четверг, 20 декабря 2018 г.

Bright Fireball over San Francisco Bay

Over 120 reports from 3 states


The AMS has received over 120 reports so far about of a bright fireball seen above the San Francisco area on December 19th, 2018 around 5:35am PST (November 20th 01:35 Universal Time). The event was seen primarily from Northern California but was also seen from Nevada and Oregon.



If you witnessed this event and/or if you have a video or a photo of this event, please

Submit an Official Fireball Report


If you want to learn more about Fireballs: read our Fireball FAQ.



AMS Event #5618-2018 – Witness location and estimated ground trajectory

Trajectory


The preliminary 3D trajectory computed based on all the reports submitted to the AMS shows that the fireball was traveling from North-East to South-West and ended its flight somewhere in the Pacific Ocean in front of the San Francisco bay.


AMS Event #5618-2018 – Estimated 3D Trajectory

Fireball


The secret NROL-71 reconnaissance satellite was scheduled to lift off Wednesday evening atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. But Air Force officials claim controllers called the attempt off about 10 minutes before the planned launch, after noticing an issue with the rocket.


Two videos of the event clearly show it was a fireball:

T. Repp from Millbrae, CA shared the following video along with his fireball report (look at the top of tree on the left hand side of the video):



Youtube user Aririn, also share this dashcam video of the event:



Both videos cleary show that it was a fireball and not a rocket launch as some people initially thought.D


Source link


2018 December 20 Red Nebula, Green Comet, Blue Stars Image…


2018 December 20


Red Nebula, Green Comet, Blue Stars
Image Credit & Copyright: Tom Masterson (Grand Mesa Observatory)


Explanation: This festively colored skyscape was captured in the early morning hours of December 17, following Comet Wirtanen’s closest approach to planet Earth. The comet was just visible to the eye. The lovely green color of its fluorescing cometary atmosphere or coma is brought out here only by adding digital exposures registered on the comet’s position below the Pleiades star cluster. The exposures also bring out blue starlight reflected by the dust clouds surrounding the young Pleiades stars. Gaze (toward the left) across dusty dark nebulae along the edge of the Perseus molecular cloud and you’ll travel to emission nebula NGC 1499, also known as the California nebula. Too faint for the eye, the cosmic cloud’s pronounced reddish glow is from electrons recombining with ionized hydrogen atoms. Around December 23rd, Comet Wirtanen should be easy to find with binoculars when it sweeps close to bright star Capella in the northern winter constellation Auriga, the Charioteer.


∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap181220.html


ESA Astronaut Alexander Gerst Returns to Earth – For the Second Time


ESA – Horizons Mission patch.


20 December 2018


ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst returned to Earth today alongside NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev.



Horizons landing

Image above: ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst landed on Earth for the second time on 20 December 2018 together with NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergei Prokopiev. Image Credits: NASA/B. Ingalls.


Returning in the same Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft that flew them to the International Space Station on 6 June 2018, the trio landed in the Kazakh steppe on 20 December at 05:02 GMT (06:02 CET).



Soyuz MS-09 during spacewalk

Alexander’s return to Earth marks the successful conclusion of his Horizons mission – a mission in which he performed over 60 European experiments in space, became the second ever European commander of the International Space Station, welcomed six resupply vehicles, installed the first commercial facility for research in the Columbus laboratory, delivered an important message on climate change for leaders at the COP24 climate change conference and captured real-time footage of a Soyuz launch abort.



Overview of an overview

A number of scientific experiments also returned to Earth alongside the crew in the Soyuz. One of these, known as Dosis 3D, provides greater insight into the dose and distribution of radiation on board the Station. It is just one of many experiments that will deliver benefits for Earth as well as human and robotic exploration as Europe prepares for future missions to the Moon and beyond.



Alexander with Spheres experiment

Alexander has now spent a total of 363 full non-consecutive days living and working on board the International Space Station, and joined international partners on 20 November in celebrating 20 years of collaboration on the greatest international project of all time.



Horizons mission time-lapse – highlights

Media are invited to Alexander’s first public appearance after his Horizons mission at EAC on Saturday, 22 December. He will be joined for this one-hour event by ESA Director General Jan Wörner and Head of EAC Frank De Winne, who will be available to answer questions after providing short statements. Further info can be found here: http://www.esa.int/For_Media/Press_Releases/Call_for_Media_End_of_mission_and_return_of_ESA_astronaut_Alexander_Gerst


Related links:


German Aerospace Center DLR: http://www.dlr.de/dlr/de/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-10002/


International Space Station (ISS): http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/International_Space_Station


Where is the International Space Station?: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/International_Space_Station/Where_is_the_International_Space_Station


Horizons brochure: http://esamultimedia.esa.int/docs/HRE/Horizons_brochure_ENG.pdf


Images, Video, Text, Credits: ESA/NASA/B. Ingalls.


Greetings, Orbiter.chArchive link


NASA’s InSight Places First Instrument on Mars


NASA – InSight Mission patch.


December 20, 2018



Image above: NASA’s InSight lander placed its seismometer on Mars on Dec. 19, 2018. This was the first time a seismometer had ever been placed onto the surface of another planet. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.


