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Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA), the cryogenic infrared space telescope recently pre-selected for a ‘Phase A’ concept study as one of the three remaining candidates for European Space Agency (ESA's) fifth medium class (M5) mission, is foreseen to include a far-infrared polarimetric imager [SPICA-POL, now called B-fields with BOlometers and Polarizers (B-BOP)], which would offer a unique opportunity to resolve major issues in our understanding of the nearby, cold magnetised Universe. This paper presents an overview of the main science drivers for B-BOP, including high dynamic range polarimetric imaging of the cold interstellar medium (ISM) in both our Milky Way and nearby galaxies. Thanks to a cooled telescope, B-BOP will deliver wide-field 100–350
m images of linearly polarised dust emission in Stokes Q and U with a resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and both intensity and spatial dynamic ranges comparable to those achieved by Herschel images of the cold ISM in total intensity (Stokes I). The B-BOP 200
m images will also have a factor
30 higher resolution than Planck polarisation data. This will make B-BOP a unique tool for characterising the statistical properties of the magnetised ISM and probing the role of magnetic fields in the formation and evolution of the interstellar web of dusty molecular filaments giving birth to most stars in our Galaxy. B-BOP will also be a powerful instrument for studying the magnetism of nearby galaxies and testing Galactic dynamo models, constraining the physics of dust grain alignment, informing the problem of the interaction of cosmic rays with molecular clouds, tracing magnetic fields in the inner layers of protoplanetary disks, and monitoring accretion bursts in embedded protostars.
Background: Biallelic variants in POLR1C are associated with POLR3-related leukodystrophy (POLR3-HLD), or 4H leukodystrophy (Hypomyelination, Hypodontia, Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism), and Treacher Collins syndrome (TCS). The clinical spectrum of POLR3-HLD caused by variants in this gene has not been described. Methods: A cross-sectional observational study involving 25 centers worldwide was conducted between 2016 and 2018. The clinical, radiologic and molecular features of 23 unreported and previously reported cases of POLR3-HLD caused by POLR1C variants were reviewed. Results: Most participants presented between birth and age 6 years with motor difficulties. Neurological deterioration was seen during childhood, suggesting a more severe phenotype than previously described. The dental, ocular and endocrine features often seen in POLR3-HLD were not invariably present. Five patients (22%) had a combination of hypomyelinating leukodystrophy and abnormal craniofacial development, including one individual with clear TCS features. Several cases did not exhibit all the typical radiologic characteristics of POLR3-HLD. A total of 29 different pathogenic variants in POLR1C were identified, including 13 new disease-causing variants. Conclusions: Based on the largest cohort of patients to date, these results suggest novel characteristics of POLR1C-related disorder, with a spectrum of clinical involvement characterized by hypomyelinating leukodystrophy with or without abnormal craniofacial development reminiscent of TCS.
The Beck’s Petrel Pseudobulweria beckii is a ‘Critically Endangered’ seabird whose breeding sites remain unknown. Historic observations suggest the species’ distribution is concentrated in the Bismarck Archipelago and particularly southern New Ireland. Over the course of two research expeditions in 2016 and 2017 we used on-land and at-sea observations, local interviews and satellite telemetry to understand the distribution of the species, its at-sea movements and potential breeding locations. Land-based and at-sea observations indicated that the area of Silur Bay in southern New Ireland was a significant site for Beck’s Petrel with numbers of birds increasing near shore prior to dusk and birds observed in spotlights over land. A local population is estimated to be in the low thousands. In 2017 a single Beck’s was captured at sea, fitted with a satellite transmitter and tracked for eight months. This bird maintained a core distribution off the south-east coast of New Ireland and north of Bougainville for 122 days. During the tracking period, the bird was located over land at night seven times; predominantly over southern New Ireland, where the signal was also lost for extended periods suggesting occupancy of an underground burrow. In August the bird migrated 1,400 km to a core pelagic habitat north of West Papua before the signal was eventually lost. Our combination of land- and sea-based observations and analysis of behaviour from satellite tracking supports the conclusion that a breeding site for Beck’s Petrel lies in the inland mountains of southern New Ireland and most likely in the high-altitude zone (> 2000 m) of the Hans Meyer Range. Further investigations are required to determine the exact location of breeding colonies in the mountains of southern New Ireland and the importance of a potential west Papuan non-breeding pelagic habitat for the species.
