ESA Science & Technology - Publication Archive
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.
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.
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.
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.
Aims.The aim of this paper is to investigate the surface composition of the two asteroids 21 Lutetia and 2867 Steins, targets of the Rosetta space mission.
Methods.We observed the two asteroids through their full rotational periods with the Infrared Spectrograph of the Spitzer Space Telescope to investigate the surface properties. The analysis of their thermal emission spectra was carried out to detect emissivity features that diagnose the surface composition.
Results. For both asteroids, the Christiansen peak, the Reststrahlen, and the Transparency features were detected. The thermal emissivity shows a clear analogy to carbonaceous chondrite meteorites, in particular to the CO-CV types for 21 Lutetia, while for 2867 Steins, already suggested as belonging to the E-type asteroids, the similarity to the enstatite achondrite meteorite is confirmed.
New large-scale CO surveys of the first and second Galactic quadrants and the nearby molecular cloud complexes in Orion and Taurus, obtained with the CfA 1.2 m telescope, have been combined with 31 other surveys obtained over the past two decades with that instrument and a similar telescope on Cerro Tololo in Chile, to produce a new composite CO survey of the entire Milky Way. The survey consists of 488,000 spectra that Nyquist or beamwidth (1/8 °) sample the entire Galactic plane over a strip 4°-10° wide in latitude, and beamwidth 1/4 ° sample nearly all large local clouds at higher latitudes. Compared with the previous composite CO survey of Dame et al. (1987), the new survey has 16 times more spectra, up to 3.4 times higher angular resolution, and up to 10 times higher sensitivity per unit solid angle.
The assessment study of Planetary Entry Probes (PEP) for Venus and three of the outer planets (Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) has been performed at ESA's Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) and ran from 14 April to 30 June 2010.
The internal final presentation has been prepared by the PEP/CDF team and summarizes the outcome of the PEP assessment study. This presentation can be downloaded below as a PDF (link to publication).
Contents of the presentation:
A summary of the PEP study is on the "Planetary Entry Probes (PEP)" page, linked form the right-hand menu.
The mapping IR channel of the Visual and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS-M) on board the Venus Express spacecraft observes the CO2 band at 4.3 Œm at a spectral resolution adequate to retrieve the atmospheric temperature profiles in the 65-96 km altitude range.
Observations acquired in the period June 2006 - July 2008 were used to derive average temperature fields as a function of latitude, subsolar longitude (i.e.: local time, LT) and pressure. Coverage presented here is limited to the nighttime because of the adverse effects of daytime non-LTE emission on the retrieval procedure, and to southernmost latitudes because of the orientation of the Venus-Express orbit. Maps of air temperature variability are also presented as the standard deviation of the population included in each averaging bin.
At the 100 mbar level (about 65 km above the reference surface) temperatures tend to decrease from the evening to the morning side, despite a local maximum observed around 20-21LT. The cold collar is evident around 65S, with a minimum temperature at 3LT. Moving to higher altitudes, local time trends become less evident at 12.6 mbar (about 75 km) where the temperature monotonically increases from middle-latitudes to the southern pole. Nonetheless, at this pressure level, two weaker local time temperature minima are observed at 23LT and 2LT equatorward of 60S. Local time trends in temperature reverse about 85 km, where the morning side is the warmer.
The variability at the 100 mbar level is maximum around 80S and stronger toward the morning side. Moving to higher altitudes, the morning side always shows the stronger variability. Southward of 60S, standard deviation presents minimum values around 12.6 mbar for all the local times.
Methods. We obtained BVRI photometric and V-band polarimetric measurements over a wide range of phase angles, and visible and infrared spectra in the 0.4-2.4 micron range. We analyze them with previously published data to retrieve information about Lutetia's surface properties.
Results. Values of lightcurve amplitudes, absolute magnitude, opposition effect, phase coefficient, and BVRI colors of Lutetia surface seen at near pole-on aspect are determined. We define more precisely parameters of polarization phase curve and show their distinct deviation from any other moderate-albedo asteroid. An indication of possible variations in both polarization and spectral data across the asteroid surface are found. To explain features found by different techniques, we propose that (i) Lutetia has a non-convex shape, probably due to a large crater, and heterogeneous surface properties probably related to surface morphology; (ii) at least part of the surface is covered by a fine-grained regolith of particle size smaller than 20 micron; (iii) the closest meteorite analogues of Lutetia's surface composition are particular types of carbonaceous chondrites, or Lutetia has specific surface composition that is not representative among studied meteorites.
The present study makes the first scientific use of this operation mode. We estimate the X-ray spectroscopic temperature of SPT-CL J2332-5358 (at redshift z = 0.32) to be T = 9.3 [+3.3][-1.9] keV, implying a high mass, M500 = 8.8 ± 3.8 × 1014 solar masses. For SPT-CL J2342-5411, at z = 1.08, the available X-ray data do not allow us to directly estimate the temperature with good confidence. However, using our measured luminosity and scaling relations we estimate that T = 4.5 ± 1.3 keV and M500 = 1.9 ± 0.8 × 1014 solar masses. We find a good agreement between the X-ray masses and those estimated from the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect.
The May 2010 issue of Astronomy & Astrophysics is a special feature devoted to the new results obtained with the infrared satellite AKARI, a JAXA project with the participation of ESA. It includes 17 articles dealing with various subjects. Some papers are based on the AKARI all-sky survey, which has just been released. Others are dedicated to pointed observations of many astronomical targets from solar system bodies to distant galaxies.