Publication archive

Publication archive

p-mode oscillations in solar-like stars are excited by the outer convection zone in these stars and reflected close to the surface. The p modes are trapped inside an acoustic cavity, but the modes only stay trapped up to a given frequency [known as the acoustic cut-off frequency (vac)] as modes with larger frequencies are generally not reflected at the surface. This means that modes with frequency larger than the acoustic cut-off frequency must be travelling waves. The high-frequency modes may provide information about the physics in the outer layers of the stars and the excitation source and are therefore highly interesting as it is the estimation of these two phenomena that cause some of the largest uncertainties when calculating stellar oscillations. High-frequency modes have been detected in the Sun, in beta-Hydri and in alpha-Cen A and alpha-Cen B by smoothing the so-called echelle diagram and the large frequency separation as a function of frequency has been estimated. The large frequency separation has been compared with a simple model of the acoustic cavity which suggests that the reflectivity of the photosphere is larger at high frequency than predicted by standard models of the solar atmosphere and that the depth of the excitation source is larger than what has been estimated by other models and might depend on the order n and degree l of the modes.
Published: 01 November 2007
Solar flares are large explosions on the Sun's surface caused by a sudden release of magnetic energy. They are known to cause local short-lived oscillations traveling away from the explosion like water rings. Here we show that the energy in the solar acoustic spectrum is correlated with flares. This means that the flares drive global oscillations in the Sun in the same way that the entire Earth is set ringing for several weeks after a major earthquake such as the 2004 December Sumatra-Andaman one. The correlation between flares and energy in the acoustic spectrum of disk-integrated sunlight is stronger for high-frequency waves than for ordinary p-modes which are excited by the turbulence in the near-surface convection zone immediately beneath the photosphere.
Published: 02 April 2008
We investigate long-term X-ray behaviors from the Sgr B2 complex using archival data of the X-ray satellites Suzaku, XMM-Newton, Chandra and ASCA. The observed region of the Sgr B2 complex includes two prominent spots in the Fe I K-alpha line at 6.40 keV, a giant molecular cloud M0.66-0.02 known as the "Sgr B2 cloud" and an unusual X-ray source G0.570-0.018. Although these 6.40 keV spots have spatial extensions of a few pc scale, the morphology and flux of the 6.40 keV line has been time variable for 10 years, in contrast to the constant flux of the Fe XXV K-alpha line at 6.67 keV in the Galactic diffuse X-ray emission. This time variation is mostly due to M0.66-0.02; the 6.40 keV line flux declined in 2001 and decreased to 60% in the time span 1994-2005. The other spot G0.570-0.018 is found to be conspicuous only in the Chandra observation in 2000. From the long-term time variability (~10 years) of the Sgr B2 complex, we infer that the Galactic Center black hole Sgr A* was X-ray bright in the past 300 year and exhibited a time variability with a period of a few years.
Published: 16 April 2008
On October 8, 2004, the Cluster and Double Star spacecraft crossed the near-Earth (12-19 RE) magnetotail neutral sheet during the recovery phase of a small, isolated substorm. Although they were separated in distance by ~7 RE and in time by ~30 min, both Cluster and Double Star observed steady, but highly structured Earthward moving >1000 km/s high speed H+ beams in the PSBL. This paper utilizes a global magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulation driven by Wind spacecraft solar wind input to model the large-scale structure of the PSBL and large-scale kinetic (LSK) particle tracing calculations to investigate the similarities and differences in the properties of the observed beams. This study finds that the large-scale shape of the PSBL is determined by the MHD configuration. On smaller scales, the LSK calculations, in good qualitative agreement with both Cluster and Double Star observations, demonstrated that the PSBL is highly structured in both time and space, on time intervals of less than 2 min, and spatial distances of the order of 0.2-0.5 RE. This picture of the PSBL is different from the ordered and structured region previously reported in observations.
Published: 15 April 2008
The Energetic Particles Detector and magnetometer measurements on Galileo showed that the Jovian magnetosphere undergoes reconfiguration processes which are very similar to the characteristics of a terrestrial substorm. At Jupiter the reconfiguration process occurs quasi-periodically with a repetition period of several days. In the terrestrial magnetosphere periodic substorms have been observed during magnetic storms. The comparison of the periodic magnetospheric disturbances at Jupiter and Earth shows that they are similar in dynamic features as well as in spatial distribution but have different energy sources. In the case of Earth, the well-established energy source is the solar wind. In the case of the Jovian magnetosphere, it is believed that internal energy is supplied by the fast planetary rotation and the moon Io which releases ~1000 kg s-1 of plasma into the magnetosphere. It is established that the energy accumulation and subsequent release lead to similar features in the magnetospheres of both planets. The particle data show periodic intensity fluctuations and plasma pressure variations. In addition, recurring signatures of stretching and dipolarization are observed in the magnetic field at the terrestrial and Jovian magnetospheres. Furthermore, the release process is associated with an intensification of auroral emissions. The typical phases for terrestrial substorms like growth, expansion and recovery are also found in the periodic substorms at Jupiter. As a lesson taken from the Jovian magnetosphere it is proposed that under certain conditions periodic magnetospheric substorms at Earth can be driven by mass-loading from the plasmasphere.
