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We present the data and initial results from the first pilot survey of the Evolutionary Map of the Universe (EMU), observed at 944 MHz with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope. The survey covers
of an area covered by the Dark Energy Survey, reaching a depth of 25–30
rms at a spatial resolution of
11–18 arcsec, resulting in a catalogue of
220 000 sources, of which
180 000 are single-component sources. Here we present the catalogue of single-component sources, together with (where available) optical and infrared cross-identifications, classifications, and redshifts. This survey explores a new region of parameter space compared to previous surveys. Specifically, the EMU Pilot Survey has a high density of sources, and also a high sensitivity to low surface brightness emission. These properties result in the detection of types of sources that were rarely seen in or absent from previous surveys. We present some of these new results here.
We measure the cosmic star formation history out to z = 1.3 using a sample of 918 radio-selected star-forming galaxies within the 2-deg2 COSMOS field. To increase our sample size, we combine 1.4-GHz flux densities from the VLA-COSMOS catalogue with flux densities measured from the VLA-COSMOS radio continuum image at the positions of I < 26.5 galaxies, enabling us to detect 1.4-GHz sources as faint as 40 μJy. We find that radio measurements of the cosmic star formation history are highly dependent on sample completeness and models used to extrapolate the faint end of the radio luminosity function. For our preferred model of the luminosity function, we find the star formation rate density increases from 0.017 M⊙ yr−1 Mpc−3 at z ∼ 0.225 to 0.092 M⊙ yr−1 Mpc−3 at z ∼ 1.1, which agrees to within 40% of recent UV, IR and 3-GHz measurements of the cosmic star formation history.
In Scotland, the base of the Ballagan Formation has traditionally been placed at the first grey mudstone within a contiguous Late Devonian to Carboniferous succession. This convention places the Devonian–Carboniferous boundary within the Old Red Sandstone (ORS) Kinnesswood Formation. The consequences of this placement are that tetrapods from the Ballagan Formation were dated as late Tournaisian in age and that the ranges of typically Devonian fish found in the Kinnesswood Formation continued into the Carboniferous. The Pease Bay specimen of the fish Remigolepis is from the Kinnesswood Formation. Comparisons with its range in Greenland, calibrated against spores, show it was Famennian in age. Detailed palynological sampling at Burnmouth from the base of the Ballagan Formation proves that the early Tournaisian spore zones (VI and HD plus Cl 1) are present. The Schopfites species that occurs through most of the succession is Schopfites delicatus rather than Schopfites claviger. The latter species defines the late Tournaisian CM spore zone. The first spore assemblage that has been found in Upper ‘ORS' strata underlying the Ballagan Formation (Preston, Whiteadder Water), contains Retispora lepidophyta and is from the early latest Famennian LL spore zone. The spore samples are interbedded with volcaniclastic debris, which shows that the Kelso Volcanic Formation is, in part, early latest Famennian in age. These findings demonstrate that the Ballagan Formation includes most of the Tournaisian with the Devonian–Carboniferous boundary positioned close to the top of the Kinnesswood Formation. The Stage 6 calcrete at Pease Bay can be correlated to the equivalent section at Carham, showing that it represents a time gap equivalent to the latest Famennian glaciation(s). Importantly, some of the recently described Ballagan Formation tetrapods are older than previously dated and now fill the key early part of Romer's Gap.
The lower Mississippian Ballagan Formation of northern Britain is one of only two successions worldwide to yield the earliest known tetrapods with terrestrial capability following the end-Devonian mass extinction event. Studies of the sedimentary environments and habitats in which these beasts lived have been an integral part of a major research project into how, why and under what circumstances this profound step in the evolution of life on Earth occurred. Here, a new palaeogeographic map is constructed from outcrop data integrated with new and archived borehole material. The map shows the extent of a very low-relief coastal wetland developed along the tropical southern continental margin of Laurussia. Coastal floodplains in the Midland Valley and Tweed basins were separated from the marginal marine seaway of the Northumberland–Solway Basin to the south by an archipelago of more elevated areas. A complex mosaic of sedimentary environments was juxtaposed, and included fresh and brackish to saline and hypersaline lakes, a diverse suite of floodplain palaeosols and a persistent fluvial system in the east of the region. The strongly seasonal climate led to the formation of evaporite deposits alternating with flooding events, both meteoric and marine. Storm surges drove marine floods from the SW into both the western Midland Valley and Northumberland–Solway Basin; marine water also flooded into the Tweed Basin and Tayside in the east. The Ballagan Formation is a rare example in the geological record of a tropical, seasonal coastal wetland that contains abundant, small-scale evaporite deposits. The diverse sedimentary environments and palaeosol types indicate a network of different terrestrial and aquatic habitats in which the tetrapods lived.
