Siming Liu - PMO

Siming Liu
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Siming Liu

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Astrophysics (22)
High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (19)
Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (7)
High Energy Physics - Phenomenology (2)
Physics - Data Analysis; Statistics and Probability (2)
Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (1)
Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (1)
Astrophysics of Galaxies (1)
Computer Science - Robotics (1)

Publications Authored By Siming Liu

Simulation environments for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) can be very useful for prototyping user interfaces and training personnel that will operate UAVs in the real world. The realistic operation of such simulations will only enhance the value of such training. In this paper, we present the integration of a model-based waypoint navigation controller into the Reno Rescue Simulator for the purposes of providing a more realistic user interface in simulated environments. Read More

We present a detailed study of an earth-directed coronal mass ejection (Full halo CME) event happened on 2011 February 15 making use of white light observations by three coronagraphs and radio observations by Wind/WAVES. We applied three different methods to reconstruct the propagation direction and traveling distance of the CME and its driven shock. We measured the kinematics of the CME leading edge from white light images observed by STEREO A and B, tracked the CME-driven shock using the frequency drift observed by Wind/WAVES together with an interplanetary density model, and obtained the equivalent scattering centers of the CME by Polarization Ratio(PR) method. Read More

Multi-wavelength observations of mature supernova remnants (SNRs), especially with recent advances in gamma-ray astronomy, make it possible to constrain energy distribution of energetic particles within these remnants. In consideration of the SNR origin of Galactic cosmic rays and physics related to particle acceleration and radiative processes, we use a simple one-zone model to fit the nonthermal emission spectra of three shell-type SNRs located within 2 degrees on the sky: RX J1713.7-3946, CTB 37B, and CTB 37A. Read More

Power-law frequency distributions of the peak flux of solar flare X-ray emission have been studied extensively and attributed to a system of self-organized criticality (SOC). In this paper, we first show that, so long as the shape of the normalized light curve is not correlated with the peak flux, the flux histogram of solar flares also follows a power-law distribution with the same spectral index as the power-law frequency distribution of the peak flux, which may partially explain why power-law distributions are ubiquitous in the Universe. We then show that the spectral indexes of the histograms of soft X-ray fluxes observed by GOES satellites in two different energy channels are different: the higher energy channel has a harder distribution than the lower energy channel, which challenges the universal power-law distribution predicted by SOC models and implies a very soft distribution of thermal energy content of plasmas probed by the GOES. Read More

With the laws of mass conservation, momentum conservation and energy conservation, incorporating the processes of neutral gas ionization and ion diffusion, we develop a self-consistent model for the bright ribbon --- the most prominent feature in Io's plasma torus. The model parameters are well constrained by earlier {\it in situ} observations with the Galileo and Voyager spacescrafts. Our model calculation indicates that the total power dissipated inside the torus is 3. Read More

With the standard deviation for the logarithm of the re-scaled range $\langle |F(t+\tau)-F(t)|\rangle$ of simulated fractal Brownian motions $F(t)$ given in a previous paper \cite{q14}, the method of least squares is adopted to determine the slope, $S$, and intercept, $I$, of the log$(\langle |F(t+\tau)-F(t)|\rangle)$ vs $\rm{log}(\tau)$ plot to investigate the limitation of this procedure. It is found that the reduced $\chi^2$ of the fitting decreases with the increase of the Hurst index, $H$ (the expectation value of $S$), which may be attributed to the correlation among the re-scaled ranges. Similarly, it is found that the errors of the fitting parameters $S$ and $I$ are usually smaller than their corresponding standard deviations. Read More

Aims. Two-dimensional MHD simulations are used to model the emission properties of TeV-bright shell-type supernova remnants (SNRs) and to explore their nature. Methods. Read More

Context: HESS J1731-347 has been identified as one of the few TeV-bright shell-type supernova remnants (SNRs). These remnants are dominated by nonthermal emission, and the nature of TeV emission has been continuously debated for nearly a decade. Aims: We carry out the detailed modeling of the radio to gamma-ray spectrum of HESS J1731-347 to constrain the magnetic field and energetic particles sources, which we compare with those of the other TeV-bright shell-type SNRs explored before. Read More

Using $5.4$ year Fermi-LAT data, we report the detection of GeV $\gamma$-ray emission from the shell-type supernova remnant RCW 86 (G315.4-2. Read More

