Publication archive

Publication archive

The modulations of the outer ring current O+ ion fluxes by ULF Pc5 waves are investigated by multisatellite observations during storm times. The O+ ions have energies up to tens of keV. We concentrate on the process in terms of drift-bounce resonance of O+ ions with ULF standing waves to understand whether the ring current O+ ions could be accelerated/decelerated by ULF waves. Two case studies are performed, in which the Cluster satellites travel the outer ring current region in the morning sector with radial distances of about 5.5 RE. Distinct O+ ion flux oscillations are observed associated with fundamental mode ULF standing waves. On 25 October 2002, both satellites SC1 and SC4 observe strong poloidal and toroidal standing waves at approximately the same region one by one with a time lag of 45 min. The O+ ion flux oscillations at around 20 keV are dominantly coherent with the poloidal standing wave at 3.4 mHz with cross phases of near 90° with respect to the magnetic field waves. The O+ phase space density spectra at 10 to 25 keV, measured by both satellites, deviate significantly from the typical power law distribution. We suggest that the O+ ions at 10 to 25 keV are accelerated due to drift-bounce resonance with the poloidal standing wave. On 4 November 2002, satellite SC1 observes considerable poloidal and toroidal standing waves. The O+ ion flux oscillation at around 7 keV is well correlated with both of the two wave modes at 3.7 mHz with cross phases of about 90° with respect to the magnetic field waves. The O+ spectra at 4 to 8 keV deviates remarkably from the background power law distribution. When satellite SC4 closely encounters the same region 40 min later, the wave activities at 3.7 mHz are found to be rather weak and the O+ spectra is close to the background power law distribution. We suggest that the spectra variation of SC1 results from the deceleration of O+ ion at 4 to 8 keV via drift-bounce resonances during the strong wave activities.
Published: 11 January 2011
We report evidence of a fully established galaxy cluster at z = 2.07, consisting of a ~20 sigma overdensity of red, compact spheroidal galaxies spatially coinciding with extended X-ray emission detected with XMM-Newton. We use VLT VIMOS and FORS2 spectra and deep Subaru, VLT and Spitzer imaging to estimate the redshift of the structure from a prominent z = 2.07 spectroscopic redshift spike of emission-line galaxies, concordant with the accurate 12-band photometric redshifts of the red galaxies. Using NICMOS and Keck AO observations, we find that the red galaxies have elliptical morphologies and compact cores. While they do not form a tight red sequence, their colours are consistent with that of a >1.3 Gyr population observed at z ~ 2.1. From an X-ray luminosity of 7.2×1043 erg/s and the stellar mass content of the red galaxy population, we estimate a halo mass of 5.3-8×1013 solar masses, comparable to the nearby Virgo cluster. These properties imply that this structure could be the most distant, mature cluster known to date and that X-ray luminous, elliptical-dominated clusters are already forming at substantially earlier epochs than previously known.
Published: 11 January 2011
The Cosmic Microwave Background fluctuations provide a powerful probe of the dark ages of the universe through the imprint of the secondary anisotropies associated with the reionization of the universe and the growth of structure. We review the relation between the secondary anisotropies and the primary anisotropies that are directly generated by quantum fluctuations in the very early universe. The physics of secondary fluctuations is described, with emphasis on the ionization history and the evolution of structure. We discuss the different signatures arising from the secondary effects in terms of their induced temperature fluctuations, polarization and statistics. The secondary anisotropies are being actively pursued at present, and we review the future and current observational status.
Published: 02 May 2008
In June 2006 Venus Express crossed several times the outer boundary of Venus induced magnetosphere, its magnetosheath and its bow shock. During the same interval the Cluster spacecraft surveyed the dawn flank of the terrestrial magnetosphere, intersected the Earth's magnetopause and spent long time intervals in the magnetosheath. This configuration offers the opportunity to perform a joint investigation of the interface between Venus and Earth's outer plasma layers and the shocked solar wind. We discuss the kinetic structure of the magnetopause of both planets, its global characteristics and the effects on the interaction between the planetary plasma and the solar wind. A Vlasov equilibrium model is constructed for both planetary magnetopauses and provides good estimates of the magnetic field profile across the interface. The model is also in agreement with plasma data and evidence the role of planetary and solar wind ions on the spatial scale of the equilibrium magnetopause of the two planets. The main characteristics of the two magnetopauses are discussed and compared.
Published: 07 May 2010
The forward cascade of decaying whistler turbulence is studied in low beta plasma to understand essential properties of the energy spectrum at electron scales, by using a two-dimensional electromagnetic particle-in-cell (PIC) simulation. This simulation demonstrates turbulence in which the energy cascade rate is greater than the dissipation rate at the electron inertial length. The PIC simulation shows that the magnetic energy spectrum of forward-cascaded whistler turbulence at electron inertial scales is anisotropic and develops a very steep power-law spectrum which is consistent with recent solar wind observations. A comparison of the simulated spectrum with that predicted by a phenomenological turbulence scaling model suggests that the energy cascade at the electron inertial scale depends on both magnetic fluctuations and electron velocity fluctuations, as well as on the whistler dispersion relation. Thus, not only kinetic Alfvén turbulence but also whistler turbulence may explain recent solar wind observations of very steep magnetic spectra at short scales.
Published: 28 December 2010
We present a three-dimensional reconstruction of an eruption that occurred on 2010 April 3 using observations from SWAP on board PROBA2 and SECCHI on board STEREO. The event unfolded in two parts: an initial flow of cooler material confined to a height low in the corona, followed by a flux rope eruption higher in the corona. We conclude that mass off-loading from the first part triggered a rise and, subsequently, catastrophic loss of equilibrium of the flux rope.
Published: 23 December 2010
