Publication archive

Publication archive

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is one of the greatest scientific projects of all time. For 20 years, Hubble has opened our eyes to the wonders of our 'planetary' backyard and beyond, and has made a number of fundamental discoveries in astronomy and physics.
Published: 17 July 2010
XMM-Newton has had a major impact on modern astrophysics, with a steady stream of new results. The XMM-Newton spacecraft, instruments and ground segment are ready to continue this success for many years to come, and provide the worldwide scientific community with the means to address many exciting new challenges.
Published: 17 July 2010
We summarize the first results from the Gould Belt Survey, obtained toward the Aquila rift and Polaris Flare regions during the science demonstration phase of Herschel. Our 70-500 micron images taken in parallel mode with the SPIRE and PACS cameras reveal a wealth of filamentary structure, as well as numerous dense cores embedded in the filaments. Between ~350 and 500 prestellar cores and ~45-60 Class 0 protostars can be identified in the Aquila field, while ~300 unbound starless cores and no protostars are observed in the Polaris field. The prestellar core mass function (CMF) derived for the Aquila region bears a strong resemblance to the stellar initial mass function (IMF), already confirming the close connection between the CMF and the IMF with much better statistics than earlier studies. Comparing and contrasting our Herschel results in Aquila and Polaris, we propose an observationally-driven scenario for core formation according to which complex networks of long, thin filaments form first within molecular clouds, and then the densest filaments fragment into a number of prestellar cores via gravitational instability.
Published: 17 July 2010
Published: 16 July 2010
The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope reveals a diffuse inverse Compton (IC) signal in the inner Galaxy with a similar spatial morphology to the microwave haze observed by WMAP, supporting the synchrotron interpretation of the microwave signal. Using spatial templates, we regress out pi^0 gammas, as well as IC and bremsstrahlung components associated with known soft-synchrotron counterparts. We find a significant gamma-ray excess toward the Galactic center with a spectrum that is significantly harder than other sky components and is most consistent with IC from a hard population of electrons. The morphology and spectrum are consistent with it being the IC counterpart to the electrons which generate the microwave haze seen at WMAP frequencies. In addition, the implied electron spectrum is hard; electrons accelerated in supernova shocks in the disk which then diffuse a few kpc to the haze region would have a softer spectrum. We describe the full-sky Fermi maps used in this analysis and make them available for download.
Published: 11 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912891

We describe the optical design and optimisation of the Low Frequency Instrument, one of two instruments onboard the Planck satellite, which will survey the cosmic microwave background with unprecedented accuracy. The LFI covers the 30 - 70 GHz frequency range with an array of cryogenic radiometers. Stringent optical requirements on angular resolution, sidelobes, main beam symmetry, polarization purity, and feed orientation have been achieved. The optimisation process was carried out by assuming an ideal telescope according to the Planck design and by using both physical optics and multi-reflector geometrical theory of diffraction. This extensive study led to the flight design of the feed horns, their characteristics, arrangement, and orientation, while taking into account the opto-mechanical constraints imposed by complex interfaces in the Planck focal surface.

Published: 10 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912837

This paper provides an overview of the Low Frequency Instrument (LFI) programme within the ESA Planck mission. The LFI instrument has been developed to produce high precision maps of the microwave sky at frequencies in the range 27-77 GHz, below the peak of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation spectrum. The scientific goals are described, ranging from fundamental cosmology to Galactic and extragalactic astrophysics. The instrument design and development are outlined, together with the model philosophy and testing strategy. The instrument is presented in the context of the Planck mission. The LFI approach to ground and inflight calibration is described. We also describe the LFI ground segment. We present the results of a number of tests demonstrating the capability of the LFI data processing centre (DPC) to properly reduce and analyse LFI flight data, from telemetry information to calibrated and cleaned time ordered data, sky maps at each frequency (in temperature and polarization), component emission maps (CMB and diffuse foregrounds), catalogs for various classes of sources (the Early Release Compact Source Catalogue and the Final Compact Source Catalogue). The organization of the LFI consortium is briefly presented as well as the role of the core team in data analysis and scientific exploitation. All tests carried out on the LFI flight model demonstrate the excellent performance of the instrument and its various subunits. The data analysis pipeline has been tested and its main steps verified. In the first three months after launch, the commissioning, calibration, performance, and verification phases will be completed, after which Planck will begin its operational life, in which LFI will have an integral part.

