Publication archive

Publication archive

The determination of the ephemeris of the Martian moons has benefited from observations of their plane-of-sky positions derived from images taken by cameras onboard spacecraft orbiting Mars. Images obtained by the Super Resolution Camera (SRC) onboard Mars Express (MEX) have been used to derive moon positions relative to Mars on the basis of a fit of a complete dynamical model of their motion around Mars. Since, these positions are computed from the relative position of the spacecraft when the images are taken, those positions need to be known as accurately as possible. An accurate MEX orbit is obtained by fitting two years of tracking data of the Mars Express Radio Science (MaRS) experiment onboard MEX. The average accuracy of the orbits has been estimated to be around 20-25 m. From these orbits, we have re-derived the positions of Phobos and Deimos at the epoch of the SRC observations and compared them with the positions derived by using the MEX orbits provided by the ESOC navigation team. After fit of the orbital model of Phobos and Deimos, the gain in precision in the Phobos position is roughly 30 m, corresponding to the estimated gain of accuracy of the MEX orbits. A new solution of the GM of the Martian moons has also been obtained from the accurate MEX orbits, which is consistent with previous solutions and, for Phobos, is more precise than the solution from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) and Mars Odyssey (ODY) tracking data. It will be further improved with data from MEX-Phobos closer encounters (at a distance less than 300 km). This study also demonstrates the advantage of combining observations of the moon positions from a spacecraft and from the Earth to assess the real accuracy of the spacecraft orbit. In turn, the natural satellite ephemerides can be improved and participate to a better knowledge of the origin and evolution of the Martian moons.
Published: 02 April 2008
Aims. New astrometric measurements for Phobos are reported on the basis of 69 SRC (Super Resolution Channel) images obtained during 28 Mars Express Phobos flybys executed between 2004 and 2007. Methods. The measurements have been made using a newly developed technique that involves positional measurements of surface control points and verification of camera pointing by background stars. Results. The astrometric positions are in excellent agreement with currently available Phobos orbit models. However, we find remaining systematic offsets of 1.5-2.6 km such that Phobos is ahead of its predicted position along the track. Conclusions. Our observations will be a basis for further improvements in the Phobos ephemeris. The methods that we have developed will be useful for the astrometric tracking of planetary or asteroidal targets and spacecraft optical navigation in future planetary missions.
Published: 25 February 2010
We present new ephemerides of Phobos and Deimos that are fit to observations from 1877 to 2005 and include recent spacecraft observations by Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Express. In contrast to earlier models, this is the first completely numerical one. In particular, the tidal effects have been modeled by the tidal bulge raised by each moon on the planet, instead of fitting secular accelerations in the satellite longitudes. This partly avoids absorbing the Deimos observational errors in its related tidal acceleration. Moreover, applying this model to other systems will be easier. Our estimate of the Martian dissipation is Q = 79.91±0.69 (1sigma-formal error) when assuming k2 = 0.152 for the Martian Love number and GmPh= 0.68 X 106 m3/s2 for the Phobos mass. We also report the possibility of fitting the Phobos oblateness gravity field. We suspect a non-uniform density for Phobos or a bias in either the observations or the Martian gravity field. A FORTRAN subroutine that computes the Martian moons' ephemerides is available on request.
Published: 04 April 2007