Due to concerns over increasing fluoroquinolone (FQ) resistance among gram-negative organisms, our stewardship program implemented a preauthorization use policy. The goal of this study was to assess the relationship between hospital FQ use and antibiotic resistance.
Large academic medical center.
We performed a retrospective analysis of FQ susceptibility of hospital isolates for 5 common gram-negative bacteria: Acinetobacter spp., Enterobacter cloacae, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Primary endpoint was the change of FQ susceptibility. A Poisson regression model was used to calculate the rate of change between the preintervention period (1998–2005) and the postimplementation period (2006–2016).
Large rates of decline of FQ susceptibility began in 1998, particularly among P. aeruginosa, Acinetobacter spp., and E. cloacae. Our FQ restriction policy improved FQ use from 173 days of therapy (DOT) per 1,000 patient days to <60 DOT per 1,000 patient days. Fluoroquinolone susceptibility increased for Acinetobacter spp. (rate ratio [RR], 1.038; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.005–1.072), E. cloacae (RR, 1.028; 95% CI, 1.013–1.044), and P. aeruginosa (RR, 1.013; 95% CI, 1.006–1.020). No significant change in susceptibility was detected for K. pneumoniae (RR, 1.002; 95% CI, 0.996–1.008), and the susceptibility for E. coli continued to decline, although the decline was not as steep (RR, 0.981; 95% CI, 0.975–0.987).
A stewardship-driven FQ restriction program stopped overall declining FQ susceptibility rates for all species except E. coli. For 3 species (ie, Acinetobacter spp, E. cloacae, and P. aeruginosa), susceptibility rates improved after implementation, and this improvement has been sustained over a 10-year period.
Understanding the peculiar properties of Ultra Diffuse Galaxies (UDGs) via spectroscopic analysis is a challenging task that is now becoming feasible. The advent of 10m-class telescopes and high sensitivity instruments is enabling the gathering of high quality spectra even for the faintest systems. In addition, advances in the modelling of stellar populations, stellar libraries, and full-spectral fitting codes are allowing the recovery of the stellar content shaping those spectra with unprecedented reliability. In this contribution we report on the extensive tests we have carried out using the inversion code STECKMAP. The similarities between the Star Formation Histories (SFH) recovered from STECKMAP (applied to high-quality spectra) and deep Colour-Magnitude diagrams fitting (resolved stars) in two Local Group dwarf galaxies (LMC and LeoA) are remarkable, demonstrating the impressive performance of STECKMAP. We exploit the capabilities of STECKMAP and perform one of the most complete and reliable characterisations of the stellar component of UDGs to date using deep spectroscopic data. We measure radial and rotation velocities, SFHs and mean population parameters, such as ages and metallicities, for a sample of five UDG candidates in the Coma cluster. From the radial velocities, we confirm the Coma membership of these galaxies. We find that their rotation properties, if detected at all, are compatible with dwarf-like galaxies. The SFHs of the UDG are dominated by old (∼ 7 Gyr), metal-poor ([M/H] ∼ -1.1) and alpha-enhanced ([Mg/Fe]∼ 0.4) populations followed by a smooth or episodic decline which halted ∼ 2 Gyr ago, possibly a sign of cluster-induced quenching. We find no obvious correlation between individual SFH shapes and any UDG morphological properties. The recovered stellar properties for UDGs are similar to those found for DDO 44, a local UDG analogue resolved into stars. We conclude that the UDGs in our sample are extended dwarfs whose properties are likely the outcome of both internal processes, such as bursty SFHs and/or high-spin haloes, as well as environmental effects within the Coma cluster.
The SPICA mid- and far-infrared telescope will address fundamental issues in our understanding of star formation and ISM physics in galaxies. A particular hallmark of SPICA is the outstanding sensitivity enabled by the cold telescope, optimised detectors, and wide instantaneous bandwidth throughout the mid- and far-infrared. The spectroscopic, imaging, and polarimetric observations that SPICA will be able to collect will help in clarifying the complex physical mechanisms which underlie the baryon cycle of galaxies. In particular, (i) the access to a large suite of atomic and ionic fine-structure lines for large samples of galaxies will shed light on the origin of the observed spread in star-formation rates within and between galaxies, (ii) observations of HD rotational lines (out to ~10 Mpc) and fine structure lines such as [C ii] 158 μm (out to ~100 Mpc) will clarify the main reservoirs of interstellar matter in galaxies, including phases where CO does not emit, (iii) far-infrared spectroscopy of dust and ice features will address uncertainties in the mass and composition of dust in galaxies, and the contributions of supernovae to the interstellar dust budget will be quantified by photometry and monitoring of supernova remnants in nearby galaxies, (iv) observations of far-infrared cooling lines such as [O i] 63 μm from star-forming molecular clouds in our Galaxy will evaluate the importance of shocks to dissipate turbulent energy. The paper concludes with requirements for the telescope and instruments, and recommendations for the observing strategy.