NASA’s InSight lander has deployed its first instrument onto the surface of Mars, completing a major mission milestone. New images from the lander show the seismometer on the ground, its copper-colored covering faintly illuminated in the Martian dusk. It looks as if all is calm and all is bright for InSight, heading into the end of the year.


“InSight’s timetable of activities on Mars has gone better than we hoped,” said InSight Project Manager Tom Hoffman, who is based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “Getting the seismometer safely on the ground is an awesome Christmas present.”


The InSight team has been working carefully toward deploying its two dedicated science instruments onto Martian soil since landing on Mars on Nov. 26. Meanwhile, the Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment (RISE), which does not have its own separate instrument, has already begun using InSight’s radio connection with Earth to collect preliminary data on the planet’s core. Not enough time has elapsed for scientists to deduce what they want to know – scientists estimate they might have some results starting in about a year.


To deploy the seismometer (also known as the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS) and the heat probe (also known as the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Probe, or HP3), engineers first had to verify the robotic arm that picks up and places InSight’s instruments onto the Martian surface was working properly. Engineers tested the commands for the lander, making sure a model in the test bed at JPL deployed the instruments exactly as intended. Scientists also had to analyze images of the Martian terrain around the lander to figure out the best places to deploy the instruments.



InSight instruments deployment. Animation Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

On Tuesday, Dec. 18, InSight engineers sent up the commands to the spacecraft. On Wednesday, Dec. 19, the seismometer was gently placed onto the ground directly in front of the lander, about as far away as the arm can reach – 5.367 feet, or 1.636 meters, away).


“Seismometer deployment is as important as landing InSight on Mars,” said InSight Principal Investigator Bruce Banerdt, also based at JPL. “The seismometer is the highest-priority instrument on InSight: We need it in order to complete about three-quarters of our science objectives.”


The seismometer allows scientists to peer into the Martian interior by studying ground motion – also known as marsquakes. Each marsquake acts as a kind of flashbulb that illuminates the structure of the planet’s interior. By analyzing how seismic waves pass through the layers of the planet, scientists can deduce the depth and composition of these layers.


“Having the seismometer on the ground is like holding a phone up to your ear,” said Philippe Lognonné, principal investigator of SEIS from Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP) and Paris Diderot University. “We’re thrilled that we’re now in the best position to listen to all the seismic waves from below Mars’ surface and from its deep interior.”


In the coming days, the InSight team will work on leveling the seismometer, which is sitting on ground that is tilted 2 to 3 degrees. The first seismometer science data should begin to flow back to Earth after the seismometer is in the right position.


But engineers and scientists at JPL, the French national space agency Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) and other institutions affiliated with the SEIS team will need several additional weeks to make sure the returned data are as clear as possible. For one thing, they will check and possibly adjust the seismometer’s long, wire-lined tether to minimize noise that could travel along it to the seismometer. Then, in early January, engineers expect to command the robotic arm to place the Wind and Thermal Shield over the seismometer to stabilize the environment around the sensors.


Assuming that there are no unexpected issues, the InSight team plans to deploy the heat probe onto the Martian surface by late January. HP3 will be on the east side of the lander’s work space, roughly the same distance away from the lander as the seismometer.



Animation Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

For now, though, the team is focusing on getting those first bits of seismic data (however noisy) back from the Martian surface.


“We look forward to popping some Champagne when we start to get data from InSight’s seismometer on the ground,” Banerdt added. “I have a bottle ready for the occasion.”


JPL manages InSight for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery Program, which is managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built the InSight spacecraft, including its cruise stage and lander, and supports spacecraft operations for the mission.


A number of European partners, including CNES and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), support the InSight mission. CNES provided SEIS to NASA, with the principal investigator at IPGP. Significant contributions for SEIS came from IPGP, the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, the Swiss Institute of Technology in Switzerland, Imperial College and Oxford University in the United Kingdom, and JPL. DLR provided the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) instrument, with significant contributions from the Space Research Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Astronika in Poland. Spain’s Centro de Astrobiología supplied the wind sensors.


Related links:


Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment (RISE): https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/spacecraft/instruments/rise/


Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS): https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/spacecraft/instruments/seis/


Heat Flow and Physical Properties Probe (HP3): https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/mission/instruments/hp3/


For more information about InSight, visit: https://mars.nasa.gov/insight


Image (mentioned), Animations (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/JPL/Jia-Rui Cook/Andrew Good.


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Mars Express gets festive: A winter wonderland on Mars


ESA – Mars Express Mission patch.


20 December 2018


This image shows what appears to be a large patch of fresh, untrodden snow – a dream for any lover of the holiday season. However, it’s a little too distant for a last-minute winter getaway: this feature, known as Korolev crater, is found on Mars, and is shown here in beautiful detail as seen by Mars Express.



Perspective view of Korolev crater

ESA’s Mars Express mission launched on 2 June 2003, and reached Mars six months later. The satellite fired its main engine and entered orbit around the Red Planet on 25 December, making this month the 15-year anniversary of the spacecraft’s orbit insertion and the beginning of its science programme.


These images are an excellent celebration of such a milestone. Taken by the Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC), this view of Korolev crater comprises five different ‘strips’ that have been combined to form a single image, with each strip gathered over a different orbit. The crater is also shown in perspective, context, and topographic views, all of which offer a more complete view of the terrain in and around the crater.



