Astronomical Observatory Belgrade

Belgrade, Serbia

Astronomical Observatory Belgrade

Belgrade, Serbia
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Micic M.,Astronomical Observatory Belgrade | Martinovic N.,Astronomical Observatory Belgrade | Sinha M.,Swinburne University of Technology
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2016

Recent observations of active galactic nucleus (AGN) activity in massive galaxies (log M*/M⊙ > 10.4) show the following: (1) at z < 1, AGN-hosting galaxies do not show enhanced merger signatures compared with normal galaxies, (2) also at z < 1, most AGNs are hosted by quiescent galaxies and (3) at z > 1, the percentage of AGNs in star-forming galaxies increases and becomes comparable to the AGN percentage in quiescent galaxies at z∼2. How can major mergers explain AGN activity in massive quiescent galaxies that have no merger features and no star formation to indicate a recent galaxy merger? By matching merger events in a cosmological N-body simulation to the observed AGN incidence probability in the COSMOS survey, we show that major merger-triggered AGN activity is consistent with the observations. By distinguishing between 'peak' AGNs (recently merger-triggered and hosted by star-forming galaxies) and 'faded' AGNs (merger-triggered a long time ago and now residing in quiescent galaxies), we show that the AGN occupation fraction in star-forming and quiescent galaxies simply follows the evolution of the galaxy merger rate. Since the galaxy merger rate drops dramatically at z < 1, the only AGNs left to be observed are the ones triggered by old mergers that are now in the declining phase of their nuclear activity, hosted by quiescent galaxies. As we go towards higher redshifts, the galaxy merger rate increases and the percentages of 'peak' AGNs and 'faded' AGNs become comparable. © 2016 The Authors.


Baes M.,Ghent University | Verstappen J.,Ghent University | De Looze I.,Ghent University | Fritz J.,Ghent University | And 7 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal, Supplement Series | Year: 2011

We present an updated version of SKIRT, a three-dimensional (3D) Monte Carlo radiative transfer code developed to simulate dusty galaxies. The main novel characteristics of the SKIRT code are the use of a stellar foam to generate random positions, an efficient combination of eternal forced scattering and continuous absorption, and a new library approach that links the radiative transfer code to the DustEM dust emission library. This approach enables a fast, accurate, and self-consistent calculation of the dust emission of arbitrary mixtures of transiently heated dust grains and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, even for full 3D models containing millions of dust cells. We have demonstrated the accuracy of the SKIRT code through a set of simulations based on the edge-on spiral galaxy UGC4754. The models we ran were gradually refined from a smooth, two-dimensional, local thermal equilibrium (LTE) model to a fully 3D model that includes non-LTE (NLTE) dust emission and a clumpy structure of the dusty interstellar medium. We find that clumpy models absorb UV and optical radiation less efficiently than smooth models with the same amount of dust, and that the dust in clumpy models is on average both cooler and less luminous. Our simulations demonstrate that, given the appropriate use of optimization techniques, it is possible to efficiently and accurately run Monte Carlo radiative transfer simulations of arbitrary 3D structures of several million dust cells, including a full calculation of the NLTE emission by arbitrary dust mixtures. © 2011. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Milic I.,University of Nice Sophia Antipolis | Milic I.,Astronomical Observatory Belgrade | Faurobert M.,University of Nice Sophia Antipolis
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2014