Major efforts are being undertaken to quantify seismic hazard and risk due to production-induced earthquakes in the Groningen gas field as the basis for rational decision-making about mitigation measures. An essential element is a model to estimate surface ground motions expected at any location for each earthquake originating within the gas reservoir. Taking advantage of the excellent geological and geophysical characterisation of the field and a growing database of ground-motion recordings, models have been developed for predicting response spectral accelerations, peak ground velocity and ground-motion durations for a wide range of magnitudes. The models reflect the unique source and travel path characteristics of the Groningen earthquakes, and account for the inevitable uncertainty in extrapolating from the small observed magnitudes to potential larger events. The predictions of ground-motion amplitudes include the effects of nonlinear site response of the relatively soft near-surface deposits throughout the field.
IR spectroscopy in the range 12–230 μm with the SPace IR telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA) will reveal the physical processes governing the formation and evolution of galaxies and black holes through cosmic time, bridging the gap between the James Webb Space Telescope and the upcoming Extremely Large Telescopes at shorter wavelengths and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array at longer wavelengths. The SPICA, with its 2.5-m telescope actively cooled to below 8 K, will obtain the first spectroscopic determination, in the mid-IR rest-frame, of both the star-formation rate and black hole accretion rate histories of galaxies, reaching lookback times of 12 Gyr, for large statistically significant samples. Densities, temperatures, radiation fields, and gas-phase metallicities will be measured in dust-obscured galaxies and active galactic nuclei, sampling a large range in mass and luminosity, from faint local dwarf galaxies to luminous quasars in the distant Universe. Active galactic nuclei and starburst feedback and feeding mechanisms in distant galaxies will be uncovered through detailed measurements of molecular and atomic line profiles. The SPICA’s large-area deep spectrophotometric surveys will provide mid-IR spectra and continuum fluxes for unbiased samples of tens of thousands of galaxies, out to redshifts of z ~ 6.
The physical processes driving the chemical evolution of galaxies in the last ~ 11Gyr cannot be understood without directly probing the dust-obscured phase of star-forming galaxies and active galactic nuclei. This phase, hidden to optical tracers, represents the bulk of the star formation and black hole accretion activity in galaxies at 1 < z < 3. Spectroscopic observations with a cryogenic infrared observatory like SPICA, will be sensitive enough to peer through the dust-obscured regions of galaxies and access the rest-frame mid- to far-infrared range in galaxies at high-z. This wavelength range contains a unique suite of spectral lines and dust features that serve as proxies for the abundances of heavy elements and the dust composition, providing tracers with a feeble response to both extinction and temperature. In this work, we investigate how SPICA observations could be exploited to understand key aspects in the chemical evolution of galaxies: the assembly of nearby galaxies based on the spatial distribution of heavy element abundances, the global content of metals in galaxies reaching the knee of the luminosity function up to z ~ 3, and the dust composition of galaxies at high-z. Possible synergies with facilities available in the late 2020s are also discussed.
RR Lyrae variables are old (>10 Gyr) stars and, as such, they are useful probes of the earliest events of star formation in galaxies (Bernard et al. 2008, Martínez-Vázquez et al. 2016) as well as of the galaxy assembly process predicted by ΛCDM simulations of structure formation. In fact, the nature of the building-blocks of galaxies such as the Milky Way, and in particular, those of their stellar haloes, has been a matter of a substantial debate (Venn et al. 2004). Unlike other stellar tracers, RR Lyrae offer a snapshot of the stellar content present at the epoch when most of the merging action is predicted to have taken place, and thus they are ideal witnesses of this process.