Mars Express in orbit around Mars

Korolev crater is 82 kilometres across and found in the northern lowlands of Mars, just south of a large patch of dune-filled terrain that encircles part of the planet’s northern polar cap (known as Olympia Undae). It is an especially well-preserved example of a martian crater and is filled not by snow but ice, with its centre hosting a mound of water ice some 1.8 kilometres thick all year round.



Korolev crater in context

This ever-icy presence is due to an interesting phenomenon known as a ‘cold trap’, which occurs as the name suggests. The crater’s floor is deep, lying some two kilometres vertically beneath its rim.


The very deepest parts of Korolev crater, those containing ice, act as a natural cold trap: the air moving over the deposit of ice cools down and sinks, creating a layer of cold air that sits directly above the ice itself.


Behaving as a shield, this layer helps the ice remain stable and stops it from heating up and disappearing. Air is a poor conductor of heat, exacerbating this effect and keeping Korolev crater permanently icy.



Plan view of Korolev crater

The crater is named after chief rocket engineer and spacecraft designer Sergei Korolev, dubbed the father of Soviet space technology.


Korolev worked on a number of well-known missions including the Sputnik program – the first artificial satellites ever sent into orbit around the Earth, in 1957 and the years following, the Vostok and Vokshod programs of human space exploration (Vostok being the spacecraft that carried the first ever human, Yuri Gagarin, into space in 1961) as well as the first interplanetary missions to the Moon, Mars, and Venus. He also worked on a number of rockets that were the precursors to the successful Soyuz launcher – still the workhorses of the Russian space programme, and used for both crewed and robotic flights.


The region of Mars has also been of interest to other missions, including ESA’s ExoMars programme, which aims to establish if life ever existed on Mars.



Topography of Korolev crater

The Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) instrument aboard the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, which began operating at Mars on 28 April 2018, also snapped a beautiful view of part of Korolev crater – this was one of the very first images the spacecraft sent back to Earth after arriving at our neighbouring planet.


CaSSIS imaged a 40-kilometre-long chunk of the crater’s northern rim, neatly showcasing its intriguing shape and structure, and its bright icy deposits.


Related links:


ESA’s ExoMars programme: http://exploration.esa.int/mars/


Mars Express: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Mars_Express


Mars Webcam: http://blogs.esa.int/vmc


Mars Express overview: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Mars_Express_overview


Images, Text, Credits: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO/NASA MGS MOLA Science Team.


Best regards, Orbiter.chArchive link


The Paria Mountains | #Geology #GeologyPage #UnitedStates Paria…


The Paria Mountains | #Geology #GeologyPage #UnitedStates


Paria or Pahreah, is a ghost town on the Paria River in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in central Kane County, Utah, United States. It was inhabited from 1870 to 1929, and later used as a filming location.


Read more & More Photos: http://www.geologypage.com/2016/04/the-paria-mountains.html


Geology Page

www.geologypage.com

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrmYydklSvD/?utm_source=ig_tumblr_share&igshid=1xz6pejm1qg1t


Wulfenite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral Location: Ojuela…


Wulfenite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral


Location: Ojuela Mine, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico


Size: 9.0 x 5.0 x 2.0 cm (small-cabinet)


Photo Copyright © Weinrich Minerals


Geology Page

www.geologypage.com

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrmYyiAl22C/?utm_source=ig_tumblr_share&igshid=1lv3hqcbgmhmk


Fluorite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral Location: Ojuela…


Fluorite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral


Location: Ojuela Mine, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico


Size: 4.0 x 4.0 x 3.0 cm (miniature)


Photo Copyright © Weinrich Minerals


Geology Page

www.geologypage.com

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrmZG-KF-W2/?utm_source=ig_tumblr_share&igshid=7dj0u82vf8ai


Beryl var. Aquamarine | #Geology #GeologyPage…


Beryl var. Aquamarine | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral


Location: Shigar Valley, Skardu, Baltistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan


Size: 11.0 x 7.5 x 5.0 cm (cabinet)


Photo Copyright © Weinrich Minerals


Geology Page

www.geologypage.com

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrmZNFulxBO/?utm_source=ig_tumblr_share&igshid=1h5w6kc7yqxwe


Calcite with Pyrite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral Locality:…


Calcite with Pyrite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral


Locality: Baisha Copper Mine, Huangshi Hubei Prov., China


Size: 7.7 x 7.3 x 4.1 cm


Photo Copyright © Anton Watzl Minerals


Geology Page

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https://www.instagram.com/p/Brmabgbl0a9/?utm_source=ig_tumblr_share&igshid=9iggcyrtrr0n


Expedition 57 Crew Departs Station, Begins Ride Back to Earth


ROSCOSMOS – Soyuz MS-09 Mission patch.


December 19, 2018


NASA Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor, Expedition 57 Commander Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) and Soyuz commander Sergey Prokopyev of the Russian space agency Roscosmos undocked from the International Space Station at 8:40 p.m. EST to begin their trip home.



Image above: The Soyuz MS-09 crew spacecraft from Roscosmos undocking to the Rassvet module. Image Credits: NASA TV/ISS HD Live/Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.


Deorbit burn is scheduled for approximately 11:10 p.m., with landing in Kazakhstan targeted for 12:03 a.m. Thursday (11:03 p.m. local time). NASA will resume coverage on TV and online at 10:45 p.m. for deorbit burn and landing.



