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Corral-Santana J.M.,University of Santiago de Chile | Casares J.,Institute of Astrophysics of Canarias | Casares J.,University of La Laguna | Munoz-Darias T.,Institute of Astrophysics of Canarias | And 7 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics

Aims. During the last ∼50 years, the population of black hole candidates in X-ray binaries has increased considerably, with 59 Galactic objects being detected in transient low-mass X-ray binaries, as well as a few in persistent systems (including ∼5 extragalactic binaries). Methods. We collect near-infrared, optical, and X-ray information spread over hundreds of references to study the population of black holes in X-ray transients as a whole. Results. We present the most updated catalogue of black hole transients. This contains X-ray, optical, and near-infrared observations, together with their astrometric and dynamical properties. The catalogue provides new and useful information in both statistical and observational parameters and provides a thorough and complete overview of the black hole population in the Milky Way. Analysing the distances and spatial distribution of the observed systems, we estimate a total population of ∼1300 Galactic black hole transients. This means that we have only discovered less than ∼5% of the total Galactic distribution. © ESO, 2016. Source

Folatelli G.,Institute Astrofisica Of La Plata | Folatelli G.,National University of La Plata | Folatelli G.,University of Tokyo | Bersten M.C.,Institute Astrofisica Of La Plata | And 9 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal

Hubble Space Telescope observations of the site of the supernova (SN) SN 2008ax obtained in 2011 and 2013 reveal that the possible progenitor object detected in pre-explosion images was in fact multiple. Four point sources are resolved in the new, higher-resolution images. We identify one of the sources with the fading SN. The other three objects are consistent with single supergiant stars. We conclude that their light contaminated the previously identified progenitor candidate. After subtraction of these stars, the progenitor appears to be significantly fainter and bluer than previously measured. Post-explosion photometry at the SN location indicates that the progenitor object has disappeared. If single, the progenitor is compatible with a supergiant star of B to mid-A spectral type, while a Wolf-Rayet (W-R) star would be too luminous in the ultraviolet to account for the observations. Moreover, our hydrodynamical modeling shows that the pre-explosion mass was 4-5 Mo and the radius was 30-50 Ro, which is incompatible with a W-R progenitor. We present a possible interacting binary progenitor computed with our evolutionary models that reproduces all the observational evidence. A companion star as luminous as an O9-B0 main-sequence star may have remained after the explosion. © 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Source

Chakrabarti S.,Rochester Institute of Technology | Saito R.,Federal University of Sergipe | Quillen A.,University of Rochester | Gran F.,University of Santiago de Chile | And 3 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal Letters

Distant regions close to the plane of our Galaxy are largely unexplored by optical surveys as they are hidden by dust. We have used near-infrared data (which minimizes dust obscuration) from the ESO Public survey VISTA Variables of the Via Lactea to search for distant stars at low latitudes. We have discovered four Cepheid variables within an angular extent of 1° centered at a Galactic longitude of l = -27.°4 and a Galactic latitude of b = -1.°08. We use the tightly constrained period-luminosity relationship that these pulsating stars obey to derive distances. We infer an average distance to these Cepheid variables of 90 kpc. The Cepheid variables are highly clustered in angle (within 1°) and in distance (the standard deviation of the distances is 12 kpc). These young (∼100 Myr old), pulsating stars are unexpected at such large distances from the Galactic disk, which terminates at ∼15 kpc. The highly clustered nature in distance and angle of the Cepheid variables suggests that the stars may be associated with a dwarf galaxy; its location and mass were earlier predicted by a dynamical analysis. The Cepheids are at an average distance of ∼2 kpc from the plane and their maximum projected separation is ∼1 kpc. © 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Source

Moreno-Raya M.E.,Complutense University of Madrid | Molla M.,Complutense University of Madrid | Lopez-Sanchez A.R.,Australian Astronomical Observatory | Lopez-Sanchez A.R.,Macquarie University | And 5 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal Letters

The metallicity of the progenitor system producing a type Ia supernova (SN Ia) could play a role in its maximum luminosity, as suggested by theoretical predictions. We present an observational study to investigate if such a relationship exists. Using the 4.2 m William Herschel Telescope (WHT) we have obtained intermediate-resolution spectroscopy data of a sample of 28 local galaxies hosting SNe Ia, for which distances have been derived using methods independent of those based on SN Ia parameters. From the emission lines observed in their optical spectra, we derived the gas-phase oxygen abundance in the region where each SN Ia exploded. Our data show a trend, with an 80% of chance not being due to random fluctuation, between SNe Ia absolute magnitudes and the oxygen abundances of the host galaxies, in the sense that luminosities tend to be higher for galaxies with lower metallicities. This result seems likely to be in agreement with both the theoretically expected behavior and with other observational results. This dependence MB-Z might induce systematic errors when it is not considered when deriving SNe Ia luminosities and then using them to derive cosmological distances. © 2016. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.. Source

Folatelli G.,University of Tokyo | Bersten M.C.,University of Tokyo | Benvenuto O.G.,National University of La Plata | Benvenuto O.G.,CONICET | And 9 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal Letters

We present Hubble Space Telescope (HST) observations of the field of the Type IIb supernova (SN) 2011dh in M51 performed at ≈1161 rest-frame days after explosion using the Wide Field Camera 3 and near-UV filters F225W and F336W. A star-like object is detected in both bands and the photometry indicates it has negative (F225W-F336W) color. The observed object is compatible with the companion of the now-vanished yellow supergiant progenitor predicted in interacting binary models. We consider it unlikely that the SN is undergoing strong interaction and thus estimate that it makes a small contribution to the observed flux. The possibilities of having detected an unresolved light echo or an unrelated object are briefly discussed and judged unlikely. Adopting a possible range of extinction by dust, we constrain parameters of the proposed binary system. In particular, the efficiency of mass accretion onto the binary companion must be below 50%, if no significant extinction is produced by newly formed dust. Further multiband observations are required in order to confirm the identification of the object as the companion star. If confirmed, the companion star would already be dominant in the UV-optical regime, so it would readily provide a unique opportunity to perform a detailed study of its properties. © 2014. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Source

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