Published: 10 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912853

In this paper we present the Low Frequency Instrument (LFI), designed and developed as part of the Planck space mission, the ESA programme dedicated to precision imaging of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). Planck-LFI will observe the full sky in intensity and polarisation in three frequency bands centred at 30, 44 and 70 GHz, while higher frequencies (100-850 GHz) will be covered by the HFI instrument. The LFI is an array of microwave radiometers based on state-of-the-art indium phosphide cryogenic HEMT amplifiers implemented in a differential system using blackbody loads as reference signals. The front end is cooled to 20K for optimal sensitivity and the reference loads are cooled to 4K to minimise low-frequency noise. We provide an overview of the LFI, discuss the leading scientific requirements, and describe the design solutions adopted for the various hardware subsystems. The main drivers of the radiometric, optical, and thermal design are discussed, including the stringent requirements on sensitivity, stability, and rejection of systematic effects. Further details on the key instrument units and the results of ground calibration are provided in a set of companion papers.

Published: 10 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200913039

The Planck High Frequency Instrument, HFI, has been designed to allow a clear unobscured view of the CMB sky through an off-axis Gregorian telescope. The prime science target is to measure the polarized anisotropy of the CMB with a sensitivity of 1 part in 106 with a maximum spatial resolution of 5 arcmin (Cl ~ 3000) in four spectral bands with two further high-frequency channels measuring total power for foreground removal. These requirements place critical constraints on both the telescope configuration and the receiver coupling and require precise determination of the spectral and spatial characteristics at the pixel level, whilst maintaining control of the polarisation. To meet with the sensitivity requirements, the focal plane needs to be cooled with the optics at a few Kelvin and detectors at 100 mK. To limit inherent instrumental thermal emission and difraction effects, there is no vacuum window, so the detector feedhorns view the telescope secondary directly. This requires that the instrument is launched warm with the cooler chain only being activated during its cruise to L2. Here we present the novel optical configuration designed to meet with all the above criteria.

Published: 10 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912849

We present the calibration and scientific performance parameters of the Planck Low Frequency Instrument (LFI) measured during the ground cryogenic test campaign. These parameters characterise the instrument response and constitute our optimal pre-launch knowledge of the LFI scientific performance. The LFI shows excellent 1/f stability and rejection of instrumental systematic effects; its measured noise performance shows that LFI is the most sensitive instrument of its kind. The calibration parameters will be updated during flight operations until the end of the mission.

Published: 10 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912999

Planck is a European Space Agency (ESA) satellite, launched in May 2009, which will map the Cosmic Microwave Background anisotropies in intensity and polarisation with unprecedented detail and sensitivity. It will also provide full-sky maps of astrophysical foregrounds. An accurate knowledge of the telescope beam patterns is an essential element for a correct analysis of the acquired astrophysical data.We present a detailed description of the optical design of the High Frequency Instrument (HFI) together with some of the optical performances measured during the calibration campaigns.We report on the evolution of the knowledge of the pre-launch HFI beam patterns when coupled to ideal telescope elements, and on their significance for the HFI data analysis procedure.

Published: 10 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912975

Context. The High Frequency Instrument (HFI) is one of the two focal instruments of the Planck mission. It will observe the whole sky in six bands in the 100 GHz - 1 THz range.
Aims. The HFI instrument is designed to measure the cosmic microwave background (CMB) with a sensitivity limited only by fundamental sources: the photon noise of the CMB itself and the residuals left after the removal of foregrounds. The two high frequency bands will provide full maps of the submillimetre sky, featuring mainly extended and point source foregrounds. Systematic effects must be kept at negligible levels or accurately monitored so that the signal can be corrected. This paper describes the HFI design and its characteristics deduced from ground tests and calibration.
Methods. The HFI instrumental concept and architecture are feasible only by pushing new techniques to their extreme capabilities, mainly: (i) bolometers working at 100 mK and absorbing the radiation in grids, (ii) a dilution cooler providing 100 mK in microgravity conditions, (iii) a new type of AC biased readout electronics and (iv) optical channels using devices inspired from radio and infrared techniques.
Results. The Planck-HFI instrument performance exceeds requirements for sensitivity and control of systematic effects. During ground-based calibration and tests, it was measured at instrument and system levels to be close to or better than the goal specification.