Soyuz MS-09 undocking and departure

At the time of undocking, Expedition 58 began aboard the space station under the command of Roscosmos’ Oleg Kononenko. Along with his crewmates Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency, the three-person crew will operate the station for a little more than two months.


Nick Hague and Christina Koch of NASA and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos will launch aboard Soyuz MS-12 Feb. 28, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, to join their fellow crewmates following a six-hour journey. Expedition 59 will begin when the new trio docks to the space station.


Departing Trio Boards Soyuz Crew Ship, Prepares to Undock
 



Soyuz MS-09 hatch closure

At 5:30 p.m. EST, the hatch closed between the Soyuz spacecraft and the International Space Station in preparation for undocking. NASA Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor, Expedition 57 Commander Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) and Soyuz commander Sergey Prokopyev of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are scheduled to undock their Soyuz at 8:40 p.m.



Image above: Expedition 57 crew members Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA, Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos aboard of Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft. Image Credits: NASA TV/ISS HD Live/Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.


NASA Television will air live coverage of the undocking beginning at 7:45 p.m.



Image above: Sunrise over North Pacific Ocean, seen by EarthCam on ISS, speed: 27’608 Km/h, altitude: 417,96 Km, image captured by Roland Berga (on Earth in Switzerland) from International Space Station (ISS) using ISS-HD Live application with EarthCam’s from ISS on December 19, 2018 at 22:27 UTC. Image Credits: Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.


Their landing in Kazakhstan is targeted for approximately 12:03 a.m. Thursday (11:03 a.m. Kazakhstan time) and will conclude a more than six month mission conducting science and maintenance aboard the space station, in which they circled the globe 3,152 times, covering 83.3 million miles.


Related links:


Expedition 57: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition57/index.html


Expedition 58: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition58/index.html


NASA TV live coverage: http://nasa.gov/live


International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html


Images (mentioned), Videos, Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia/NASA TV/SciNews/Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.


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The Saturn Nebula reveals its complexity

A planetary nebula is the corpse that remains when a star dies. When planetary nebulae were observed for the first time with a telescope, they presented a roughly circular shape, resembling that of the gas giant planets. Hence their name, which remains in use even though they are very different from planets.











The Saturn Nebula reveals its complexity
The study shows unexpected complexity in the distribution of gas and dust in one of the brightest
planetary nebulae in the sky [Credit: Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias]

The article published recently by Astronomy & Astrophysics is the first detailed study of a galactic planetary nebula with the MUSE integral field spectrograph on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). This work has revealed unexpected complexity in the gas and dust expelled by a giant red star at the end of its life.


The distribution of temperatures and densities within the nebula challenges current techniques to unravel the history of the formation processes and demonstrates the potential of the MUSE instrument to revise research concerning planetary nebulae.


The appearance of the nebula NGC 7009, known as the Saturn Nebula because of its resemblance to the ringed planet, hints at its complexity. This nebula shows a series of structures associated with different atoms and ions.


“The study revealed that these structures represent real differences in properties within the nebula, such as higher and lower density, as well as higher and lower temperatures,” explains Jeremy Walsh, researcher at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and first author of the study.


Walsh reports one of the implications is that “historical—and simpler—studies based on the morphological appearance of planetary nebulae seem to signal important links to the underlying conditions within the gas.”


With a single shot, MUSE can obtain 900,000 spectra of tiny patches of the sky, which can provide enough data for years of analysis. By disentangling the information buried in this huge amount of spectra, the team responsible for the investigation has obtained maps of up to four temperatures and three densities, all of them different, showing that the gas inside this nebula is not uniform.


“The presence of dust within a nebula could also be deduced from the change in color between different emission lines of hydrogen, whose expected color can be determined by atomic theory,” says Ana Monreal Ibero, second author of the article and researcher at the IAC.


She adds: “Our team found that the distribution of dust in the nebula is not uniform, but shows a drop at the rim of the inner gas shell. This result suggests sharp changes in the ejection of dust during the last death rattles of the solar-type star or, alternatively, of local dust formation and destruction. On the other hand, helium is an element which is expected to be uniformly ejected from the old star. This expectation was tested by the authors who mapped the amount of this element in NGC 7009. Interestingly, they found apparent variations following the shell morphology of the nebula. This implies that current methods of determining helium need improvement, or that the assumption that the abundance is uniform should be rejected.”


These conclusions show the important role for MUSE in the study of planetary nebulae and opens the door for similar work on more nebulae. Such studies should allow for more general conclusions leading to improvements in understanding of nebulae throughout the universe.


Source: Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias [December 18, 2018]




TANN



Archive


Space telescope detects water in a number of asteroids

Using the infrared satellite AKARI, a Japanese research team has detected the existence of water in the form of hydrated minerals in a number of asteroids for the first time. This discovery will contribute to our understanding of the distribution of water in our solar system, the evolution of asteroids, and the origin of water on Earth.











