Jason Dexter - UC Berkeley

Jason Dexter
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Name
Jason Dexter
Affiliation
UC Berkeley
City
Berkeley
Country
United States

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High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (35)
 
Astrophysics of Galaxies (16)
 
Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (8)
 
Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (2)
 
Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (2)
 
High Energy Physics - Phenomenology (2)
 
High Energy Physics - Theory (1)

Publications Authored By Jason Dexter

Non-VLBI measurements of Faraday rotation at mm wavelengths have been used to constrain mass accretion rates ($\mdot$) onto supermassive black holes in the centre of the Milky Way and in the centre of M87. We constructed general relativistic magnetohydrodynamics models for these sources that qualitatively well describe their spectra and radio/mm images invoking a coupled jet-disk system. Using general relativistic polarized radiative transfer, we now also model the observed mm rotation measure (RM) of M87. Read More

We propose a new imaging technique for radio and optical/infrared interferometry. The proposed technique reconstructs the image from the visibility amplitude and closure phase, which are standard data products of short-millimeter very long baseline interferometers such as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) and optical/infrared interferometers, by utilizing two regularization functions: the $\ell_1$-norm and total variation (TV) of the brightness distribution. In the proposed method, optimal regularization parameters, which represent the sparseness and effective spatial resolution of the image, are derived from data themselves using cross validation (CV). Read More

We propose a new technique for radio interferometry to obtain super-resolution full polarization images in all four Stokes parameters using sparse modeling. The proposed technique reconstructs the image in each Stokes parameter from the corresponding full-complex Stokes visibilities by utilizing two regularization functions: the $\ell _1$-norm and total variation (TV) of the brightness distribution. As an application of this technique, we present simulated linear polarization observations of two physically motivated models of M87 with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). Read More

Until recently, the strong interstellar scattering observed towards the Galactic center (GC) black hole, Sgr A*, was thought to come from dense gas within the GC region. The pulse broadening towards the transient magnetar SGR J1745-2900 near Sgr A* has shown that the source of the scattering is instead located much closer to Earth, possibly in a nearby spiral arm. We show that a single HII region along the line of sight, 1. Read More

Using 25 years of data from uninterrupted monitoring of stellar orbits in the Galactic Center, we present an update of the main results from this unique data set: A measurement of mass of and distance to SgrA*. Our progress is not only due to the eight year increase in time base, but also due to the improved definition of the coordinate system. The star S2 continues to yield the best constraints on the mass of and distance to SgrA*; the statistical errors of 0. Read More

Decomposing an arbitrary electron energy distribution into sums of Maxwellian and power law components is an efficient method to calculate synchrotron emission and absorption. We use this method to study the effect of non-thermal electrons on submm images and spectra of the Galactic center black hole, Sgr A*. We assume a spatially uniform functional form for the electron distribution function and use a semi-analytic radiatively inefficient accretion flow and a 2D general relativistic MHD snapshot as example models of the underlying accretion flow structure. Read More

The Galactic Center black hole Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) is a prime observing target for the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), which can resolve the 1.3 mm emission from this source on angular scales comparable to that of the general relativistic shadow. Previous EHT observations have used visibility amplitudes to infer the morphology of the millimeter-wavelength emission. Read More

Ray tracing radiative transfer is a powerful method for comparing theoretical models of black hole accretion flows and jets with observations. We present a public code, grtrans, for carrying out such calculations in the Kerr metric, including the full treatment of polarised radiative transfer and parallel transport along geodesics. The code is written in Fortran 90 and efficiently parallelises with OpenMP, and the full code and several components have Python interfaces. Read More

Gamma-ray observations have shown pulsars to be efficient converters of rotational energy into GeV photons and it is of wide-ranging interest to determine their contribution to the gamma-ray background. We arrive at flux predictions from both the young (<~ Myr) and millisecond (~Gyr) Galactic pulsar populations. We find that unresolved pulsars can yield both a significant fraction of the excess GeV gamma rays near the Galactic Center and an inverse Compton flux in the inner kpc similar to that inferred by Fermi. Read More