Published: 10 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912911

Planck is a scientific satellite that represents the next milestone in space-based research related to the cosmic microwave background, and in many other astrophysical fields. Planck was launched on 14 May of 2009 and is now operational. The uncertainty in the optical response of its detectors is a key factor allowing Planck to achieve its scientific objectives. More than a decade of analysis and measurements have gone into achieving the required performances. In this paper, we describe the main aspects of the Planck optics that are relevant to Planck science, and the estimated in-flight performance, based on the knowledge available at the time of launch. We also briefly describe the impact of the major systematic effects of optical origin, and the concept of in-flight optical calibration. Detailed discussions of related areas are provided in accompanying papers.

Published: 10 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200913203

Context. The Planck satellite was successfully launched on May 14th 2009. We have completed the pre-launch calibration measurements of the High Frequency Instrument (HFI) on board Planck and their processing.
Aims. We present the results ot the pre-launch calibration of HFI in which we have multiple objectives. First, we determine instrumental parameters that cannot be measured in-flight and predict parameters that can. Second, we take the opportunity to operate and understand the instrument under a wide range of anticipated operating conditions. Finally, we estimate the performance of the instrument built.
Methods. We obtained our pre-launch calibration results by characterising the component and subsystems, then by calibrating the focal plane at IAS (Orsay) in the Saturne simulator, and later from the tests at the satellite level carried out in the CSL (Liege) cryogenic vacuum chamber. We developed models to estimate the instrument pre-launch parameters when no measurement could be performed.
Results. We reliably measure the Planck-HFI instrument characteristics and behaviour, and determine the flight nominal setting of all parameters. The expected in-flight performance exceeds the requirements and is close or superior to the goal specifications.

Published: 10 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200913054

The High Frequency Instrument of Planck will map the entire sky in the millimeter and sub-millimeter domain from 100 to 857 GHz with unprecedented sensitivity to polarization (DP/Tcmb ~4 x 10-6 for P either Q or U and Tcmb~2.7 K) at 100, 143, 217 and 353 GHz. It will lead to major improvements in our understanding of the Cosmic Microwave Background anisotropies and polarized foreground signals. Planck will make high resolution measurements of the E- mode spectrum (up to l~1500) and will also play a prominent role in the search for the faint imprint of primordial gravitational waves on the CMB polarization.

Published: 10 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912860

The Low Frequency Instrument (LFI) on-board the ESA Planck satellite carries eleven radiometer subsystems, called Radiometer Chain Assemblies (RCAs), each composed of a pair of pseudo-correlation receivers. We describe the on-ground calibration campaign performed to qualify the flight model RCAs and to measure their pre-launch performances. Each RCA was calibrated in a dedicated flight-like cryogenic environment with the radiometer front-end cooled to 20K and the back-end at 300K, and with an external input load cooled to 4K. A matched load simulating a blackbody at different temperatures was placed in front of the sky horn to derive basic radiometer properties such as noise temperature, gain, and noise performance, e.g. 1/f noise. The spectral response of each detector was measured as was their susceptibility to thermal variation. All eleven LFI RCAs were calibrated. Instrumental parameters measured in these tests, such as noise temperature, bandwidth, radiometer isolation, and linearity, provide essential inputs to the Planck-LFI data analysis.

Published: 10 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912855

We present a system-level description of the Low Frequency Instrument (LFI) considered as a differencing polarimeter, and evaluate its expected performance. The LFI is one of the two instruments on board the ESA Planck mission to study the cosmic microwave background. It consists of a set of 22 radiometers sensitive to linear polarisation, arranged in orthogonally-oriented pairs connected to 11 feed horns operating at 30, 44 and 70 GHz. In our analysis, the generic Jones and Mueller-matrix formulations for polarimetry are adapted to the special case of the LFI. Laboratory measurements of flight components are combined with optical simulations of the telescope to investigate the values and uncertainties in the system parameters affecting polarisation response. Methods of correcting residual systematic errors are also briefly discussed.