Space telescope detects water in a number of asteroids
By using a space-borne telescope, the team was able to successfully detect the presence
of water in many asteroids [Credit: Kobe University]

The findings were made by the team led by the Project Assistant Professor Fumihiko Usui (Graduate School of Science, Kobe University), the Associate Senior Researcher Sunao Hasegawa, the Aerospace Project Research Associate Takafumi Ootsubo (Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and Professor Emeritus Takashi Onaka (Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo). The results were published in Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan.
Our Earth is an aqua-planet, and is the only planet in our solar system where the presence of water on the planet surface has been confirmed. We are, however, not yet sure how our Earth acquired water. Recent studies have shown that other celestial bodies in our solar system have, or used to have, water in some form. Asteroids are considered to be one of the candidates that brought water to Earth. Note that the liquid water is not flowing on the surface of asteroids, but water is retained in asteroids as hydrated minerals, which were produced by chemical reactions of water and anhydrous rocks that occurred inside the asteroids, that is, aqueous alteration. Hydrated minerals are stable even above the sublimation temperature of water ice. Thus, by looking for hydrated minerals, we can investigate whether asteroids have water.


Infrared wavelengths contain characteristic spectral features of various substances, such as molecules, ice, and minerals, which cannot be observed at visible wavelengths. Therefore, it is indispensable to observe at infrared wavelengths for the study of solar system objects. Hydrated minerals exhibit diagnostic absorption features at around 2.7 micrometers. The absorption of water vapor and carbon dioxide in the terrestrial atmosphere prevents us from observing this wavelength with ground-based telescopes. It is absolutely necessary to make observations from outside of the atmosphere, that is, in space. However, observations with space-borne telescopes have been scarce; the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO), launched in 1995, did not have a sufficient sensitivity to make spectroscopy of faint asteroids and the Spitzer Space Telescope, launched in 2003, did not have a coverage of this wavelength range. For this reason, it has not fully been understood how much water is contained in asteroids.











Space telescope detects water in a number of asteroids
This shows 6 examples for both C-type and S-type asteroids. You can clearly see the absorption at wavelengths of around
2.7 micrometers (indicated by the green arrows) attributed to hydrated minerals. You can also see signatures
of water ice or ammonia-rich material at around 3.1 micrometers (indicated by the blue arrows). The
data shown in this figure are the reflected spectra of the sunlight by the surface of asteroids
[Credit: Kobe University]

The Japanese infrared satellite AKARI, launched in February 2006, was equipped with the Infrared Camera (IRC) that allowed us to obtain spectra at near-infrared wavelengths from 2 to 5 micrometers. Using this unique function, the spectroscopic observations of 66 asteroids  were carried out and their near-infrared spectra were obtained. This provides the first opportunity to study the features of hydrated minerals in asteroids at around the wavelength of 2.7 micrometers.
The observations detected absorption, which were attributed to hydrated minerals for 17 C-type asteroids. C-type asteroids, which appear dark at visible wavelengths, were believed to be rich in water and organic material, but the present observations with AKARI are the first to directly confirm the presence of hydrated minerals in these asteroids. The absorption strength detected at around 2.7 micrometers varies for each asteroid, and some show absorption features of other substances, such as water ice and ammonia-rich material at around 3.1 micrometers.


When examining C-type asteroids in more detail, the research team discovered a clear relationship between the wavelength of the deepest absorption and the depth of the absorption for the 2.7 micrometers feature. This shows a trend seen in the process where hydrated minerals are being heated up and gradually losing water. The heating energy could be supplied by the solar wind plasma, micrometeorite impacts, or the decay heat from radioactive isotopes in the rocks. This trend had been predicted by meteorite measurements, but this is the first time that it has been confirmed in asteroids. Many C-type asteroids display this trend, suggesting that C-type asteroids were formed by the agglomeration of rocks and water ice, then aqueous alteration occurred in the interior of asteroids to form hydrated minerals, and finally C-type asteroids were heated and dehydrated.











Space telescope detects water in a number of asteroids
The relationship between the depth of absorption and the peak wavelength of the deepest absorption for the feature at
around 2.7 micrometers in C-type asteroids (shown by the green arrows in figure 2). The different marks show differences
of subgroups in the types of C-type asteroids (based on the Bus-DeMeo taxonomic classification). The trend of 13
asteroids from top right to bottom left indicated by the arrow can be understood in terms of the dehydration process.
Four asteroids with the thin red symbols deviate from the general trend. A further follow-up investigation
is required for understanding the nature of these outliers [Credit: Kobe University]

On the other hand, rocky S-type asteroids were considered to not contain water, unlike C-type asteroids. In the present study, hydrated minerals were not detected in most S-types, but it was newly discovered that there are exceptional cases of a few asteroids that show slight signs of hydrated minerals. The signs of water found in such S-type asteroids were probably not generated by aqueous alteration as in C-types, but were produced by collisions of other hydrated asteroids, that is, it is the exogenous origin that brought about the hydrated minerals. Asteroid collisions with each other occasionally occur. At the early stage of the solar system formation, a number of small bodies including asteroids were larger than the present, and collisional events must have been more frequent. From the fact that Earth would have experienced collisions with many asteroids, it is imagined that at least some amount of water on Earth was brought from asteroids by such collisions.
This study has confirmed the presence of water in asteroids. Spectra of the observed asteroids show common patterns. The size and the distance from the sun of the asteroid can be considered as important factors making differences of the spectra. To fully understand the observed patterns, it is necessary to accumulate observations of more asteroids as well as to compare with the measurement of meteorites collected on Earth. Dr. Usui comments: “By solving this puzzle, we can make a significant step towards identifying the source of Earth’s water and unveiling the secret of how life began on Earth.”