To model a given time series $F(t)$ with fractal Brownian motions (fBms), it is necessary to have appropriate error assessment for related quantities. Usually the fractal dimension $D$ is derived from the Hurst exponent $H$ via the relation $D=2-H$, and the Hurst exponent can be evaluated by analyzing the dependence of the rescaled range $\langle|F(t+\tau)-F(t)|\rangle$ on the time span $\tau$. For fBms, the error of the rescaled range not only depends on data sampling but also varies with $H$ due to the presence of long term memory. Read More

Current observations of supernova remnant (SNR) RX J1713.7-3946 favor the leptonic scenario for the TeV emission, where the radio to X-ray emission is produced via the synchrotron process and the $\gamma$-ray emission is produced via the inverse Comptonization of soft background photons, and the electron distribution can be inferred from the observed $\gamma$-ray spectrum with a spectral inversion method. It is shown that the observed correlation between the X-ray and $\gamma$-ray brightness of SNR RX J1713. Read More

Understanding the relationship among different emission components plays an essential role in the study of particle acceleration and energy conversion in solar flares. In flares where gradual and impulsive emission components can be readily identified the impulsive emission has been attributed to non-thermal particles. We carry out detailed analysis of H\alpha\ and X-ray observations of a GOES class B microflare loop on the solar disk. Read More

Shocks of supernova remnants (SNRs) are important (and perhaps the dominant) agents for production of the Galactic cosmic rays. Recent $\gamma$-ray observations of several SNRs have made this case more compelling. However, these broadband high-energy measurements also reveal a variety of spectral shape demanding more comprehensive modeling of emissions from SNRs. Read More

Stochastic acceleration of charged particles due to their interactions with plasma waves may be responsible for producing superthermal particles in a variety of astrophysical systems. This process can be described as a diffusion process in the energy space with the Fokker-Planck equation. In this paper, a time-dependent numerical code is used to solve the reduced Fokker-Planck equation involving only time and energy variables with general forms of the diffusion coefficients. Read More

We show that the radio, X-ray and gamma-ray spectrum of the supernova remnant RX J1713.7-3946 can be accounted for with the simplest emission model, where all of these emissions are attributed to a population of relativistic electrons interacting with the cosmic microwave background radiation, IR interstellar photons, and a background magnetic field. With a spectral inversion method (Johns & Lin 1992), the parent electron distribution and its uncertainties are derived from the observed photon spectrum. Read More

Recently the AGILE and Fermi/LAT detectors uncovered giant $\gamma$-ray flares from the Crab nebula. The duration of these flares is a few days. The Fermi/LAT data with monthly time binning further showed significant variability of the synchrotron tail of the emission, while the inverse Compton component was stable. Read More

X-ray observations of solar flares routinely reveal an impulsive high-energy and a gradual low-energy emission component, whose relationship is one of the key issues of solar flare study. The gradual and impulsive emission components are believed to be associated with, respectively, the thermal and nonthermal components identified in spectral fitting. In this paper, a prominent about 50 second hard X-ray (HXR) pulse of a simple GOES class C7. Read More


A statistical scenario is proposed to explain the $\gamma$-ray variability and flares of the Crab nebula, which were observed recently by the Fermi/LAT. In this scenario electrons are accelerated in a series of knots, whose sizes follow a power-law distribution. These knots presumably move outwards from the pulsar and have a distribution in the Doppler boost factor. Read More

We present results of models of the physical space and parameters of the accretion disk of Sagittarius A*, as well as simulations of its emergent spectrum. This begins with HARM, a 2D general relativistic magneto-hydrodynamic (GRMHD) model, specifically set up to evolve the space around a black hole. Data from HARM are then fed into a 2D Monte-Carlo (MC) code which generates and tracks emitted photons, allowing for absorption and scattering before they escape the volume. Read More

Emission mechanisms of the shell-type supernova remnant (SNR) RX J1713.7-3946 are studied with multi-wavelength observational data from radio, X-ray, GeV $\gamma$-ray to TeV $\gamma$-ray band. A Markov Chain Monte Carlo method is employed to explore the high-dimensional model parameter space systematically. Read More

(Aims.) SNR RX J1713.7-3946 is perhaps one of the best observed shell-type supernova remnants with emissions dominated by energetic particles accelerated near the shock front. Read More