Observations of Phobos and Deimos, carried out by the SRC (Super Resolution Channel) on the Mars Express spacecraft between May 2004-April 2005, were used to determine the center-of-figure positions of the two Satellites with accuracies of 0.5-5 km (Phobos) and 1.0 km (Deimos). We find that the Phobos and Deimos orbit predictions from NASA-JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and ESA-ESOC (European Space Operation Center) differ substantially among each other and also do not agree with the actually observed positions of the satellites. Hence, our new astrometric data may motivate new efforts for Phobos and Deimos orbit modeling.
Published: 01 March 2006
A new independent control point network for Phobos was computed from image data obtained by the SRC (Super Resolution Channel) on board the European Mars Express Mission. The network solution includes 3D coordinates of 665 surface control points and was used to observe the forced libration amplitude of Phobos. Based on the network control points a spherical harmonic function model to degree and order 17 was derived, from which volume, bulk density and moments of inertia were computed. The modeled forced libration amplitude agrees to our observation within the error bands, indicating a homogeneous mass distribution for Phobos. To bring both values into exact agreement with the observations, different mass distribution models were applied. It appears that the amplitude is relatively insensitive to a simple two-layer density model.
Published: 27 August 2009
Phobos flyby images obtained by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) and the Super Resolution Channel (SRC) onboard the Mars Express spacecraft were used to produce a global Digital Terrain Model and orthoimage mosaics. We derived a set of Phobos topographic image maps, which are combined into an atlas that consists of four quadrangles on three map sheets at the scale of 1: 50,000. The lateral geometric accuracy of these maps of ± 20 m is more than four times better than that of past products. They are based on a shape model with 0.52° × 0.52° grid spacing and show significantly more detail in comparison to previous data products.
Published: 02 November 2009
Aims. Dust-obscured star-formation increases with increasing intensity and increasing redshift. We aim to reveal the cosmic starformation history obscured by dust using deep infrared observation with AKARI.
Methods. We constructed restframe 8 micron, 12 micron, and total infrared (TIR) luminosity functions (LFs) at 0.15 < z < 2.2 using 4128 infrared sources in the AKARI NEP-Deep field. A continuous filter coverage in the mid-IR wavelength (2.4, 3.2, 4.1, 7, 9, 11, 15, 18, and 24 micron) by the AKARI satellite allowed us to estimate restframe 8 micron and 12 micron luminosities without using a large extrapolation based on an SED fit, which was the largest uncertainty in previous work.
Results. We find that all 8 micron (0.38 < z < 2.2), 12 micron (0.15 < z < 1.16), and TIR LFs (0.2 < z < 1.6) show continuous and strong evolution toward higher redshift. Our direct estimate of 8 micron LFs is useful since previous work often had to use a large extrapolation from the Spitzer 24 micron to 8 micron, where SED modeling is more difficult because of the PAH emissions. In terms of cosmic infrared luminosity density (OmegaIR), which was obtained by integrating analytic fits to the LFs, we find good agreement with previous work at z < 1.2. We find the OmegaIR evolves as proportinal to (1 + z)4.4±1.0. When we separate contributions to OmegaIR by LIRGs and ULIRGs, we found more IR luminous sources are increasingly more important at higher redshift. We find that the ULIRG (LIRG) contribution increases by a factor of 10 (1.8) from z=0.35 to z=1.4.
Published: 05 February 2010
This issue of Spatium summarizes a talk by Prof. Southwood, ESA's Director of Science and Robotic Exploration, on the European Space Agency's scientific programme: Cosmic Vision.
Published: 01 February 2010

