runaways, the width of the main sequence, and the mass-loss rates for (very) massive stars. We also provide indications for the presence of a top-heavy initial mass function (IMF) in 30 Dor.
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.
We present a new model of the optical nebular emission from HII regions by combining the results of the Binary Population and Spectral Synthesis (bpass) code with the photoionization code cloudy (Ferland et al. 1998). We explore a variety of emission-line diagnostics of these star-forming HII regions and examine the effects of metallicity and interacting binary evolution on the nebula emission-line production. We compare the line emission properties of HII regions with model stellar populations, and provide new constraints on their stellar populations and supernova progenitors. We find that models including massive binary stars can successfully match all the observational constraints and provide reasonable age and mass estimation of the HII regions and supernova progenitors.
The blue compact dwarf galaxy NGC 5253 hosts a very young starburst containing twin nuclear star clusters. Calzetti et al. (2015) find that the two clusters have an age of 1 Myr, in contradiction to the age of 3–5 Myr inferred from the presence of Wolf-Rayet (W-R) spectral features. We use Hubble Space Telescope (HST) far-ultraviolet (FUV) and ground-based optical spectra to show that the cluster stellar features arise from very massive stars (VMS), with masses greater than 100 M⊙, at an age of 1–2 Myr. We discuss the implications of this and show that the very high ionizing flux can only be explained by VMS. We further discuss our findings in the context of VMS contributing to He ii λ1640 emission in high redshift galaxies, and emphasize that population synthesis models with upper mass cut-offs greater than 100 M⊙ are crucial for future studies of young massive clusters.
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?
While the imparting of velocity ‘kicks’ to compact remnants from supernovae is widely accepted, the relationship of the ‘kick’ to the progenitor is not. We propose the ‘kick’ is predominantly a result of conservation of momentum between the ejected and compact remnant masses. We propose the ‘kick’ velocity is given by vkick = α(Mejecta/Mremnant)+β, where α and β are constants we wish to determine. To test this we use the BPASS v2 (Binary Population and Spectral Synthesis) code to create stellar populations from both single star and binary star evolutionary pathways. We then use our Remnant Ejecta and Progenitor Explosion Relationship (REAPER) code to apply ‘kicks’ to neutron stars from supernovae in these models using a grid of α and β values, (from 0 to 200 km s−1 in steps of 10 km s−1), in three different ‘kick’ orientations, (isotropic, spin-axis aligned and orthogonal to spin-axis) and weighted by three different Salpeter initial mass functions (IMF’s), with slopes of -2.0, -2.35 and -2.70. We compare our synthetic 2D and 3D velocity probability distributions to the distributions provided by Hobbs et al. (1995).
We present VLT/MUSE observations of NGC 2070, the dominant ionizing nebula of 30 Doradus in the LMC, plus HST/STIS spectroscopy of its central star cluster R136. Integral Field Spectroscopy (MUSE) and pseudo IFS (STIS) together provides a complete census of all massive stars within the central 30×30 parsec2 of the Tarantula. We discuss the integrated far-UV spectrum of R136, of particular interest for UV studies of young extragalactic star clusters. Strong He iiλ1640 emission at very early ages (1–2 Myr) from very massive stars cannot be reproduced by current population synthesis models, even those incorporating binary evolution and very massive stars. A nebular analysis of the integrated MUSE dataset implies an age of ~4.5 Myr for NGC 2070. Wolf-Rayet features provide alternative age diagnostics, with the primary contribution to the integrated Wolf-Rayet bumps arising from R140 rather than the more numerous H-rich WN stars in R136. Caution should be used when interpreting spatially extended observations of extragalactic star-forming regions.
We have recently released version 2.0 of the Binary Population and Spectral Synthesis (BPASS) population synthesis code. This is designed to construct the spectra and related properties of stellar populations built from ~200,000 detailed, individual stellar models of known age and metallicity. The output products enable a broad range of theoretical predictions for individual stars, binaries, resolved and unresolved stellar populations, supernovae and their progenitors, and compact remnant mergers. Here we summarise key applications that demonstrate that binary populations typically reproduce observations better than single star models.
To understand how complete our surveys of Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars can be with the current generation of telescopes, we study images of M33, a galaxy with a nearly complete WR catalogue, and degrade them to investigate the detectability of WRs out to 30Mpc. We lose almost half of our sample at 4.2Mpc, and at 30Mpc we detect only those WRs in bright regions.
EUV and X-ray radiation emitted from wind-embedded shocks can affect the ionization balance in the outer atmospheres of massive stars, and can also be the mechanism responsible for producing highly ionized atoms detected in the wind UV spectra. To investigate these processes, we implemented the emission from wind-embedded shocks and related physics into our atmosphere/spectrum synthesis code FASTWIND. We also account for the high energy absorption of the cool wind, by adding important K-shell opacities. Various tests justfying our approach have been described by Carneiro+(2016, A&A 590, A88).
In particular, we studied the impact of X-ray emission on the ionization balance of important elements. In almost all the cases, the lower ionization stages (O iv, N iv, P v) are depleted and the higher stages (N v, O v, O vi) become enhanced. Moreover, also He lines (in particular He ii 1640 and He ii 4686) can be affected as well.
Finally, we carried out an extensive discussion of the high-energy mass absorption coefficient, κν, regarding its spatial variation and dependence on Teff. We found that (i) the approximation of a radially constant κν can be justified for r ⩾ 1.2R* and λ ⩽ 18 Å, and also for many models at longer wavelengths. (ii) In order to estimate the actual value of this quantity, however, the He ii background needs to be considered from detailed modeling.
Over the past two decades a clear relation between Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) and some broad-lined Type Ic Supernovae (SNe) has been observed. The use of spectropolarimetry allows us to directly probe the 3D geometry of the unresolved ejecta of SNe, which can help us better understand the physics of their explosion and the SN-GRB connection. We present 7 epochs of spectropolarimetry of the broad-lined Type Ic SN 2014ad and highlight its similarities with SN 1998bw.
We gathered a multiwavelength dataset of two well-known LBVs. We found a complex mass-loss, with evidence of variability, such as has been seen previously. In addition, our data reveal signatures of collimated stellar winds. We propose a new scenario for these two stars where the nebula shaping is influenced by the presence of a companion star and/or fast rotation.