Published: 13 April 2008
The study of the neutral sheet is of fundamental importance in understanding the dynamics of the Earth's magnetosphere. From the earliest observation of the magnetotail, it has been found that the neutral sheet frequently appears to be in motion due to changing solar wind conditions and geomagnetic activity. Multiple crossings of the neutral sheet by spacecraft have been attributed to a flapping motion of the neutral sheet in the north-south direction, a wavy profile either along the magnetotail or the dawn-dusk direction. Cluster observations have revealed that the flapping motions of the Earth's magnetotail are of internal origin and that kink-like waves are emitted from the central part of the tail and propagate toward the tail flanks. This flapping motion is shown here to propagate at an angle of ~45° with xGSM. A possible assumption that the flapping could be created by a wake travelling away from a fast flow in the current sheet is rejected. Other waves in the magnetotail are found in the ULF range. One conjunction event between Cluster and DoubleStar TC1 is presented where all spacecraft show ULF wave activity at a period of approximately 5 min during fast Earthward flow. These waves are shown to be Kelvin-Helmholtz waves on the boundaries of the flow channel. Calculations show that the conversion of flow energy into magnetic energy through the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability can contribute to a significant part of flow breaking between Cluster and DoubleStar TC1.
Published: 12 April 2008
Using deep near-infrared spectroscopy, Kriek et al. found that 45% of massive galaxies at z~2.3 have evolved stellar populations and little or no ongoing star formation. Here we determine the sizes of these quiescent galaxies using deep, high-resolution images obtained with HST/NIC2 and laser guide star (LGS)-assisted Keck/adaptive optics (AO). Considering that their median stellar mass is 1.7 x 1011 MSun, the galaxies are remarkably small, with a median effective radius re = 0.9 kpc. Galaxies of similar mass in the nearby universe have sizes of H5 kpc and average stellar densities that are 2 orders of magnitude lower than the z~2.3 galaxies. These results extend earlier work at z~1.5 and confirm previous studies at z>2 that lacked spectroscopic redshifts and imaging of sufficient resolution to resolve the galaxies. Our findings demonstrate that fully assembled early-type galaxies make up at most 10% of the population of K-selected quiescent galaxies at z~2.3, effectively ruling out simple monolithic models for their formation. The galaxies must evolve significantly after z~2.3, through dry mergers or other processes, consistent with predictions from hierarchical models.
Published: 11 April 2008
Simultaneous observations of AKR emission using the four-spacecraft Cluster array were used to make the first direct measurements of the angular beaming patterns of individual bursts. By comparing the spacecraft locations and AKR burst locations, the angular beaming pattern was found to be narrowly confined to a plane containing the magnetic field vector at the source and tangent to a circle of constant latitude. Most rays paths are confined within 15° of this tangent plane, consistent with numerical simulations of AKR k-vector orientation at maximum growth rate. The emission is also strongly directed upward in the tangent plane, which we interpret as refraction of the rays as they leave the auroral cavity. The narrow beaming pattern implies that an observer located above the polar cap can detect AKR emission only from a small fraction of the auroral oval at a given location. This has important consequences for interpreting AKR visibility at a given location. It also helps re-interpret previously published Cluster VLBI studies of AKR source locations, which are now seen to be only a subset of all possible source locations. The observations are inconsistent with either filled or hollow cone beaming models.
Published: 10 April 2008
The contents of this Science Requirements Document (Sci-RD) are agreed by all the contributors to be the scientific requirements for the Cross-Scale mission against which the Reference Payload has been designed and the mission profile established. [This is an abbreviated version of the original document abstract.]
Published: 08 April 2008
The globular cluster omega Centauri is one of the largest and most massive members of the galactic system. However, its classification as a globular cluster has been challenged making it a candidate for being the stripped core of an accreted dwarf galaxy; this together with the fact that it has one of the largest velocity dispersions for star clusters in our galaxy makes it an interesting candidate for harboring an intermediate-mass black hole. We measure the surface brightness profile from integrated light on an HSTACS image of the center, and find a central power-law cusp of logarithmic slope -0.08.We also analyze Gemini GMOS-IFU kinematic data for a 5"x5" field centered on the nucleus of the cluster, as well as for a field 14" away.We detect a clear rise in the velocity dispersion from 18.6 km s-1 at 14" to 23 km s-1 in the center. A rise in the velocity dispersion could be due to a central black hole, a central concentration of stellar remnants, or a central orbital structure that is radially biased.We discuss each of these possibilities. An isotropic, spherical dynamical model implies a black hole mass of 4.0+0.75-1.0 x 104 MSun, and excludes the no black hole case at greater than 99% significance. We have also run flattened, orbit-based models and find similar results. While our preferred model is the existence of a central black hole, detailed numerical simulations are required to confidently rule out the other possibilities.