Context. About ten persistently highly absorbed super-giant high-mass X-ray binaries (sgHMXB) have been discovered by INTEGRAL as bright hard X-ray sources lacking bright X-ray counterparts. Besides IGR J16318-4848, which has peculiar characteristics, the other members of this family share many properties with the classical wind-fed sgHMXB systems.
Aims. Our goal is to understand the characteristics of highly absorbed sgHMXB and in particular the companion stellar wind, which is thought to be responsible for the strong absorption.
Methods. We monitored IGR J17252-3616, a highly absorbed system featuring eclipses, with XMM-Newton to study the variability of the column density and the Fe K-alpha emission line along the orbit and during the eclipses. We also compiled a 3D model of the stellar wind to reproduce the observed variability.
Results. We first derive a refined orbital solution based on INTEGRAL, RXTE, and XMM-Newton data. We find that the XMM-Newton monitoring campaign reveals significant variations in the intrinsic absorbing column density along the orbit and the Fe K-alpha line equivalent width around the eclipse. The origin of the soft X-ray absorption is associated with a dense and extended hydrodynamical tail, trailing the neutron star. This structure extends along most of the orbit, indicating that the stellar wind has been strongly disrupted.
The remainder of the abstract is truncated.
Published: 01 February 2011
We describe the methodology used to set up and compute spatial derivatives of the electron moments using data acquired by the Plasma Electron And Current Experiment (PEACE) from the four Cluster spacecraft. The results are used to investigate electron vorticity in the foreshock. We find that much of the measured vorticity, under nominal conditions, appears to be caused by changes in the flow direction of the return (either reflected or leakage from the magnetosheath) and strahl electron populations as they couple to changes in the magnetic field orientation. This in turn results in deflections in the total bulk velocity producing the measured vorticity.
Published: 21 December 2010
Observations of Poynting fluxes associated with onset of convection electric fields are essential for understanding of electromagnetic energy transport from the solar wind toward the magnetosphere leading to changes in the convection electric field, which is one of the most fundamental parameters in the magnetosphere-ionosphere coupled system. We present Cluster multispacecraft observations of Poynting fluxes associated with abrupt changes in large-scale electric fields during sudden commencements and southward turning of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). The Cluster spacecraft detected Poynting fluxes dominated by the field-aligned upward component during the preliminary impulse of sudden commencements and in the initial period after southward turning of the IMF. The upward Poynting flux indicates existence of Alfvén waves transporting electromagnetic energy from the ionosphere toward the magnetosphere leading to magnetospheric convection changes. The waveguide model and global magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulation calculating evolution of the Poynting flux following solar wind pressure enhancements also show upward Poynting fluxes propagating from the ionosphere toward the magnetosphere faster than the propagation of compressional waves. We conclude that the ionosphere acts as a channel to transmit electromagnetic energy supplied as field-aligned currents toward a wide region in the magnetosphere-ionosphere system instantaneously, leading to changes in magnetospheric convection electric fields.
Published: 04 December 2010
STE-QUEST is the Space-Time Explorer and Quantum Equivalence Principle Space Test. The STE-QUEST mission proposal was submitted in 2010 to ESA in response to the Call for medium-size (M-class) missions in the Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 plan with a launch opportunity in the period 2020-22. In February 2011 STE-QUEST was one of four missions recommended by the ESA advisory structure and selected for an assessment study. The mission proposal can be accessed through the publication link below.
Published: 03 December 2010
EChO is the Exoplanet Characterisation Observatory. The EChO mission proposal was submitted in 2010 to ESA in response to the Call for medium-size (M-class) missions in the Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 plan with a launch opportunity in the period 2020-22. In February 2011 EChO was one of four missions recommended by the ESA advisory structure and selected for an assessment study. The mission proposal can be accessed through the publication link below.
Published: 03 December 2010
MarcoPolo-R is a sample return mission to a primitive Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA). The MarcoPolo-R mission proposal was submitted in 2010 to ESA in response to the Call for medium-size (M-class) missions in the Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 plan with a launch opportunity in the period 2020-22. In February 2011 MarcoPolo-R was one of four missions recommended by the ESA advisory structure and selected for an assessment study. The mission proposal can be accessed through the publication link below.
Published: 03 December 2010
The flyby measurements of the Cassini spacecraft at Saturn's moon Rhea reveal a tenuous oxygen-carbon dioxide atmosphere. The atmosphere appears to be sustained by chemical decomposition of the surface water ice under irradiation from Saturn's magnetospheric plasma. This in situ detection of an oxidizing atmosphere is consistent with remote observations of other icy bodies such as Jupiter's moons Europa and Ganymede, and suggestive of a reservoir of radiolytic O2 locked within Rhea's ice. The presence of CO2 suggests radiolysis reactions between surface oxidants and organics, or sputtering and/or outgassing of CO2 endogenic to Rhea's ice. Observations of outflowing positive and negative ions give evidence for pickup ionization as a major atmospheric loss mechanism.
Published: 26 November 2010
We present the latest update of the 1.809 MeV sky survey obtained with COMPTEL. Based on all observations taken since the launch of CGRO in spring 1991 to early summer this year we obtain 1.809 MeV all sky maps using different imaging methods. The background is modelled on the basis of an adjacent energy approach. We confirm the previously reported characteristics of the galactic 1.809 MeV emission, specifically excesses in regions away from the inner Galaxy. The observed 1.8 MeV gamma-ray line is ascribed to the radioactive decay of 26Al in the interstellar medium. 26Al has been found to be predominantly synthesised in massive stars and their subsequent core-collapse supernovae, which is confirmed in tracer comparisons. Due to this, one anticipates flux enhancements aligned with regions of recent star formation, such as apparently observed in the Cygnus and Vela regions.
Published: 04 April 2001