Near a black hole, differential rotation of a magnetized accretion disk is thought to produce an instability that amplifies weak magnetic fields, driving accretion and outflow. These magnetic fields would naturally give rise to the observed synchrotron emission in galaxy cores and to the formation of relativistic jets, but no observations to date have been able to resolve the expected horizon-scale magnetic-field structure. We report interferometric observations at 1. Read More

2015Oct
Affiliations: 1Washington University in Saint Louis, Physics Department and McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, 2Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 3California Institute of Technology, Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, 4Washington University in Saint Louis, Physics Department and McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, 5Washington University in Saint Louis, Physics Department and McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, 6Washington University in Saint Louis, Physics Department and McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, 7Washington University in Saint Louis, Physics Department and McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, 8Washington University in Saint Louis, Physics Department and McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, 9Washington University in Saint Louis, Physics Department and McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, 10Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, 11California Institute of Technology, Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, 12California Institute of Technology, Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, 13Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 14Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 15Rice University, Department of Physics and Astronomy, 16Washington University in Saint Louis, Physics Department and McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, 17Georgia College, Department of Chemistry, Physics, and Astronomy, 18Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 19Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 20North-West University, Centre for Space Research, 21Technical University of Denmark, DTU Space, National Space Institute, 22Yale University, Department of Astronomy, 23Washington University in Saint Louis, Physics Department and McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, 24University of Virginia, Department of Astronomy, 25MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics Garching, 26Durham University, Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy, Department of Physics, 27Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 28North Carolina State University, Department of Physics, 29Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 30Cambridge, Institute of Astronomy, UK, 31Penn State University, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 32Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 33University of California, Berkeley, Department of Physics, 34ASI Science Data Center, Italy, 35California Institute of Technology, Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, 36Cambridge, Institute of Astronomy, UK, 37Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 38Purdue University, Department of Physics and Astronomy, 39Texas Tech University, Physics Department, 40Nagoya University, Center for Experimental Studies, Kobayashi-Maskawa Institute for the Origin of Particles and the Universe, 41University of Maryland, Physics Department, 42RIKEN, 43Univ. of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Astronomy Dept, 44Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 45Istituto di Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali, INAF, 46Department of Astronomy/Steward Observatory, 47Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 48Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 49Department of Astronomy/Steward Observatory, 50NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 51Tohoku University, Astronomical Institute, 52NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

This paper describes the Polarization Spectroscopic Telescope Array (PolSTAR), a mission proposed to NASA's 2014 Small Explorer (SMEX) announcement of opportunity. PolSTAR measures the linear polarization of 3-50 keV (requirement; goal: 2.5-70 keV) X-rays probing the behavior of matter, radiation and the very fabric of spacetime under the extreme conditions close to the event horizons of black holes, as well as in and around magnetars and neutron stars. Read More

We analyze the light curves of 413 radio sources at submillimeter wavelengths using data from the Submillimeter Array calibrator database. The database includes more than 20,000 observations at 1.3 and 0. Read More

X-ray flares have routinely been observed from the supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A$^\star$ (Sgr A$^\star$), at our Galactic center. The nature of these flares remains largely unclear, despite of many theoretical models. In this paper, we study the statistical properties of the Sgr A$^\star$ X-ray flares, by fitting the count rate (CR) distribution and the structure function (SF) of the light curve with a Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method. Read More

Studies of Fermi data indicate an excess of GeV gamma rays around the Galactic center (GC), possibly due to dark matter. We show that young gamma-ray pulsars can yield a similar signal. First, a high concentration of GC supernovae naturally leads to a population of kicked pulsars symmetric about the GC. Read More

We report new observations with the Very Large Array, Atacama Large Millimeter Array, and Submillimeter Array at frequencies from 1.0 to 355 GHz of the Galactic Center black hole, Sagittarius A*. These observations were conducted between October 2012 and November 2014. Read More