Published: 03 April 2008
We have selected a sample of broad absorption line (BAL) quasars which show significant radio variations, indicating the presence of polar BAL outflows. We obtained snapshot XMM observations of four polar BAL QSOs, to check whether strong X-ray absorption, one of the most prominent characteristics of most BAL QSOs, also exists in polar outflows. Two of the sources are detected in the X-ray. Spectral fittings show that they are X-ray normal with no intrinsic X-ray absorption, suggesting the X-ray shielding gas might be absent in polar BAL outflows. Comparing to non-BAL QSOs, one of two X-ray-nondetected sources remains consistent with X-ray normal, while the other one, which is an iron low-ionization BAL (FeLoBAL), shows an X-ray weakness factor of >19, suggesting strong intrinsic X-ray absorption. Alternative explanations for the nondetection of strong X-ray absorption in the two X-ray-detected sources are that (1) the absorption is more complex than a simple neutral absorber, such as partial covering absorption or ionized absorption; (2) there might be significant jet contribution to the detected X-ray emission. Current data are insufficient to test these possibilities, and further observations are required to understand the X-ray nature of polar BAL outflows.
Published: 02 March 2008
The camera onboard the Cassini spacecraft has allowed us to observe many of Saturn's cloud features. We present observations of Saturn's south polar vortex (SPV) showing that it shares some properties with terrestrial hurricanes: cyclonic circulation, warm central region (the eye) surrounded by a ring of high clouds (the eye wall), and convective clouds outside the eye. The polar location and the absence of an ocean are major differences. It also shares properties with the polar vortices on Venus, such as polar location, cyclonic circulation, warm center, and long lifetime, but the Venus vortices have cold collars and are not associated with convective clouds. The SPV's combination of properties is unique among vortices in the solar system
Published: 28 March 2008
The purpose of our study is to investigate the way particles are accelerated up to supra-thermal energies in the cusp diamagnetic cavities. For this reason we have examined a number of Cluster cusp crossings, originally identified by Zhang et al. (2005), for the years 2001 and 2002 using data from RAPID, STAFF, EFW, CIS, PEACE, and FGM experiments. In the present study we focus on two particular cusp crossings on 25 March 2002 and on 10 April 2002 which demonstrate in a clear way the general characteristics of the events in our survey. Both events exhibit very sharp spatial boundaries seen both in CNO (primarily single-charged oxygen of ionospheric origin based on CIS observations) and H+ flux increases within the RAPID energy range with the magnetic field intensity being anti-correlated. Unlike the first event, the second one shows also a moderate electron flux increase. The fact that the duskward electric field Ey has relatively low values <5 mV/m while the local wave activity is very intense provides a strong indication that particle energization is caused primarily by wave-particle interactions. The wave power spectra and propagation parameters during these cusp events are examined in detail. It is concluded that the high ion fluxes and at the same time the presence or absence of any sign of energization in the electrons clearly shows that the particle acceleration depends on the wave power near the local particle gyrofrequency and on the persistence of the wave-particle interaction process before particles escape from cusp region. Furthermore, the continuous existence of energetic O+ ions suggests that energetic O+ populations are of spatial nature at least for the eight events that we have studied so far.
Published: 26 March 2008
A detailed analysis of successive tailward flow bursts in the near-Earth magnetotail (X~-19 RE) plasma sheet is performed on the basis of in-situ multi-point observations by the Cluster spacecraft on 15 September 2001. The tailward flows were detected during a northward IMF interval, 2.5 h after a substorm expansion. Each flow burst (Vx<300 km/s) was associated with local auroral activation. Enhancements of the parallel and anti-parallel ~1 keV electron flux were detected during the flows. The spacecraft configuration enables to monitor the neutral sheet (Bx~0) and the level of Bx~10-15 nT simultaneously, giving a possibility to distinguish between closed plasmoid-like structures and open NFTE-like surges. The data analysis shows NFTE-like structures and localized current filaments embedded into the tailward plasma flow. 3-D shapes of the structures were reconstructed using the four-point magnetic filed measurements and the particle data.
Published: 26 March 2008
Cassini radar observations of Saturn's moon Titan over several years show that its rotational period is changing and is different from its orbital period. The present-day rotation period difference from synchronous spin leads to a shift of 0.36° per year in apparent longitude and is consistent with seasonal exchange of angular momentum between the surface and Titan's dense superrotating atmosphere, but only if Titan's crust is decoupled from the core by an internal water ocean like that on Europa.