Aims. We study the massive stars in OB associations and their surrounding interstellar medium environment, using a population synthesis code.

Methods. We developed a new population synthesis code for groups of massive stars, where we model the emission of different forms of energy and matter from the stars of the association. In particular, the ejection of the two radioactive isotopes 26Al and 60Fe is followed, as well as the emission of hydrogen ionizing photons, and the kinetic energy of the stellar winds and supernova explosions. We investigate various alternative astrophysical inputs and the resulting output sensitivities, especially effects due to the inclusion of rotation in stellar models. As the aim of the code is the application to relatively small populations of massive stars, special care is taken to address their statistical properties. Our code incorporates both analytical statistical methods applicable to small populations, as well as extensive Monte Carlo simulations.

Published: 17 July 2009

Context. The Scorpius-Centaurus association is the most-nearby group of massive and young stars. As nuclear-fusion products are ejected by massive stars and supernovae into the surrounding interstellar medium, the search for characteristic g-rays from radioactivity is one way to probe the history of activity of such nearby massive stars on a My time scale through their nucleosynthesis. 26Al decays with a radioactivity lifetime t~1 My, 1809 keV g-rays from its decay can be measured with current g-ray telescopes.

Published: 01 November 2010
[Abbreviated abstract] We present measurements of the soft X-ray background (SXRB) O VII and O VIII intensity between l = 120° and l = 240°, the first results of a survey of the SXRB using archival XMM-Newton observations.
Published: 23 March 2010
We compare the predictions of three physical models for the origin of the hot halo gas with the observed halo X-ray emission, derived from 26 high-latitude XMM-Newton observations of the soft X-ray background between l = 120° and l = 240°. These observations were chosen from a much larger set of observations as they are expected to be the least contaminated by solar wind charge exchange emission. We characterize the halo emission in the XMM-Newton band with a single-temperature plasma model. We find that the observed halo temperature is fairly constant across the sky (~(1.8-2.4) × 106 K), whereas the halo emission measure varies by an order of magnitude (~0.0005-0.006 cm-6 pc). When we compare our observations with the model predictions, we find that most of the hot gas observed with XMM-Newton does not reside in isolated extraplanar supernova (SN) remnants - this model predicts emission an order of magnitude too faint. A model of an SN-driven interstellar medium, including the flow of hot gas from the disk into the halo in a galactic fountain, gives good agreement with the observed 0.4-2.0 keV surface brightness. This model overpredicts the halo X-ray temperature by a factor of ~2, but there are a several possible explanations for this discrepancy. We therefore conclude that a major (possibly dominant) contributor to the halo X-ray emission observed with XMM-Newton is a fountain of hot gas driven into the halo by disk SNe. However, we cannot rule out the possibility that the extended hot halo of accreted material predicted by disk galaxy formation models also contributes to the emission.
Published: 16 October 2010
The width of the collisionless shock front is one of the key shock parameters. The width of the main shock transition layer is related to the nature of the collisionless process that balances nonlinearity and therefore leads to the formation of the shock itself. The shock width determines how the incoming plasma particles interact with the macroscopic fields within the front and, therefore, the processes that result in the energy redistribution at the front. Cluster and Themis measurements at the quasi-perpendicular part of the terrestrial bow shock are used to study the spatial scale of the magnetic ramp. It is shown that statistically the ramp spatial scale decreases with the increase of the shock Mach number. This decrease of the shock scale together with previously observed whistler packets in the foot of supercritical quasi-perpendicular shock indicates that it is the dispersion that determines the size of magnetic ramp even for supercritical shocks.
Published: 18 November 2010
Less than a cubic metre in volume, PROBA-2 is one of the smallest missions ever flown by ESA. But judged by performance per kilogram, PROBA-2 can also claim to be among the most scientifically and technically productive.
Published: 15 November 2010
23-May-2024 05:20 UT

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