With the elementary energy release events introduced in a previous paper (Liu & Fletcher 2009) we model the chromospheric evaporation in flaring loops. The thick-target hard X-ray (HXR) emission produced by electrons escaping from the acceleration region dominates the impulsive phase and the thin-target emission from the acceleration region dominates the low-energy thermal component in the gradual phase, as observed in early impulsive flares. Quantitative details depend on properties of the thermal background, which leads to variations in the correlation between HXR flux and spectral index. Read More

We present results of simulations of the spectrum of the accretion flow onto the supermassive black hole in our Galactic Centre, Sagittarius A*, generated with a coupling of Monte-Carlo (MC) radiation and general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (GRMHD) codes. In our modeling, we use the 2D HARM GRMHD code to first model the physical parameters of the disk, then feed its results into our 2D MC photon transport code. We will discuss results obtained which fit radio, IR, and Chandra-obtained flaring or quiescent x-ray data points, as well as the validity of the amount of scaling of input parameters (density, temperature, and magnetic field) required to fit these points. Read More

In the leptonic scenario for TeV emission from a few well-observed shell-type TeV supernova remnants (STTSNRs), very weak magnetic fields are inferred. If fast-mode waves are produced efficiently in the shock downstream, we show that they are viable agents for acceleration of relativistic electrons inferred from the observed spectra even in the subsonic phase, in spite that these waves are subject to strong damping by thermal background ions at small dissipation scales. Strong collisionless non-relativistic astrophysical shocks are studied with the assumption of a constant Aflven speed in the downstream. Read More

We explore the parameter space of the two temperature pseudo-Newtonian Keplerian accretion flow model for the millimeter and shorter wavelength emission from Sagittarius A*. A general relativistic ray-tracing code is used to treat the radiative transfer of polarized synchrotron emission from the flow. The synchrotron self-Comptonization and bremsstrahlung emission components are also included. Read More

Most theoretical investigations of particle acceleration during solar flares cannot be applied to observations for detailed study of the time evolution. We propose a phenomenological model for turbulence evolution and stochastic particle acceleration that links observations to the energy release and particle acceleration through two coefficients characterizing particle interactions with turbulent electromagnetic fields. In the linear regime the particle distribution does not affect the turbulence energy cascade. Read More

Sagittarius A* is a compact radio source at the Galactic center, powered by accretion of fully ionized plasmas into a supermassive black hole. However, the radio emission cannot be produced through the thermal synchrotron process by a gravitationally bounded flow. General relativistic magneto-hydrodynamical(GRMHD) simulations of black hole accretion show that there are strong unbounded outflows along the accretion. Read More

It is well-recognized that the presence of magnetic fields will lead to anisotropic energy cascade and dissipation of astrophysical turbulence. With the diffusion approximation and linear dissipation rates, we study the cascade and damping of Alfv\'en-cyclotron fluctuations in solar plasmas numerically. For an isotropic case the steady-state turbulence spectra are nearly isotropic in the inertial range and can be fitted by a single power-law function with a spectral index of -3/2, similar to the Iroshnikov-Kraichnan phenomenology. Read More

Solar Energetic Particles (SEPs) show a rich variety of spectra and relative abundances of many ionic species and their isotopes. A long standing puzzle has been the extreme enrichments of 3He ions. The most extreme enrichments are observed in low fluence, the so-called impulsive, events which are believed to be produced at the flare site in the solar corona with little scattering and acceleration during transport to the Earth. Read More

We discuss the generic characteristics of stochastic particle acceleration by a fully developed turbulence spectrum and show that resonant interactions of particles with high speed waves dominate the acceleration process. To produce the relativistic electrons inferred from the broadband spectrum of a few well-observed shell-type supernova remnants in the leptonic scenario for the TeV emission, fast mode waves must be excited effectively in the downstream and dominate the turbulence in the subsonic phase. Strong collisionless non-relativistic astrophysical shocks are studied with the assumption of a constant Aflven speed. Read More

We study the stochastic electron acceleration by fast mode waves in the turbulent downstream of weakly magnetized collisionless astrophysical shocks. The acceleration is most efficient in a dissipative layer, and the model characteristics are determined by the shock speed, density, magnetic field, and turbulence decay length. The model explains observations of shell-type supernova remnants RX J1713. Read More

With the diffusion approximation, we study the cascade and damping of Alfv\'{e}n-cyclotron fluctuations in solar plasmas numerically. Motivated by wave-wave couplings and nonlinear effects, we test several forms of the diffusion tensor. For a general locally anisotropic and inhomogeneous diffusion tensor in the wave vector space, the turbulence spectrum in the inertial range can be fitted with power-laws with the power-law index varying with the wave propagation direction. Read More

