Publications by James Binney


RAVE spectroscopy of luminous blue variables in the Large Magellanic Cloud

ArXiv (0)

U Munari, A Siviero, O Bienaymé, J Binney, J Bland-Hawthorn, R Campbell, KC Freeman, JP Fulbright, BK Gibson, G Gilmore, EK Grebel, A Helmi, JF Navarro, QA Parker, W Reid, GM Seabroke, A Siebert, M Steinmetz, FG Watson, M Williams, RFG Wyse, T Zwitter

CONTEXT: The RAVE spectroscopic survey for galactic structure and evolution obtains 8400-8800 Ang spectra at 7500 resolving power at the UK Schmidt Telescope using the 6dF multi-fiber positioner. More than 300,000 9<I<12 and |b|>25 deg southern stars have been observed to date. AIMS: This paper presents the first intrinsic examination of stellar spectra from the RAVE survey, aimed at evaluating their diagnostic potential for peculiar stars and at contributing to the general understanding of Luminous Blue Variables (LBVs). METHODS: We used the multi-epoch spectra for all seven LBVs observed, between 2005 and 2008, in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) by the RAVE survey. RESULTS: We demonstrate that RAVE spectra possess significant diagnostic potential when applied to peculiar stars and, in particular, LBVs. The behaviour of the radial velocities for both emission and absorption lines, and the spectral changes between outburst and quiescence states are described and found to agree with evidence gathered at more conventional wavelengths. The wind outflow signatures and their variability are investigated, with multi-components detected in S Doradus. Photoionisation modelling of the rich emission line spectrum of R 127 shows evidence of a massive detached ionised shell that was ejected during the 1982-2000 outburst. Surface inhomogeneities in the nuclear-processed material, brought to the surface by heavy mass loss, could have been observed in S Doradus, even if alternative explanations are possible. We also detect the transition from quiescence to outburst state in R 71. Finally, our spectrum of R 84 offers one of the clearest views of its cool companion.


Clues from microquasars to the origin of radio-loudness of quasars

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C Nipoti, KM Blundell, J Binney

We analysed the long-term variability of four microquasars (GRS 1915+105, Cyg X-1, Cyg X-3, and Sco X-1) in radio and X rays. The results of our analysis indicate the existence of two distinct modes of energy output, which we refer to as the `coupled' mode and the `flaring' mode. The coupled mode is responsible for mildly fluctuating, flat-spectrum radio emission, coupled with the X-ray emission; the flaring mode produces powerful, steep-spectrum radio flares, with no significant counterpart in X rays. We find that the fraction of time spent by a typical microquasar in the flaring mode is similar to the fraction of quasars that are radio-loud. This is consistent with the hypothesis that radio-loudness of quasars is a function of the epoch at which the source is observed.


Modified Newtonian Dynamics in the Milky Way

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B Famaey, J Binney

Both microlensing surveys and radio-frequency observations of gas flow imply that the inner Milky Way is completely dominated by baryons, contrary to the predictions of standard cold dark matter (CDM) cosmology. We investigate the predictions of the Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND) formula for the Galaxy given the measured baryon distribution. Satisfactory fits to the observationally determined terminal-velocity curve are obtained for different choices of the MOND's interpolating function mu(x). However, with simple analytical forms of mu(x), the local circular speed v_c(R_0) can be as large as 220 km/s only for values of the parameter a_0 that are excluded by observations of NGC 3198. Only a numerically specified interpolating function can produce v_c(R_0)=220 km/s, which is therefore an upper limit in MOND, while the asymptotic velocity is predicted to be v_c(infty)=170+-5 km/s. The data are probably not consistent with the functional form of mu(x) that has been explored as a toy model in the framework of Bekenstein's covariant theory of gravity.


On the origin of the galaxy luminosity function

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J Binney

Evidence is summarized that suggests that when a protogalaxy collapses, a fraction $f$ of its gas fails to heat to the virial temperature, where $f$ is large for haloes less massive than the value $M^*$ associated with $L^*$ galaxies. Stars and galaxies form only from the cool gas fraction. Hot gas is ejected from low-mass systems as in conventional semi-analytic models of galaxy formation. In high-mass systems it is retained but does not cool and form stars. Instead it builds up as a largely inert atmosphere, in which cooling is inhibited by an episodically active galactic nucleus. Cold gas frequently falls into galactic haloes. In the absence of a dense atmosphere of virial-temperature gas it builds up on nearly circular orbits and forms stars. When there is a sufficiently dense hot atmosphere, cold infalling gas tends to be ablated and absorbed by the hot atmosphere before it can form stars. The picture nicely explains away the surfeit of high-luminosity galaxies that has recently plagued semi-analytic models of galaxy formation, replacing them by systems of moderate luminosity from old stars and large X-ray luminosities from hot gas.


Microlensing and Galactic Structure

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J Binney

Because we know little about the Galactic force-field away from the plane, the Galactic mass distribution is very ill-determined. I show that a microlensing survey of galaxies closer than 50 Mpc would enable us to map in three dimensions the Galactic density of stellar mass, which should be strictly less than the total mass density. A lower limit can be placed on the stellar mass needed at R<R_0 to generate the measured optical depth towards sources in the bulge. If the Galaxy is barred, this limit is lower by a factor of up to two than in the axisymmetric case. Even our limited knowledge of the Galactic force field suffices to rule out the presence of the amount of mass an axisymmetric Galaxy needs to generate the measured optical depth. Several lines of argument imply that the Galaxy is strongly barred only at R < 4 kpc, and if this is the case, even barred Galaxy models cannot generate the measured optical depth without violating some constraint on the Galactic force-field. Galactic mass models that are based on the assumption that light traces mass, for which there is significant support in the inner Galaxy, yield microlensing optical depths that are smaller than the measured value by a factor of more than 2.5.

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