AKARI completed its operation in November 2011. For the next opportunity to perform spectroscopy in 2.7 micrometer wavelength with space-borne telescope, we will have to wait until the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope by NASA, scheduled in 2021.


Currently, the Japanese asteroid explorer Hayabusa2 and the American OSIRIS-REx are surveying asteroids (162173) Ryugu and (101955) Bennu, respectively. Each explorer has a capability to make measurements in the 2.7 micrometer range to look for the signature of water. “In-situ” observations of asteroids with spacecrafts can provide detailed information about craters and topography, aspects that ground-based and Earth-orbiting telescopes cannot reveal. The present results significantly help increase the scientific values of the data obtained by the explorers and understand the properties of asteroids Ryugu and Bennu in details.


Source: Kobe University [December 18, 2018]




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Fossil from the Big Bang discovered with W. M. Keck Observatory

A relic cloud of gas, orphaned after the Big Bang, has been discovered in the distant universe by astronomers using the world’s most powerful optical telescope, the W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea, Hawaii.











Fossil from the Big Bang discovered with W. M. Keck Observatory
Within the gas in the (blue) filaments connecting the (orange) galaxies lurk rare pockets of pristine gas — vestiges
of the Big Bang that have somehow been orphaned from the explosive, polluting deaths of stars, seen here
as circular shock waves around some orange points [Credit: TNG COLLABORATION]

The discovery of such a rare fossil, led by PhD student Fred Robert and Professor Michael Murphy at Swinburne University of Technology, offers new information about how the first galaxies in the universe formed.


“Everywhere we look, the gas in the universe is polluted by waste heavy elements from exploding stars,” says Robert. “But this particular cloud seems pristine, unpolluted by stars even 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang.”


“If it has any heavy elements at all, it must be less than 1/10,000th of the proportion we see in our Sun. This is extremely low; the most compelling explanation is that it’s a true relic of the Big Bang.”


The results will be published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. A preprint of the paper, “Exploring the origins of a new, apparently metal-free gas cloud at z = 4.4,” is available online at http://arxiv.org/abs/1812.05098.


Robert and his team used two of Keck Observatory’s instruments – the Echellette Spectrograph and Imager (ESI) and the High-Resolution Echelle Spectrometer (HIRES) – to observe the spectrum of a quasar behind the gas cloud.


The quasar, which emits a bright glow of material falling into a supermassive black hole, provides a light source against which the spectral shadows of the hydrogen in the gas cloud can be seen.


“We targeted quasars where previous researchers had only seen shadows from hydrogen and not from heavy elements in lower-quality spectra,” says Robert. “This allowed us to discover such a rare fossil quickly with the precious time on Keck Observatory’s twin telescopes.”


The only two other fossil clouds known were discovered in 2011 by Professor Michele Fumagalli of Durham University, John O’Meara, formerly a professor at St. Michael’s College and now the new Chief Scientist at Keck Observatory, and Professor J. Xavier Prochaska of the University of California, Santa Cruz; both Fumagalli and O’Meara are co-authors of this new research on the third fossil cloud.


“The first two were serendipitous discoveries, and we thought they were the tip of the iceberg. But no one has discovered anything similar – they are clearly very rare and difficult to see. It’s fantastic to finally discover one systematically,” says O’Meara.


“It’s now possible to survey for these fossil relics of the Big Bang,” says Murphy. “That will tell us exactly how rare they are and help us understand how some gas formed stars and galaxies in the early universe, and why some didn’t.”


Source: W. M. Keck Observatory [December 18, 2018]



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Climate change drives tundras out of sync

Warming temperatures in cold places are causing plants to flower earlier, according to a new study. Shorter flowering seasons can disrupt the food chain and how plants and pollinators in tundras interact with each other, said Florida International University biologist Steven Oberbauer, who co-authored the study.











Climate change drives tundras out of sync
FIU biologist Steven Oberbauer (standing) conducts research in Toolik Field Station
in Fairbanks, Alaska [Credit: Florida International University]

Plants and animals in cold regions take cues from weather and day length to start their annual life cycles. Successful pollination relies on animals, including bees, beetles, birds and mosquitoes, being active at the same time plants are flowering. Shorter flowering time in tundras could cause a mismatch if the animals are not following the same cues as plants. Specifically, it could limit food availability, increase competition and impact their ability to survive in a changing environment.


The research team also found earlier flowering time in tundras is more pronounced in plants that flower later in the growing season than plants that flower earlier in the growing season. This is the opposite of what happens in temperate environments, including grasslands, mountains, meadows and deserts—rising temperatures there cause shorter flowering time in plants that flower in early spring.


“Our results suggest responses to warming can vary greatly among environments,” said Oberbauer, chairperson of FIU’s Department of Biological Sciences. “Understanding what drives changes in flowering time can help scientists predict how plants and ecosystems will respond to climate change in the future.”


Tundra environments are found in the Arctic, the Antarctic and high elevation mountains. In these regions, temperatures are too low and and growing seasons are too short to support tree growth. Tundras are home mostly to dwarf shrubs, grasses, mosses and lichens.


The research team included nearly 40 scientists from more than 30 universities. In addition to Oberbauer, FIU biologist Tiffany Troxler also contributed to the study. Troxler is the director of science in FIU’s Sea Level Solutions Center. The team examined more than 10 years of data on the flowering times of more than 250 species from the tundra environments of North America, Europe and Australia.