Published: 21 March 2008
Molecules present in the atmospheres of extrasolar planets are expected to influence strongly the balance of atmospheric radiation, to trace dynamical and chemical processes, and to indicate the presence of disequilibrium effects. As molecules have the potential to reveal atmospheric conditions and chemistry, searching for them is a high priority. The rotational–vibrational transition bands of water, carbon monoxide and methane are anticipated to be the primary sources of non-continuum opacity in hot-Jupiter planets. As these bands can overlap in wavelength, and the corresponding signatures from them are weak, decisive identification requires precision infrared spectroscopy. Here we report a near-infrared transmission spectrum of the planet HD 189733b that shows the presence of methane. Additionally, a resolved water vapour band at 1.9 µm confirms the recent claim of water in this object. On thermochemical grounds, carbon monoxide is expected to be abundant in the upper atmosphere of hot-Jupiter planets, but is not identifiable here; therefore the detection of methane rather than carbon monoxide in such a hot planet could signal the presence of a horizontal chemical gradient away from the permanent dayside, or it may imply an ill-understood photochemical mechanism that leads to an enhancement of methane.
Published: 20 March 2008
We discuss the motion and structure of the magnetopause/boundary layer observed by Cluster in response to a joint tangential discontinuity/vortex sheet (TD/VS) observed by the Advanced Composition Explorer spacecraft on 7 December 2000. The observations are then supplemented by theory. Sharp polarity reversals in the east-west components of the field and flow By and Vy occurred at the discontinuity. These rotations were followed by a period of strongly northward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). These two factors elicited a two-stage response at the magnetopause, as observed by Cluster situated in the boundary layer at the duskside terminator. First, the magnetopause suffered a large deformation from its equilibrium position, with large-amplitude oscillations of ~3-min period being set up. These are argued to be mainly the result of tangential stresses associated with DeltaVy the contribution of dynamic pressure changes being small in comparison. This strengthens recent evidence of the importance to magnetospheric dynamics of changes in azimuthal solar wind flow. The TD/VS impact caused a global response seen by ground magnetometers in a magnetic local time range spanning at least 12 h. The response monitored on ground magnetometers is similar to that brought about by magnetopause motions driven by dynamic pressure changes. Second, Cluster recorded higher-frequency waves (~79 s). Two clear phases could be distinguished from the spectral power density, which decreased by a factor of ~3 in the second phase. Applying compressible linearized MHD theory, we show that these waves are generated by the Kelvin-Helmholtz (KH) instability. Varying the local magnetic shear at the Cluster locale, as suggested by the temporal profile of the IMF clock angle, we find that locally stability was reinstated, so that the reduced power in the second phase is argued to be due residual KH activity arriving from locations farther to the dayside.
Published: 19 March 2008
In "Advances in Cryogenic Engineering: Transactions of the Cryogenic Engineering Conference - CEC, Vol. 53", edited by J. G. Weisend et al., AIP Conf. Proc. Volume 985, pp. 807-814, 2008, doi:10.1063/1.2908674

The Cooler Subsystem for the Mid InfRared Instrument (MIRI) of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) features a 6 Kelvin Joule-Thomson (JT) cooler pre-cooled by a three-stage Pulse Tube (PT) cryocooler to provide 65 mW of cooling at the instrument. MIRI's 6 Kelvin cooling load, directly behind the primary mirror of JWST, is remote from the location of the compressors and pre-cooler. This distance, and the parasitic heat load on the refrigerant lines spanning it, is accommodated by the design. The effort during 2006 and the first part of 2007 has focused on the demonstration of a MIRI Cooler prototype in the relevant environment, required to achieve Technology Readiness Level 6 (TRL 6) as defined by NASA. The tests that have been used to successfully demonstrate TRL 6: launch vibration and cooler performance in the relevant thermal-vacuum environment, will be discussed.

Published: 16 March 2008
Presented at Lunar and Planetary Science XXXIX, 10-14 March 2008

The SMART-1 spacecraft started from 15 March 2005 with a lunar orbit 400-3000 km for a nominal science period of six months, with 1 year science extension. During these 18 months, the AMIE camera aboard the spacecraft acquired about 32.000 images. We report on the coverage at various resolutions and the pointing accuracy.

Published: 15 March 2008
Magnetic reconnection is one of the most fundamental processes in the magnetosphere. We present here a simple method to determine the essential parameters of reconnection such as reconnected flux and location of the reconnection site out of single spacecraft data via remote sensing. On the basis of a time-dependent reconnection model, the dependence of the reconnected flux on the magnetic field z-component Bz is shown. The integral of Bz over time is proportional to the reconnected flux and depends on the distance between the reconnection site and the actual position where Bz is measured. This distance can be estimated from analysis of magnetic field Bz data. We apply our method to Cluster measurements in the Earth's magnetotail.
Published: 15 March 2008
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