The Taipan galaxy survey (hereafter simply ‘Taipan’) is a multi-object spectroscopic survey starting in 2017 that will cover 2π steradians over the southern sky (δ ≲ 10°, |b| ≳ 10°), and obtain optical spectra for about two million galaxies out to z < 0.4. Taipan will use the newly refurbished 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory with the new TAIPAN instrument, which includes an innovative ‘Starbugs’ positioning system capable of rapidly and simultaneously deploying up to 150 spectroscopic fibres (and up to 300 with a proposed upgrade) over the 6° diameter focal plane, and a purpose-built spectrograph operating in the range from 370 to 870 nm with resolving power R ≳ 2000. The main scientific goals of Taipan are (i) to measure the distance scale of the Universe (primarily governed by the local expansion rate, H0) to 1% precision, and the growth rate of structure to 5%; (ii) to make the most extensive map yet constructed of the total mass distribution and motions in the local Universe, using peculiar velocities based on improved Fundamental Plane distances, which will enable sensitive tests of gravitational physics; and (iii) to deliver a legacy sample of low-redshift galaxies as a unique laboratory for studying galaxy evolution as a function of dark matter halo and stellar mass and environment. The final survey, which will be completed within 5 yrs, will consist of a complete magnitude-limited sample (i ⩽ 17) of about 1.2 × 106 galaxies supplemented by an extension to higher redshifts and fainter magnitudes (i ⩽ 18.1) of a luminous red galaxy sample of about 0.8 × 106 galaxies. Observations and data processing will be carried out remotely and in a fully automated way, using a purpose-built automated ‘virtual observer’ software and an automated data reduction pipeline. The Taipan survey is deliberately designed to maximise its legacy value by complementing and enhancing current and planned surveys of the southern sky at wavelengths from the optical to the radio; it will become the primary redshift and optical spectroscopic reference catalogue for the local extragalactic Universe in the southern sky for the coming decade.
The recent discovery of two distant satellites of Uranus suggests that there could be similar bodies orbiting Neptune. Previous surveys for distant satellites of Neptune have had relatively bright magnitude limits (BJ ≃ 20·5) and would have missed satellites with magnitudes and colours similar to the two recently discovered Uranian satellites (R ~ 20·4 and R ~ 21·9). We have searched for satellites of Neptune to a limiting magnitude of R ~ 21 in a 0·1□° region centred on the planet. This search is up to ~ 2 magnitudes deeper than the previous wide field search for distant satellites by the UK Schmidt Telescope. Nereid was easily recovered by the search and no large variations of its magnitude were detected.
Since 1992, 60 large Kuiper Belt objects have been detected by ground-based telescopes. Previous surveys which have detected objects have searched approximately 60□° and detected objects with magnitudes 20·6 < mR < 25·0. However, the luminosity function of brighter Kuiper Belt objects is not well determined. The detection of brighter objects would improve our ability to determine the Kuiper Belt objects' surface composition and provide constraints on the population statistics of different formation mechanisms. This paper describes a survey of 12·0□° of sky near the ecliptic to a limiting magnitude of mR ∼ 21. A slow moving candidate was detected near the magnitude limit of the survey.
Templates and models of galaxy spectra are often essential for determining the physical properties of galaxies. Many commonly used templates have large systematic errors, which significantly impact photometric redshifts and k-corrections. We present a new library of 110 galaxy template spectra spanning from the ultraviolet to the mid-infrared. The templates combine optical, Spitzer and Akari spectra with MAGPHYS models, all normalised and verified with matched aperture photometry. Our library contains more galaxies, spans a broader range of colours and has smaller systematic errors than previous libraries of galaxy spectra.
The science of extra-solar planets is one of the most rapidly changing areas of astrophysics and since 1995 the number of planets known has increased by almost two orders of magnitude. A combination of ground-based surveys and dedicated space missions has resulted in 560-plus planets being detected, and over 1200 that await confirmation. NASA's Kepler mission has opened up the possibility of discovering Earth-like planets in the habitable zone around some of the 100,000 stars it is surveying during its 3 to 4-year lifetime. The new ESA's Gaia mission is expected to discover thousands of new planets around stars within 200 parsecs of the Sun. The key challenge now is moving on from discovery, important though that remains, to characterisation: what are these planets actually like, and why are they as they are?
In the past ten years, we have learned how to obtain the first spectra of exoplanets using transit transmission and emission spectroscopy. With the high stability of Spitzer, Hubble, and large ground-based telescopes the spectra of bright close-in massive planets can be obtained and species like water vapour, methane, carbon monoxide and dioxide have been detected. With transit science came the first tangible remote sensing of these planetary bodies and so one can start to extrapolate from what has been learnt from Solar System probes to what one might plan to learn about their faraway siblings. As we learn more about the atmospheres, surfaces and near-surfaces of these remote bodies, we will begin to build up a clearer picture of their construction, history and suitability for life.
The Exoplanet Characterisation Observatory, EChO, will be the first dedicated mission to investigate the physics and chemistry of Exoplanetary Atmospheres. By characterising spectroscopically more bodies in different environments we will take detailed planetology out of the Solar System and into the Galaxy as a whole.
EChO has now been selected by the European Space Agency to be assessed as one of four M3 mission candidates.
To understand the slow growth of massive galaxies at z < 1, we have modeled how these galaxies populate dark matter halos. The models are constrained with the observed luminosity function and clustering of z < 1 red galaxies. In the most massive halos, much of the stellar mass resides within multiple satellite galaxies rather than a single central galaxy. Consequently, massive galaxies grow slowly within rapidly growing dark matter halos.
In cold dark matter cosmologies, the most massive dark matter halos are predicted to undergo rapid growth at z < 1. While there is the expectation that massive galaxies will also rapidly grow via merging, recent observational studies conclude that the stellar masses of the most massive galaxies grow by just ~ 30% at z < 1. We have used the observed space density and clustering of z < 1 red galaxies in Boötes to determine how these galaxies populate dark matter halos. In the most massive dark matter halos, central galaxy stellar mass is proportional to halo mass to the power of a ~1/3 and much of the stellar mass resides within satellite galaxies. As a consequence, the most massive galaxies grow slowly even though they reside within rapidly growing dark matter halos.
In a recent paper, Jyoti Chaudhuri and W. N. Everitt linked the spectral properties of certain second order ordinary differential operators with the analytic properties of the solutions of the corresponding differential equations. This paper considers similar properties of the spectrum of the corresponding partial differential operators.
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