The study was published in Nature Ecology & Evolution.


Author: Evelyn S. Gonzalez | Source: Florida International University [December 18, 2018]



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The importance of ‘edge populations’ to biodiversity

More than two-thirds of Canada’s biodiversity is made up of species that occur within the country’s borders only at the very northern edge of their range. Biologists have long debated how much effort should be dedicated to conserving these “edge populations.” One argument in their favour is that they may be especially well suited to lead northward range shifts for their species as the climate warms.











The importance of 'edge populations' to biodiversity
Artificial warming enables yellow rattle to flower high above its current distribution
[Credit: Anna Hargreaves/McGill University]

Evolutionary ecologists Anna Hargreaves of McGill University and Chris Eckert of Queens University set out to find answers using a small flowering plant, Rhinanthus minor (also known as yellow rattle). ‘Admittedly it’s not the most charismatic plant’ say Hargreaves, ‘but it’s fantastic experimentally; we can plant seeds anywhere in the fall and by next fall they’ve completed their whole lifecycle. That lets us test whether plants are adapted to the elevation they come from, and whether they could survive above where the species currently grows. Hard to do that with animals!’
In a three-year experiment spanning 1,200 metres of elevation in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, the researchers transplanted more than 20 000 seeds among elevations to see whether plants found the highest up the mountains were best suited to colonize even higher elevations. To test whether cool summers prevent the species from growing higher up the slopes, they warmed the air around some experimental plants by enclosing them in plastic cones that act like mini-greenhouses.


Their findings, recently published in Ecology Letters, show that cool summers currently limit yellow rattle’s distribution, preventing it from growing at higher elevations. Plants from the species’ highest range edge have adapted to high-elevation summers by flowering earlier, so can make seeds where plants from lower elevations fail.











The importance of 'edge populations' to biodiversity
Warming chambers prove cool climates prevent yellow rattle from growing in alpine sites
[Credit: Anna Hargreaves/McGill University]

The experiments also yielded a surprising result: A high-elevation ‘super edge population’ from a nearby mountain outperformed all other populations in natural and warmed plots both at and above the species high-elevation range edge. So if this population has such great genes, why haven’t those super genes spread to other high-elevation populations that are only a kilometer away? Researchers think this is an example of winning genotypes getting trapped in isolated edge populations. If so, facilitating gene flow among edge populations might be a way to help them cope with environmental change.


Like most intensive experiments, this one focused on a single species. “Our results are important not because they predict what other species will do, but because they are the first to show unexpected patterns that we as biologists need to start considering,” Hargreaves says.


Three years of mountain fieldwork also produced some memorable moments. The field crew once scrambled up a chair-lift pole to evade a grizzly bear that ambled into the site to munch on berries. On another occasion, the researchers had to shovel snow to plant their last high-elevation sites for the season; then tobogganed downhill to get back to their car just before dark.


Yet at a time when fancy lab equipment and computer models increasingly dominate even ecological research, the project is also a reminder there’s sometimes no substitute for boots-on-the ground fieldwork.


“This study shows that important advances can still come—and sometimes can only come—from well-designed field experiments that require no expensive equipment, but creativity, vision and thousands of people hours,” Hargreaves says. “If we want to understand how the natural world works, we need to keep spending time in it.”


Source: McGill University [December 18, 2018]



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‘Pause’ in global warming was never real, new research proves

Claims of a ‘pause’ in observed global temperature warming are comprehensively disproved in a pair of new studies published today.











'Pause' in global warming was never real, new research proves
Credit: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

An international team of climate researchers reviewed existing data and studies and reanalysed them. They concluded there has never been a statistically significant ‘pause’ in global warming. This conclusion holds whether considering the `pause’ as a change in the rate of warming in observations or as a mismatch in rate between observations and expectations from climate models. Their papers are published today in Environmental Research Letters.


Dr. James Risbey, from CSIRO Australia, is the lead author of one of the studies, which reassessed the data and put it into historical context.


He said: “Many studies over the past decade have claimed to find a pause or slowdown in global warming and have typically posited this as evidence that is inconsistent with our understanding of global warming.”


The study examined the literature on an alleged ‘pause’. It looked at how the ‘pause’ had been defined, the time intervals used to characterise it, and the methods used to assess it. The study then tested historical and current versions of the earth’s global mean surface temperature (GMST) datasets for pauses, both in terms of no warming trend and a substantially slower trend in GMST.


Dr. Risbey said: “Our findings show there is little or no statistical evidence for a ‘pause’ in GMST rise. Neither the current data nor the historical data support it. Moreover, updates to the GMST data through the period of ‘pause’ research have made this conclusion stronger. But, there was never enough evidence to reasonably draw any other conclusion.


“Global warming did not pause, but we need to understand how and why scientists came to believe it had, to avoid future episodes like this. The climate-research community’s acceptance of a ‘pause’ in global warming caused confusion for the public and policy system about the pace and urgency of climate change.


“That confusion in turn might have contributed to reduced impetus for action to prevent greenhouse climate change. The full costs of that are unknowable, but the risks are substantial. There are lessons here for the science, and for the future.”


The group’s companion study looks at the alleged mismatch between the rate of global warming in observations and climate models.