Chandra's high resolution observations of radio galaxies require a revisit of the relevant electron acceleration processes. Although the diffusive shock particle acceleration model may explain spectra of spatially unresolved sources, it encounters difficulties in explaining the structure and spectral properties of recently discovered Chandra X-ray features in several low-power radio sources. We argue that these observations strongly suggest stochastic electron acceleration by magnetized turbulence, and show that the simplest stochastic particle acceleration model with energy independent acceleration and escape timescales can overcome most of these difficulties. Read More

The linearly polarized millimeter and sub-millimeter emission in Sagittarius A* is produced within 10 Schwarzschild radii of the supermassive black hole at the Galactic Center and may originate from a hot magnetized accretion disk, where electrons are heated efficiently by turbulent plasma waves. In such a scenario, the flux density and polarization are very sensitive to the electron heating rate and the inclination angle of disk, respectively, and the major axis of the sub-millimeter intrinsic polarization, which is aligned with the rotation axis of the disk, is perpendicular to the major axis of the polarized near-infrared emission. In combination with MHD simulations, which study the properties of the magnetic field and viscous stresses, the current spectral and polarization measurements give tight constraints on the model parameters. Read More

Plasmas in an accretion flow are heated by MHD turbulence generated through the magneto-rotational instability. The viscous stress driving the accretion is intimately connected to the microscopic processes of turbulence dissipation. We show that, in a few well-observed black hole accretion systems, there is compelling observational evidence of efficient electron heating by turbulence or collective plasma effects in low accretion states, when Coulomb collisions are not efficient enough to establish a thermal equilibrium between electrons and ions at small radii. Read More

Affiliations: 1Physics Dept., U. of Arizona, 2Physics Dept., U. of Arizona, 3LANL, 4Univ. of Adelaide
Category: Astrophysics

Recently, HESS and other air Cerenkov telescopes have detected a source of TeV gamma-rays coincident with the Galactic center. It is not yet clear whether the gamma-rays are produced via leptonic or hadronic processes, so it is important to consider possible acceleration sites for the charged particles which produce the gamma-rays. One exciting possibility for the origin of these particles is the central black hole, Sgr A*, where the turbulent magnetic fields close to the event horizon can accelerate protons to TeV energies. Read More

High resolution observations of Sgr A* have revealed a wide variety of phenomena, ranging from intense rapid flares to quasi-periodic oscillations, making this object an ideal system to study the properties of low luminosity accreting black holes. In this paper, we use a pseudo-spectral algorithm to construct and evolve a three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic model of the accretion disk in Sgr A*. Assuming a hybrid thermal-nonthermal emission scheme, we show that the MHD turbulence can by itself only produce factor of two fluctuations in luminosity. Read More

Recent observations of the Galactic center in high-energy gamma-rays (above 0.1TeV) have opened up new ways to study this region, from understanding the emission source of these high-energy photons to constraining the environment in which they are formed. We present a revised theoretical density model of the inner 5pc surrounding Sgr A* based on the fact that the underlying structure of this region is dominated by the winds from the Wolf-Rayet stars orbiting Sgr A*. Read More

Flares in Sagittarius A* are produced by hot plasmas within a few Schwarzschild radii of the supermassive black hole at the Galactic center. The recent detection of a correlation between the spectral index and flux during a near infrared (NIR) flare provides a means to conduct detailed investigations of the plasma heating and radiation processes. We study the evolution of the electron distribution function under the influence of a turbulent magnetic field in a hot collisionless plasma. Read More

We present analyses of the spatial and spectral evolution of hard X-ray emission observed by {\it RHESSI} during the impulsive phase of an M1.7 flare on 2003 November 13. In general, as expected, the loop top (LT) source dominates at low energies while the footpoint (FP) sources dominate the high energy emission. Read More

The near-IR and X-ray flares in Sagittarius A* are believed to be produced by relativistic electrons via synchrotron and synchrotron self-Comptonization, respectively. These electrons are likely energized by turbulent plasma waves through second-order Fermi acceleration that, in combination with the radiative cooling processes, produces a relativistic Maxwellian distribution in the steady state. This model has four principal parameters, namely the magnetic field B, the electron density n and temperature \gamma_c mec2, and the size of the flare region R. Read More