Context. To interpret observations of astrophysical disks, it is essential to understand the formation process of the emitted light. If the disk is optically thick, scattering dominated and permeated by a Keplerian velocity field, non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (NLTE) radiative transfer modeling must be done to compute the emergent spectrum from a given disk model. Aims. We investigate NLTE polarized line formation in different simple disk models and aim to demonstrate the importance of both radiative transfer effects and scattering, as well as the effects of velocity fields. Methods. We self-consistently solve the coupled equations of radiative transfer and statistical equilibrium for a two-level atom model by means of Jacobi iteration. We use the short characteristics method of formal solution in two-dimensional axisymmetric media and compute scattering polarization, that is Q/I and U/I line profiles, using the reduced intensity formalism. We account for the presence of Keplerian velocity fields by casting the radiative transfer equation in the observer's frame. Results. Relatively simple (homogeneous and isothermal) disk models show complex intensity profiles that owe their shape to the interplay of multidimensional NLTE radiative transfer and the presence of rotation. The degree of scattering polarization is significantly influenced not only by the inclination of the disk with respect to observer, but also by the optical thickness of the disk and the presence of rotation. Stokes U/I shows double-lobed profiles with amplitude that increases with the disk rotation. Conclusions. Our results suggest that the line profiles, especially the polarized ones, emerging from gaseous disks differ significantly from the profiles predicted by simple approximations. Even in the case of the simple two-level atom model, we obtain line profiles that are diverse in shape, but typically symmetric in Stokes Q and antisymmetric in Stokes U. A clear indicator of disk rotation is the presence of Stokes U, which might prove to be a useful diagnostic tool. We also demonstrate that, for moderate rotational velocities, an approximate treatment can be used, where NLTE radiative transfer is done in the velocity field-free approximation, and Doppler shift is applied in the process of spatial integration over the whole emitting surface. © 2014 ESO.


Milic I.,Astronomical Observatory Belgrade | Faurobert M.,University of Nice Sophia Antipolis
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2012

Context. The atmosphere of the Sun is permeated by a vast amount of magnetic flux that remains invisible in magnetograms based on the Zeeman effect. A model-independent way of measuring weak hidden magnetic fields makes use of the differential Hanle effect on the scattering polarization of molecular lines with different sensitivities to magnetic fields. Aims. The observed line scattering polarization steeply increases at the solar limb. Here we are interested in interpreting observations performed at the solar limb, where plane-parallel semi-infinite geometry is not valid. The main reason is that the sphericity of the atmosphere means that the line-of-sight optical path intersects only a finite part of the solar atmosphere. In this paper we revisit the modeling of scattering polarization in two molecular lines of C 2 and MgH in the spectral range from 515.60 nm to 516.20 nm, where observations performed both inside and above the solar limb are available. Methods. The solar atmosphere is described by a one-dimensional, spherically symmetric medium following either the FALC or the FALX quiet Sun model. Both the line and background continuum scattering polarizations are computed by means of the "along-the-ray" approach. We assume a two-level atom formalism for the line source function, and we compute the molecule number densities and line opacities assuming LTE. We estimate the elastic and inelastic collision rates by fitting the line intensity and linear polarization in several couples of lines of the Second Solar Spectrum Atlas. Results. The limb variations of scattering polarization, both in the lines and in the continuum, are strongly modified when the sphericity of the solar atmosphere is accounted for. We show that the line polarization goes through a maximum at 0.4′′ above the limb, for both MgH and C 2 lines. The contribution of the line rapidly goes to zero at a larger limb distance, but continuum polarization keeps increasing. The maximum polarization rates have an amplitude of 2% to 2.5% when the FALC model is used, which agrees with previous observations, whereas the FALX model leads to much higher rates. We then investigate the Hanle effect of microturbulent magnetic fields on the C 2 line linear polarization. We show that polarization observed close to the limb would provide valuable diagnostics of weak magnetic fields in the region of the temperature minimum. © 2012 ESO.


Milic I.,University of Nice Sophia Antipolis | Milic I.,Astronomical Observatory Belgrade | Faurobert M.,University of Nice Sophia Antipolis
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2012