Published: 09 July 2010

Context. In July 2010 the ESA spacecraft Rosetta will fly by the main belt asteroid 21 Lutetia. Several observations of this asteroid have been performed so far, but its surface composition and nature are still a matter of debate. For a long time Lutetia was supposed to have a metallic nature due to its high IRAS albedo. Later on it has been suggested that the asteroid has a surface composition similar to primitive carbonaceous chondrite meteorites, while further observations proposed a possible genetic link with more evolved enstatite chondrite meteorites.

Aims. We performed visible spectroscopic observations of 21 Lutetia in November 2008 at the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG, La Palma, Spain) to make a decisive contribution to solving the conundrum of its nature.

Methods. Thirteen visible spectra were acquired at different rotational phases and subsequently analyzed.

Results. We confirm a narrow spectral feature at about 0.47-0.48 microns which was already found by Lazzarin et al. (2004, A&A, 425, L25) in the spectra of Lutetia. We also confirm an earlier find of Lazzarin et al. (2004), who detected a spectral feature at about 0.6 microns in one of their Lutetia's spectra. More remarkable is the difference of our spectra though, which exhibit different spectral slopes between 0.6 and 0.75 microns and, in particular, we found that up to 20% of the Lutetia surface could have flatter spectra.

Conclusions. We detected a variation of the spectral slopes at different rotational phases that could be interpreted as possibly due to differences in the chemical/mineralogical composition as well as to inhomogeneities of the structure of the Lutetia's surface (e.g., to craters or albedo spots) in the southern hemisphere.

Published: 16 April 2010
We seek the best size estimates of the asteroid (21) Lutetia, the direction of its spin axis, and its bulk density, assuming its shape is well described by a smooth featureless triaxial ellipsoid, and to evaluate the deviations from this assumption. Methods. We derive these quantities from the outlines of the asteroid in 307 images of its resolved apparent disk obtained with adaptive optics (AO) at Keck II and VLT, and combine these with recent mass determinations to estimate a bulk density. Our best triaxial ellipsoid diameters for Lutetia, based on our AO images alone, are a x b x c = 132 x 101 x 93 km, with uncertainties of 4 x 3 x 13 km including estimated systematics, with a rotational pole within 5 deg. of ECJ2000 [long,lat] = [45, -7], or EQJ2000 [RA, DEC] = [44, +9]. The AO model fit itself has internal precisions of 1 x 1 x 8 km, but it is evident, both from this model derived from limited viewing aspects and the radius vector model given in a companion paper, that Lutetia has significant departures from an idealized ellipsoid. In particular, the long axis may be overestimated from the AO images alone by about 10 km. Therefore, we combine the best aspects of the radius vector and ellipsoid model into a hybrid ellipsoid model, as our final result, of 124 +/- 5 x 101 +/- 4 x 93 +/- 13 km that can be used to estimate volumes, sizes, and projected areas. The adopted pole position is within 5 deg. of [long, lat] = [52, -6] or[RA DEC] = [52, +12]. Using two separately determined masses and the volume of our hybrid model, we estimate a density of 3.5 +/- 1.1 or 4.3 +/- 0.8 g cm-3 . From the density evidence alone, we argue that this favors an enstatite-chondrite composition, although other compositions are formally allowed at the extremes (low-porosity CV/CO carbonaceous chondrite or high-porosity metallic). We discuss this in the context of other evidence.
Published: 09 July 2010
A taxonomic system was introduced by C. R. Chapman, D. Morrison, and B. Zellner [Icarus 25, 104 - 130 (1975)], in which minor planets are classified according to a few readily observable optical properties, independent of specific mineralogical interpretations. That taxonomy is here augmented to five classes, now precisely defined in terms of seven parameters obtained from polarimetry, spectrophotometry, radiometry, and UBV photometry of 523 objects. We classify 190 asteroids as type C, 141 as type S, 13 as type M, 3 as type E, and 3 as type R; 55 objects are shown to fall outside these five classes and are designated U (unclassifiable). For the remaining 118, the data exclude two or more types but are insufficient for unambiguous classification. Reliable diameters, from radiometry or polarimetry or else from albedos adopted as typical of the types, are listed for 396 objects. We also compare our taxonomy with other ones and discuss how classification efforts are related to the interpretation of asteroid mineralogies.
Published: 09 July 2010
30-Sep-2020 10:46 UT

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