Stochastic acceleration of electrons interacting resonantly with a turbulent magnetic field in a small accretion torus appears to be the likely mechanism responsible for much of Sagittarius A*'s millimeter and shorter wavelength spectrum. The longer wavelength radiation is produced at larger radii by electrons either diffusing from smaller scales or accelerated in situ. An important prediction of this model is the ejection of a significant flux of relativistic protons from a magnetic-field-dominated acceleration site into the wind-shocked medium surrounding the black hole. Read More

We present a study of the spatial and spectral evolution of the loop-top (LT) sources in a sample of 6 flares near the solar limb observed by {\it RHESSI}. A distinct coronal source, which we identify as the LT source, was seen in each of these flares from the early ``pre-heating'' phase through the late decay phase. Spectral analyses reveal an evident steep power-law component in the pre-heating and impulsive phases, suggesting that the particle acceleration starts upon the onset of the flares. Read More

Recent near-IR (NIR) and X-ray observations of Sagittarius A*'s spectrum have yielded several strong constraints on the transient energization mechanism, justifying a re-examination of the stochastic acceleration model proposed previously for these events. We here demonstrate that the new results are fully consistent with the acceleration of electrons via the transit-time damping process. But more importantly, these new NIR and X-ray flares now can constrain the source size, the gas density, the magnetic field, and the wave energy density in the turbulent plasma. Read More

We study the acceleration in solar flares of $^3$He and $^4$He from a thermal background by parallel propagating plasma waves with a general broken power-law spectrum that takes into account the turbulence generation processes at large scales and the thermal damping effects at small scales. The exact dispersion relation for a cold plasma is used to describe the relevant wave modes. Because low-energy $\alpha$-particles only interact with small scale waves in the $^4$He-cyclotron branch, where the wave frequencies are below the $\alpha$-particle gyro-frequency, their pitch angle averaged acceleration time is at least one order of magnitude longer than that of $^3$He ions, which mostly resonate with relatively higher frequency waves in the proton-cyclotron (PC) branch. Read More

The recent detection of variable infrared emission from Sagittarius A*, combined with its previously observed flare activity in X-rays, provides compelling evidence that at least a portion of this object's emission is produced by nonthermal electrons. We show here that acceleration of electrons by plasma wave turbulence in hot gases near the black hole's event horizon can account both for Sagittarius A*'s mm and shorter wavelengths emission in the quiescent state, and for the infrared and X-ray flares, induced either via an enhancement of the mass accretion rate onto the black hole or by a reorganization of the magnetic field coupled to the accretion gas. The acceleration model proposed here produces distinct flare spectra that may be compared with future coordinated multi-wavelength observations. Read More

Stochastic acceleration of $^3$He and $^4$He from a thermal background by parallel propagating turbulent plasma waves with a single power-law spectrum of the wavenumber is studied. In the model, both ions interact with several resonant modes. When one of these modes dominates, the acceleration rate is reduced considerably. Read More

Stochastic acceleration of electrons and protons by waves propagating parallel to the large scale magnetic fields of magnetized plasmas is studied with emphasis on the feasibility of accelerating particles from a thermal background to relativistic energies and with the aim of determining the relative acceleration of the two species in one source. In general, the stochastic acceleration by these waves results in two distinct components in the particle distributions, a quasi-thermal and a hard nonthermal, with the nonthermal one being more prominent in hotter plasmas and/or with higher level turbulence. This can explain many of the observed features of solar flares. Read More

Affiliations: 1Center for Space Science and Astrophysics, Stanford University, Stanford, California, 2Center for Space Science and Astrophysics, Stanford University, Stanford, California, 3Center for Space Science and Astrophysics, Stanford University, Stanford, California, 4Center for Space Science and Astrophysics, Stanford University, Stanford, California
Category: Astrophysics

We present data analysis and interpretation of a simple X-class flare observed with RHESSI on November 3, 2003. In contrast to other X-class flares observed previously, this flare shows a very simple morphology with well defined looptop (LT) and footpoint (FP) sources. The almost monotonic upward motion of the LT source and increase in separation of the two FP sources are consistent with magnetic reconnection models proposed for solar flares. Read More

The detection of a mm/Sub-mm ``bump'' in Sgr A*'s radio spectrum suggests that at least a portion of its overall emission is produced within a compact accretion torus. This inference is strengthened by observations of strong linear polarization (at the 10 percent level) within this bump. No linear polarization has been detected yet at other wavelengths. Read More