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a global sub-millimeter wavelength very long baseline interferometry array, is now resolving the innermost regions around the supermassive black holes Sgr A* and M87. Using black hole images from both simple geometric models and relativistic magnetohydrodynamical accretion flow simulations, we perform a variety of experiments to assess the promise of the EHT for studying strong gravity and accretion physics during the stages of its development. We find that (1) the addition of the LMT and ALMA along with upgraded instrumentation in the "Complete" stage of the EHT allow detection of the photon ring, a signature of Kerr strong gravity, for predicted values of its total flux; (2) the inclusion of coherently averaged closure phases in our analysis dramatically improves the precision of even the current array, allowing (3) significantly tighter constraints on plausible accretion models and (4) detections of structural variability at the levels predicted by the models. Read More

Sagittarius A* harbors the supermassive black hole that lies at the dynamical center of our Galaxy. Sagittarius A* spends most of its time in a low luminosity emission state but flares frequently in the infrared and X-ray, increasing up to a few hundred fold in brightness for up to a few hours at a time. The physical processes giving rise to the X-ray flares are uncertain. Read More

The well-known bluer-when-brighter trend observed in quasar variability is a signature of the complex processes in the accretion disk, and can be a probe of the quasar variability mechanism. Using a sample of 604 variable quasars with repeat spectra in SDSS-I/II, we construct difference spectra to investigate the physical causes of this bluer-when-brighter trend. The continuum of our composite difference spectrum is well-fit by a power-law, with a spectral index in excellent agreement with previous results. Read More

Magnetically arrested accretion discs (MADs), where the magnetic pressure in the inner disc is dynamically important, provide an alternative mechanism for regulating accretion to what is commonly assumed in black hole systems. We show that a global magnetic field inversion in the MAD state can destroy the jet, significantly increase the accretion rate, and move the effective inner disc edge in to the marginally stable orbit. Reconnection of the MAD field in the inner radii launches a new type of transient outflow containing hot plasma generated by magnetic dissipation. Read More

We propose a new model of the steep power law state of luminous black hole X-ray binaries. The model uses the fact that at high luminosities, the inner radii of radiation pressure dominated accretion discs are expected to i) become effectively optically thin and ii) produce significant luminosities. The gas temperature therefore rises sharply inwards, producing local saturated Compton spectra with rapidly increasing peak energy. Read More

Pulsars orbiting the Galactic center black hole, Sgr A*, would be potential probes of its mass, distance and spin, and may even be used to test general relativity. Despite predictions of large populations of both ordinary and millisecond pulsars in the Galactic center, none have been detected within 25 pc by deep radio surveys. One explanation has been that hyperstrong temporal scattering prevents pulsar detections, but the recent discovery of radio pulsations from a highly magnetized neutron star (magnetar) within 0. Read More

An international consortium is presently constructing a beamformer for the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile that will be available as a facility instrument. The beamformer will aggregate the entire collecting area of the array into a single, very large aperture. The extraordinary sensitivity of phased ALMA, combined with the extremely fine angular resolution available on baselines to the Northern Hemisphere, will enable transformational new very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) observations in Bands 6 and 7 (1. Read More

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a global very long baseline interferometry array operating at millimetre wavelengths, is spatially resolving the immediate environments of black holes for the first time. The current observations of the Galactic center black hole, Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), and M87 have been interpreted in terms of either geometric models (e.g. Read More

Some fraction of the material ejected in a core collapse supernova explosion may remain bound to the compact remnant, and eventually turn around and fall back. We show that the late time (> days) power associated with the accretion of this "fallback" material may significantly affect the optical light curve, in some cases producing super-luminous or otherwise peculiar supernovae. We use spherically symmetric hydrodynamical models to estimate the accretion rate at late times for a range of progenitor masses and radii and explosion energies. Read More

We present the first spectral energy distributions produced self-consistently by 2.5D general relativistic magneto-hydrodynamical (GRMHD) numerical simulations, where radiative cooling is included in the dynamical calculation. As a case study, we focus on the accretion flow around the supermassive black hole in the Galactic Centre, Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), which has the best constrained physical parameters. Read More