A&A doi

The Planck mission was conceived in 1992, in the wake of the release of the results from the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite (Boggess et al. 1992), notably the measurement by the FIRAS instrument of the shape of the spectrum of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), and the detection by the DMR instrument of the spatial anisotropies of the temperature of the CMB. The latter result in particular led to an explosion in the number of ground-based and suborbital experiments dedicated to mapping of the anisotropies, and to proposals for space experiments both in Europe and the USA.

Published: 28 October 2010
Past spacecraft observations of Venus have found considerable spatial and temporal variations of water vapour abundance above the clouds. Previous searches for variability below the clouds at 30-45 km altitude found no large scale latitudinal gradients, but lacked the spatial resolution to detect smaller scale variations. Here we interpret results from the VIRTIS imaging spectrometer on Venus Express, remotely sounding at near-infrared "spectral window" wavelengths, as indicating that the water vapour abundance at 30-40 km altitude varies from 22 to 35 ppmv (±4 ppmv). Furthermore, this variability is correlated with cloud opacity, supporting the hypothesis that its genesis is linked to cloud convection. It is also possible to fit the observations without requiring spatial variation of water abundance, but this places a strong constraint on the spectral dependence of the refractive index data assumed for the lower cloud particles, for which there is as yet no supporting evidence.
Published: 26 January 2010
Aims. We explore spectral energy distributions (SEDs), star formation (SF), and dust extinction properties of galaxies in the Local Universe.
Methods. The AKARI All-Sky Survey provided the first bright point source catalog detected at 90 micron. Beginning with this catalog, we selected galaxies by matching the AKARI sources with those in the IRAS Point Source Catalog Redshift Survey. We measured the total GALEX FUV and NUV flux densities with a photometry software we specifically developed for this purpose. In a further step we matched this sample with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) galaxies. With this procedure we obtained a basic sample which consists of 776 galaxies. After removing objects whose photometry was contaminated by foreground sources (mainly in the SDSS), we defined the "secure sample" which contains 607 galaxies.
Results. The sample galaxies have redshifts of <~ 0.15, and their 90-micron luminosities range from 106 to 1012 Lsun, with a peak at 1010 Lsun. The SEDs display a large variety, especially more than four orders of magnitude at the mid-far-infrared (M-FIR), but if we sort the sample with respect to 90 micron, the average SED shows a coherent trend: the more luminous an SED at 90 micron, the redder the global SED becomes. The Mr-NUV - r color-magnitude relation of our sample does not show bimodality, and the distribution is centered on the green valley.
- Remainder of abstract is truncated -
Published: 22 January 2010
The Euclid Mission Assessment Study is the industrial part of the Euclid assessment phase. This document summarizes the results of one such study performed between September 2008 and September 2009 by a team led by Thales Alenia Space (I) and including Thales Alenia Space (F), Kayser-Threde and Deimos Space.
Published: 30 October 2009
The Euclid Mission Assessment Study is the industrial part of the Euclid assessment phase. The study has been performed by Astrium from September 2008 to September 2009 and is intended for space segment definition and programmatic evaluation. The prime responsibility is with Astrium GmbH (Friedrichshafen, Germany) with support from Astrium SAS (Toulouse, France) and Astrium Ltd (Stevenage, UK).
Published: 01 October 2009
Since 2004, Saturn's moon Iapetus has been observed repeatedly with the Imaging Science Subsystem of the Cassini spacecraft. The images show numerous impact craters down to the resolution limit of ~10 meters per pixel. Small, bright craters within the dark hemisphere indicate a dark blanket thickness on the order of meters or less. Dark, equator-facing and bright, poleward-facing crater walls suggest temperature-driven water-ice sublimation as the process responsible for local albedo patterns. Imaging data also reveal a global color dichotomy, wherein both dark and bright materials on the leading side have a substantially redder color than the respective trailing-side materials. This global pattern indicates an exogenic origin for the redder leading-side parts and suggests that the global color dichotomy initiated the thermal formation of the global albedo dichotomy.
Published: 22 January 2010
The extreme albedo asymmetry of Saturn's moon Iapetus, which is about 10 times as bright on its trailing hemisphere as on its leading hemisphere, has been an enigma for three centuries. Deposition of exogenic dark material on the leading side has been proposed as a cause, but this alone cannot explain the global shape, sharpness, and complexity of the transition between Iapetus' bright and dark terrain. We demonstrate that all these characteristics, and the asymmetry's large amplitude, can be plausibly explained by runaway global thermal migration of water ice, triggered by the deposition of dark material on the leading hemisphere. This mechanism is unique to Iapetus among the saturnian satellites because its slow rotation produces unusually high daytime temperatures and water ice sublimation rates for a given albedo.
Published: 22 January 2010
Measurements of X-ray scaling laws are critical for improving cosmological constraints derived with the halo mass function and for understanding the physical processes that govern the heating and cooling of the intracluster medium. In this paper, we use a sample of 206 X-ray selected galaxy groups to investigate the scaling relation between X-ray luminosity (LX) and halo mass (M200) where M200 is derived via stacked weak gravitational lensing. This work draws upon a broad array of multiwavelength COSMOS observations including 1.64 degrees2 of contiguous imaging with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) to a limiting magnitude of IF814W = 26.5 and deep XMM-Newton/Chandra imaging to a limiting flux of 1.0 x 10-15 erg cm-2 s-1 in the 0.5-2 keV band. The combined depth of these two data-sets allows us to probe the lensing signals of X-ray detected structures at both higher redshifts and lower masses than previously explored. Weak lensing profiles and halo masses are derived for nine sub-samples, narrowly binned in luminosity and redshift. The COSMOS data alone are well fit by a power law with a slope of alpha = 0.66 +/- 0.14. These results significantly extend the dynamic range for which the halo masses of X-ray selected structures have been measured with weak gravitational lensing. As a result, tight constraints are obtained for the slope of the M-LX relation. The combination of our group data with previously published cluster data demonstrates that the M-LX relation is well described by a single power law, alpha = 0.64 +/- 0.03, over two decades in mass. These results are inconsistent at the 3.7 sigma level with the self-similar prediction of alpha = 0.75. We examine the redshift dependence of the M - LX relation and find little evidence for evolution beyond the rate predicted by self-similarity from z ~0.25 to z ~0.8.
Published: 20 January 2010