Context. The quiet Sun magnetism has been intensively investigated in recent years by various observational techniques. But several issues, such as the question of the isotropy and of the energy density spectrum of the mixed polarity turbulent magnetic fields, are still under debate. Aims. Here we present an inversion method that allows us to constrain the depth-dependence of the magnetic field strength. We use the center-to-limb variations of linear scattering polarization measured in molecular lines of C 2 and MgH molecules with different sensitivities to the Hanle effect. We consider six C 2-triplets and one MgH line in the spectral range between 515.7 nm and 516.1 nm observed with the THEMIS Telescope. Methods. One of the delicate problems with Hanle diagnostics is to disentangle the effects of elastic depolarizing collisions from the depolarization due to the Hanle effect of the magnetic field. By making use of the different sensitivities of the molecular lines in our spectral range to microturbulent magnetic fields and, by using a non-LTE radiative transfer modeling of the line formation, we are able to determine both the depolarizing collision cross-section and the magnetic strength. We use a standard 1D quiet Sun atmospheric model and we invert the full set of center-to-limb polarization rates measured at line centers, with a depth-dependent magnetic field described by three free parameters. The depolarizing collision cross-section is also treated as a free parameter. A downhill simplex method is used to find the best-fitting values for the collisional and magnetic strength parameters. Results. For the elastic depolarizing collisions cross-section for the C 2 lines we obtain α (2) = 1.6 ± 0.4 × 10 -9 cm 3 ·s -1, which is within an order of magnitude of the value previously obtained for MgH lines from a differential Hanle effect analysis. The observational constraints provided by the MgH and C 2 line polarization give access to the altitude range between z = 200 km and z = 400 km above the base of the photosphere. We find that the turbulent magnetic field strength decreases from 95 Gauss at the altitude z = 200 km to 5 Gauss at z = 400 km. Conclusions. The turbulent magnetic field strength that we derive from the Hanle effect shows a strong vertical gradient in the upper photosphere. We point out that this behavior may explain why very different turbulent magnetic field strengths have been inferred from the interpretation of Hanle depolarization when using different lines formed at different altitudes. We notice that the presence of a strong depth gradient is not compatible with the assumption of isotropy of the turbulent field. © 2012 ESO.


Vukoti B.,Astronomical Observatory Belgrade
International Journal of Astrobiology | Year: 2010

The number of habitable planets in the Milky Way and its temporal variation are major unknowns in the nascent fields of astrobiology and Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence studies. All numerical models developed thus far have suffered from large uncertainties in the input data, in addition to our lack of understanding of the processes of astrobiological dynamics. Here, we argue that at least the input data can now be specified with more confidence, and use a simple Monte Carlo model of the Galactic Habitable Zone (GHZ) as a flexible platform for their elucidation. Previous papers have described some of the major results of this class of models; in this paper we present its mechanics and input parameters, notably the number of the habitable planets in the GHZ and their temporal distribution, based on the results of Lineweaver et al. (Lineweaver, C.H., Fenner, Y. & Gibson, B.K. (2004). Science 303, 59-62.) Regulation mechanisms (such as gamma-ray bursts or supernovae) and their temporal evolution, assumed to be main agents responsible for large-scale correlation effects, are modelled as type (which can sterilize part of or the entire GHZ) and type (which are of local importance) events with decreasing mean temporal frequency over the cosmological timescale. The considered global risk function implies as an upper limit that about one out of a hundred habitable sites will achieve high astrobiological complexity. The preliminary results of numerical modelling presented here and elsewhere imply that the lack of a sudden change from an essentially dead Galaxy to a Galaxy filled with complex life - the astrobiological phase transition - in our past (a version of Fermi's paradox) may be understood as a consequence of global astrobiological disequilibrium, strongly indicating such a transitional epoch in our future. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010.


Vukotic B.,Astronomical Observatory Belgrade | Cirkovic M.M.,Astronomical Observatory Belgrade
Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres | Year: 2012

