ESA Science & Technology - Publication Archive
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The nature and origin of the cold interstellar medium (ISM) in early-type galaxies are still a matter of debate, and understanding the role of this component in galaxy evolution and in fuelling the central supermassive black holes requires more observational constraints. Here, we present a multiwavelength study of the ISM in eight nearby, X-ray and optically bright, giant elliptical galaxies, all central dominant members of relatively low-mass groups. Using far-infrared spectral imaging with the Herschel Photodetector Array Camera & Spectrometer, we map the emission of cold gas in the cooling lines of [C II] 157 μm, [O I] 63 μm and [O Ib] 145 μm. Additionally, we present H-alpha+[N II] imaging of warm ionized gas with the Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope, and a study of the thermodynamic structure of the hot X-ray emitting plasma with Chandra. All systems with extended H-alpha emission in our sample (6/8 galaxies) display significant [C II] line emission indicating the presence of reservoirs of cold gas. This emission is cospatial with the optical H-alpha+[N II] emitting nebulae and the lowest entropy soft X-ray emitting plasma. The entropy profiles of the hot galactic atmospheres show a clear dichotomy, with the systems displaying extended emission-line nebulae having lower entropies beyond r >= 1 kpc than the cold-gas-poor systems. We show that while the hot atmospheres of the cold-gas-poor galaxies are thermally stable outside of their innermost cores, the atmospheres of the cold-gas-rich systems are prone to cooling instabilities. This provides considerable weight to the argument that cold gas in giant ellipticals is produced chiefly by cooling from the hot phase. We show that cooling instabilities may develop more easily in rotating systems and discuss an alternative condition for thermal instability for this case.
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Available online 24 September 2013
High resolution images of Venus Northern hemisphere obtained with the Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC/VEx) allow studying small-scale dynamical phenomena at the cloud tops (~62-70 km altitude) including features like wave trains. A systematic visual search of these waves was performed; more than 1500 orbits were analyzed and wave patterns were observed in more than 300 images. Four types of waves were identified in VMC images on the base of their morphology: long, medium, short and irregular type waves. With the aim to characterize the wave types and their possible excitation source, we retrieved wave properties such as location (latitude and longitude), local time, solar zenith angle, packet length and width, orientation, and wavelength of each wave. The long type waves appear as long and narrow straight features extending more than a few hundreds kilometers and with wavelengths between 7 and 17 km. Medium type waves exhibit irregular wavefronts extending more than 100 km and with wavelengths in the range 8-21 km. Short wave packets have a width of several tens of kilometers and extend to few hundreds kilometers and are characterized by smaller wavelengths (3-16 km). Irregular wave fields appear to be the result of wave interference. The waves are often identified in all VMC filters and are mostly found in the cold collar region at high latitudes (60-80°N) and are concentrated above Ishtar Terra, a continental size highland that includes the highest mountain belts of the planet. The high speed of the Venus Express spacecraft close to the pericentre does not allow to measure phase speed of waves due to the short temporal interval between image pairs. [Remainder of abstract truncated due to character limitation]
This Definition Study Report (also known as the Red Book) presents the outcome of the CHEOPS Definition study. It describes the resulting mission concept that will fulfil the mission science requirements, and therefore allow us to achieve the science objectives presented in the original proposal, and further detailed and elaborated in this document.
Reference: ECHO-SRE-SA-PHASEA-010, Issue 2
A Design Reference Mission, hereafter the EChO Core Survey, has been constructed for the Exoplanet Characterisation Observatory in order to determine the mission lifetime required to fulfil the science requirements. The EChO science requirements call for the observation of at least 100 exoplanets of diverse type and environment to provide a “Chemical Census” of exoplanet atmospheres. A proportion of these are required to be observed at high signal to noise ratio to provide an Origin sample and “Rosetta Stones” giving a deeper understanding of the physics and chemistry of their atmospheres. Two target samples lists have been derived: one using catalogues of real targets as known today, and a second using a statistical approach to predict how many targets will be available by the time EChO is operational in the 2020’s. These lists have been evaluated using mission performance models to test the observing time required to fulfil the EChO Core Survey. We find that a nominal mission lifetime of four years is sufficient to fulfil the science requirements and a mission of six years will fulfil the ambitious goals for EChO. The use of separate target lists and performance models gives confidence that the Core Survey can be undertaken within the mission lifetime and that will result in a revolution in understanding the origin and evolution of planets.
Reference: SRE-PA/2011.040/, Issue 3, Revision 2
This document provides a detailed description of the ESA EChO radiometric model. This model will be used to validate the mission requirements, which have, in turn, been derived from the science requirements. The model provides the means to calculate, for a given host star/exoplanet target:
- The SNR that can be achieved in a single primary transit
- The SNR that can be achieved in a single occultation
- The number of transit/occultation revisits necessary to achieve a specified SNR
- The total number of revisits that could be achieved during the proposed mission lifetime.
The radiometric model will be used to establish whether proposed samples of known or model targets can be observed to the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) called for in the Science Requirements Document, with mission requirements given in the Mission Requirements Document (i.e. within the mission lifetime, with the observation efficiency required and the minimum design requirements), and to confirm the minimum design requirements for the mission.
Reference: ESA-STEQ-RP-0001, Issue 1, Revision 1
STE-QUEST, a Space-Time Explorer and Quantum Equivalence Principle Space Test, is one of five candidate missions for the M3 launch opportunity. A Preliminary Requirements Review (PRR) of all candidate missions has been performed to review their status in support of the M3 selection. This document reports the results of the technical and programmatic review for the STE-QUEST mission candidate.