We present general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (GRMHD) numerical simulations of the accretion flow around the supermassive black hole in the Galactic centre, Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*). The simulations include for the first time radiative cooling processes (synchrotron, bremsstrahlung, and inverse Compton) self-consistently in the dynamics, allowing us to test the common simplification of ignoring all cooling losses in the modeling of Sgr A*. We confirm that for Sgr A*, neglecting the cooling losses is a reasonable approximation if the Galactic centre is accreting below ~10^{-8} Msun/yr i. Read More

Observations of black hole binaries (BHBs) have established a rich phenomenology of X-ray states. The soft states range from the low variability, accretion disc dominated thermal state (TD) to the higher variability, non-thermal steep power law state (SPL). The disc component in all states is typically modeled with standard thin disc accretion theory. Read More

High-resolution, multi-wavelength, and time-domain observations of the Galactic centre black hole candidate, Sgr A*, allow for a direct test of contemporary accretion theory. To date, all models have assumed alignment between the accretion disc and black hole angular momentum axes, but this is unjustified for geometrically thick accretion flows like that onto Sgr A*. Instead, we calculate images and spectra from a set of simulations of accretion flows misaligned ('tilted') by 15 degrees from the black hole spin axis and compare them with millimetre (mm) to near-infrared (NIR) observations. Read More

Ongoing millimeter VLBI observations with the Event Horizon Telescope allow unprecedented study of the innermost portion of black hole accretion flows. Interpreting the observations requires relativistic, time-dependent physical modeling. We discuss the comparison of radiative transfer calculations from general relativistic MHD simulations of Sagittarius A* and M87 with current and future mm-VLBI observations. Read More

The supermassive black hole candidate at the center of M87 drives an ultra-relativistic jet visible on kiloparsec scales, and its large mass and relative proximity allow for event horizon scale imaging with very long baseline interferometry at millimeter wavelengths (mm-VLBI). Recently, relativistic magneto-hydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of black hole accretion flows have proven capable of launching magnetically-dominated jets. We construct time-dependent disc/jet models of the innermost portion of the M87 nucleus by performing relativistic radiative transfer calculations from one such simulation. Read More

Geometrically thick accretion flows may be present in black hole X-ray binaries observed in the low/hard state and in low-luminosity active galactic nuclei. Unlike in geometrically thin disks, the angular momentum axis in these sources is not expected to align with the black hole spin axis. We compute images from three-dimensional general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations of misaligned (tilted) accretion flows using relativistic radiative transfer, and compare the estimated locations of the radiation edge with expectations from their aligned (untilted) counterparts. Read More

Active galactic nuclei (AGN) have been observed to vary stochastically with 10-20 rms amplitudes over a range of optical wavelengths where the emission arises in an accretion disk. Since the accretion disk is unlikely to vary coherently, local fluctuations may be significantly larger than the global rms variability. We investigate toy models of quasar accretion disks consisting of a number of regions, n, whose temperatures vary independently with an amplitude of \sigma_T in dex. Read More

Recent high resolution observations of the Galactic center black hole allow for direct comparison with accretion disk simulations. We compare two-temperature synchrotron emission models from three dimensional, general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations to millimeter observations of Sgr A*. Fits to very long baseline interferometry and spectral index measurements disfavor the monochromatic face-on black hole shadow models from our previous work. Read More

The recent VLBI observation of the Galactic center black hole candidate Sgr A* at 1.3mm shows source structure on event-horizon scales. This detection enables a direct comparison of the emission region with models of the accretion flow onto the black hole. Read More

Relativistic radiative transfer problems require the calculation of photon trajectories in curved spacetime. We present a novel technique for rapid and accurate calculation of null geodesics in the Kerr metric. The equations of motion from the Hamilton-Jacobi equation are reduced directly to Carlson's elliptic integrals, simplifying algebraic manipulations and allowing all coordinates to be computed semi-analytically for the first time. Read More