Book published in the series "Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings"; H. Laakso, M.G.G.T. Taylor, C.P. Escoubet (Eds.), 2010, XX, 489 p., Hardcover, ISBN: 978-90-481-3498-4, © Springer

Since the year 2000 the ESA Cluster mission has been investigating the small-scale structures and processes of the Earth's plasma environment, such as those involved in the interaction between the solar wind and the magnetospheric plasma, in global magnetotail dynamics, in cross-tail currents, and in the formation and dynamics of the neutral line and of plasmoids.

This book contains presentations made at the 15th Cluster workshop held in March 2008. It also presents several articles about the Cluster Active Archive and its datasets, a few overview papers on the Cluster mission, and articles reporting on scientific findings on the solar wind, the magnetosheath, the magnetopause and the magnetotail.

The contents of the book are grouped into seven main parts:

  • Part I - Products and Services of the Cluster Active Archive
  • Part II - Tools for the CAA Data Analysis
  • Part III - Measurement Techniques and Calibration Routines
  • Part IV - Magnetospheric Missions
  • Part V - Observations of Solar Wind and Magnetosheath
  • Part VI - Observations of Magnetopause and Cusp
  • Part VII - Observations of Magnetospheric Tail
Published: 15 January 2010
The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission encountered the main-belt asteroid (2867) Steins while on its way to rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Images taken with the OSIRIS (optical, spectroscopic, and infrared remote imaging system) cameras on board Rosetta show that Steins is an oblate body with an effective spherical diameter of 5.3 kilometers. Its surface does not show colour variations. The morphology of Steins is dominated by linear faults and a large 2.1-kilometer-diameter crater near its south pole. Crater counts reveal a distinct lack of small craters. Steins is not solid rock but a rubble pile and has a conical appearance that is probably the result of reshaping due to Yarkovsky-O'Keefe-Radzievskii-Paddack (YORP) spin-up. The OSIRIS images constitute direct evidence for the YORP effect on a main-belt asteroid.
Published: 08 January 2010
(Book in the series "Astronomers' Universe")

From prehistoric times, mankind has looked up at the night sky, and puzzled at the changing positions of the stars. How far away they are is a question that has confounded scientists for centuries. Over the last few hundred years, many scientific careers – and considerable resources – have been devoted to measuring their positions and motions with ever increasing accuracy. And in the last two decades of the 20th century, the European Space Agency developed and launched the Hipparcos satellite, around which this account revolves, to carry out these exacting measurements from space.

What has prompted these remarkable developments? Why have governments been persuaded to fund them? What are scientists learning from astronomy's equivalent of the Human Genome Project? This book traces the subject's history, explains why such enormous efforts are considered worthwhile, and interweaves these with a first-hand insight into the Hipparcos project, and how big science is conducted at an international level. The involvement of amateur astronomers, and the Hipparcos contributions to climate research, 'death stars' passing close to the Sun, and the search for extra-solar planets and even intelligent life itself, are some of the surprising facets of this unusual space mission.

Table of Contents
Prologue - Hipparcos Launch
1. Our Place in the Cosmos
2. Why Star Positions?
3. Early History
4. Developments 1850-1980
5. The Push to Space
6. From Concept to Launch
7. Disaster Unfolds
8. Mission Recovery
9. Science in the Making
10. The Finishing Touches
11. Our Galaxy
12. Inside the Stars
13. Our Solar System and Habitability
14. The Future
Stereo Views

Published: 01 January 2010
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the ESA's X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission (XMM-Newton) made their first observations ten years ago. The complementary capabilities of these observatories allow us to make high-resolution images and precisely measure the energy of cosmic X-rays. Less than 50 years after the first detection of an extrasolar X-ray source, these observatories have achieved an increase in sensitivity comparable to going from naked-eye observations to the most powerful optical telescopes over the past 400 years. We highlight some of the many discoveries made by Chandra and XMM-Newton that have transformed twenty-first century astronomy.
Published: 24 December 2009
26-May-2024 02:13 UT

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