We took advantage of the Gaia DR1 to combine TGAS parallaxes with Tycho-2 and APASS photometry to calculate the star formation history (SFH) of the solar neighbourhood within 250 pc using the colour-magnitude diagram fitting technique. We present the determination of the completeness within this volume, and compare the resulting SFH with that calculated from the Hipparcos catalogue within 80 pc of the Sun. We also show how this technique will be applied out to ~5 kpc thanks to the next Gaia data releases, which will allow us to quantify the SFH of the thin disc, thick disc and halo in situ, rather than extrapolating based on the stars from these components that are today in the solar neighbourhood.
We analyze the dust emission features seen in Spitzer Space Telescope Infrared Spectrograph (IRS) spectra of red supergiant (RSG) and oxygen-rich asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud and Small Magellanic Cloud galaxies and in various Milky Way globular clusters. The spectra come from the Spitzer Legacy program SAGE-Spectroscopy (PI: F. Kemper), the Spitzer program SMC-Spec (PI: G. Sloan), and other archival Spitzer-IRS programs. The broad 10 and 20 micron emission features attributed to amorphous dust of silicate composition seen in the spectra show evidence for systematic differences in the centroid of both emission features between O-rich AGB and RSG populations. Radiative transfer modeling using the GRAMS grid of models of AGB and RSG stars suggests that the centroid differences are due to differences in dust properties. We investigate differences in dust composition, size, shape, etc that might be responsible for these spectral differences. We explore how these differences may arise from the different circumstellar environments around RSG and O-rich AGB stars and assess effects of varying metallicity (LMC versus SMC versus Milky Way globular cluster) and other properties (mass-loss rate, luminosity, etc.) on the dust originating from these stars. BAS acknowledges funding from NASA ADAP grant NNX13AD54G.
The French epidemiology of infectious encephalitis has been described in a 2007 prospective study. We compared these results with available data (demographic features, causative agents, case-fatality ratio) obtained through the French national hospital discharge 2007 database (PMSI), in order to evaluate it as a surveillance tool for encephalitis. Causative agents were identified in 52% of cases in the study, and 38% in PMSI (P < 0·001). The incidence of encephalitis in France in 2007 was estimated as 2·6 cases/100 000 inhabitants. HSV and VZV were the most frequent aetiological agents in both databases with similar rates. Listeria monocytogenes and Mycobacterium tuberculosis were less frequent in PMSI than in the study (Listeria: 2% vs. 5%, P = 0·001; Mycobacterium: 2% vs. 8%, P < 0·001). The case-fatality ratios were similar, except for Listeria (46% in the study vs. 16%). Nevertheless, despite the absence of case definitions and a possible misclassification weakening PMSI data, we suggest that PMSI may be used as a basic surveillance tool at a limited cost.
Supernovae (SNe) produce, fragment and destroy dust, molecules and nucleosynthetic elements, and reshape and modify the ISM. I will review recent infrared observations of supernova remnants (SNRs) and SNe which show that SNe are important sites of dust and molecule formation and are major dust creators in the Universe. Detection of carbon monoxide (CO) fundamental band from the young SNR Cas A indicates that astrochemical processes in SNRs interacting with molecular clouds provide astrophysical laboratories to study evolution of the ISM returning material from dense clouds into the more diffuse medium and galactic halo. Two dozen SNRs are known to be interacting with molecular clouds using H2 and millimeter observations. Recent Spitzer, Herschel and SOFIA observations along with ground-based observations have greatly advanced our understanding shock processing and astrochemistry of dust, H2, high J CO, and other neutral and ionized molecules and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH). Ionized molecules and warm layer of molecules that are excited by UV radiation, X-rays, or cosmic rays will be described. Finally I will discuss how astrochemical processes of dust and molecules in SNRs impact the large scale structures in the ISM.
The World Heritage Site of Wanar in Senegal features 21 stone circles, remarkable not least because they were erected in the twelfth and thirteenth century AD, when Islam ruled the Indian Ocean and Europe was in its Middle Ages. The state of preservation has benefited the exemplary investigation currently carried out by a French-Senegalese team, which we are pleased to report here. The site began as a burial ground to which monumental stones were added, perhaps echoing the form of original funerary houses. Found in a neighbouring field were scoops left from the cutting out of the cylindrical monoliths from surface rock. While the origins of Wanar lie in a period of state formation, the monuments are shown to have had a long ritual use. The investigation not only provides a new context for one of the most important sites in West Africa but the precise determination of the sequence and techniques used at Wanar offers key pointers for the understanding of megalithic structures everywhere.