The search for extraterrestrial life and intelligence constitutes one of the major endeavors in science, but has yet been quantitatively modeled only rarely and in a cursory and superficial fashion. We argue that probabilistic cellular automata (PCA) represent the best quantitative framework for modeling the astrobiological history of the Milky Way and its Galactic Habitable Zone. The relevant astrobiological parameters are to be modeled as the elements of the input probability matrix for the PCA kernel. With the underlying simplicity of the cellular automata constructs, this approach enables a quick analysis of large and ambiguous space of the input parameters. We perform a simple clustering analysis of typical astrobiological histories with "Copernican" choice of input parameters and discuss the relevant boundary conditions of practical importance for planning and guiding empirical astrobiological and SETI projects. In addition to showing how the present framework is adaptable to more complex situations and updated observational databases from current and near-future space missions, we demonstrate how numerical results could offer a cautious rationale for continuation of practical SETI searches. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Milic I.,University of Nice Sophia Antipolis | Milic I.,Astronomical Observatory Belgrade
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2013

Aims. This paper deals with multidimensional NLTE polarized radiative transfer in the case of two level atom in the absence of lower level polarization. We aim to develop an efficient and robust method for 2D cylindrical geometry and to apply it to various axi-symmetrical astrophysical objects such as rings, disks, rotating stars, and solar prominences. Methods. We review the methods of short characteristics and Jacobi iteration applied to axisymmetric geometry. Then we demonstrate how to use a reduced basis for polarized intensity and polarized source function to self-consistently solve the coupled equations of radiative transfer and statistical equilibrium for linearly polarized radiation. We discuss some peculiarities that do not appear in Cartesian geometry, such as angular interpolation in performing the formal solution. We also show how to account for two different types of illuminating radiation. Results. The proposed method is tested on homogeneous, self-emitting cylinders to compare the results with those in 1D geometries. We demonstrate a possible astrophysical application on a very simple model of circumstellar ring illuminated by a host star where we show that such a disk can introduce a significant amount of scattering polarization in the system. Conclusions. This method is found to converge properly and, apparently, to allow for substantial time saving compared to 3D Cartesian geometry. We also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this approach in multidimensional radiative transfer modeling. © 2013 ESO.


Kovacevic J.,Astronomical Observatory Belgrade
Serbian Astronomical Journal | Year: 2011

The spectral properties of a sample of 58 Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) spectra, in which emission [O III] λλ4959, 5007 A lines are weak or totally absent, are analyzed. In order to investigate the physical reason for the [O III] emission suppression, the spectral properties of the weak [O III] spectra sample are compared with the same properties of a sample of 269 spectra with the strong [O III] lines. The spectra are obtained from Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Database. It is found that the objects with the weak or absent [O III] λλ4959, 5007 A lines generally have the high continuum luminosities (log(λL5100) > 45), that they are very rare at smaller redshifts (z < 0.3) and that they usually have strong starburst influence. From the sample with weak or absent [O III] lines, two boundary subgroups may be distinguished: the subgroup with a strong Hβ narrow component and subgroup with a very weak or negligible Hβ narrow component. The physical causes for the [O III] lines suppressing are probably different in these two subgroups: the [O III] lines are absent in objects with strong narrow Hβ probably because of strong starburst (SB) activity, which produces high density of the gas, while in the objects with the negligible narrow Hβ, the reason for [O III] and narrow Hβ suppression may be a low covering factor.


Smailagic M.,Astronomical Observatory Belgrade | Micic M.,Astronomical Observatory Belgrade | Martinovic N.,Astronomical Observatory Belgrade
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2016

In this work, we model the observed evolution in comoving number density of Lyman α blobs (LABs) as a function of redshift. Our model calculates LAB emission both from cooling radiation from the intergalactic gas accreting on to galaxies and from star formation (SF). We have used a dark matter (DM) cosmological simulation to which we applied empirical recipes for Ly α emission produced by cooling radiation and SF in every halo. Unlike previous work, the simulated volume in the DM simulation is large enough to produce an average LAB number density. For a range of redshifts, z ~ 1-7, we compare our results with the observed luminosity functions of LABs and Lyman α emitters. Our cooling radiation luminosities appear to be too small to explain LAB luminosities at all redshifts. In contrast, for SF we obtained a good agreement with observed luminosity functions at all redshifts studied. We also discuss uncertainties that could influence the results obtained. © 2016 The Authors.

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