The team carried out a systematic comparison between temperatures and projections, using historical GMST products and historical versions of model projections from the times when claims of a divergence between observations and modelling were made.


The comparisons were made with a variety of statistical techniques to correct for problems in previous work.


Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, from the University of Bristol, is this paper’s lead author. He said: “We found the impression of a divergence—i.e. a divergence between the rate of actual global warming and the model projections—was caused by various biases in the model interpretation and in the observations. It was unsupported by robust statistics.”


Despite this, the authors point out that by the end of 2017, the ‘pause’ was the subject of more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles. Many of these articles do not give any reason for their choice of start year for the ‘pause’, and the range spans 1995 to 2004.


Professor Lewandowsky said: “This broad range may indicate a lack of formal or scientific procedures to establish the onset of the ‘pause’. Moreover, each instance of the presumed onset was not randomly chosen but chosen specifically because of the low subsequent warming. We describe this as selection bias.


“This bias causes a problem. If a period is chosen because of its unusually low trend, this has implications for the interpretation of conventional significance levels (“p-values”) of the trend. Selection of observations based on the same data that is then statistically tested inflates the actual p-value, giving rise to a larger proportion of statistical false positives than the researcher might expect. Very few articles on the ‘pause’ account for or even mention this effect, yet it has profound implications for the interpretation of the statistical results.


“This is important, because some of the biases that affect the datasets and projections were known, or knowable, at the time.”


When the researchers reanalysed the data, accounting for the selection bias problem, they found no evidence for a divergence between models and observations existed at any time in the last decade.


They also offer some possible explanations why some scientists believed climate warming lagged behind modelled warming.


Co-author Professor Kevin Cowtan, from the University of York, UK, said: “One cause may be a that surface temperature data providers struggle to communicate the limitations of the data to climate scientists. This is difficult because users need to focus their expertise in their own problem areas rather than on the temperature data.


“Additionally, there can be delays of several years in updating surface temperature datasets. It takes time to find a bias, find a solution, and then for a paper to be published before most providers update their datasets. This process is good for transparency, but it may leave users in the position where they download data with knowable biases and unwittingly draw incorrect conclusions from those data.


Co-author Professor Naomi Oreskes, from Harvard University, USA, added “A final point to consider is why scientists put such emphasis on the ‘pause’ when the evidence for it was so scant. An explanation lies in the constant public and political pressure from climate contrarians. This may have caused scientists to feel the need to explain what was occurring, which led them inadvertently to accept and reinforce the contrarian framework.”


University of Bristol climate scientist Dr. Dann Mitchell, who was not involved with either study, said: “As climate scientists we often look back at previous bodies of evidence and wonder why certain topics were so prominent in discussion; the so-called climate hiatus being an excellent example of this. Given the fast pace of increasing climate change understanding, the conclusions of this paper will be very relevant for the inevitable future ‘apparent’ climate contradictions that emerge over time.”


Source: Institute of Physics [December 18, 2018]



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Young Star Caught in a Fit of Growth



This illustration shows a young star undergoing a growth spurt. Top panel: Material from the dusty and gas-rich disk (orange) plus hot gas (blue) mildly flows onto the star, creating a hot spot. Middle panel: The outburst begins—the inner disk is heated, more material flows to the star, and the disk creeps inward. Lower panel: The outburst is in full throttle, with the inner disk merging into the star and gas flowing outward (green).  Credit: Caltech/T. Pyle (IPAC) –   [Full-size image]





An illustration of a young star undergoing an outburst, in which material from a surrounding disk has drained onto the star itself, bulking up its mass. Gas is seen flowing outward in green. Credit: Caltech/T. Pyle (IPAC) – [Full-size Image]





The location of Gaia 17bpi, which lies in the Sagitta constellation, is indicated in the center of this image taken by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/M. Kuhn (Caltech) – [Full-size image]





New visible and infrared observations of young star reveal clues about how it bulks up




Researchers have discovered a young star in the midst of a rare growth spurt—a dramatic phase of stellar evolution when matter swirling around a star falls onto the star, bulking up its mass. The star belongs to a class of fitful stars known as FU Ori’s, named after the original member of the group, FU Orionis (the capital letters represent a naming scheme for variable stars, and Orionis refers to its location in the Orion constellation). Typically, these stars, which are less than a few million years old, are hidden behind thick clouds of dust and hard to observe. This new object is only the 25th member of this class found to date and one of only about a dozen caught in the act of an outburst.


“These FU Ori events are extremely important in our current understanding of the process of star formation but have remained almost mythical because they have been so difficult to observe,” says Lynne Hillenbrand, professor of astronomy at Caltech and lead author of a new report on the findings appearing in The Astrophysical Journal. “This is actually the first time we’ve ever seen one of these events as it happens in both optical and infrared light, and these data have let us map the movement of material through the disk and onto the star.”


The newfound star, called Gaia 17bpi, was first spotted by the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite, which scans the sky continuously, making precise measurements of stars in visible light. When Gaia spots a change in a star’s brightness, an alert goes out to the astronomy community. A graduate student at the University of Exeter and co-author of the new study, Sam Morrell, was the first to notice that the star had brightened. Other members of the team then followed up and discovered that the star’s brightening had been serendipitously captured in infrared light by NASA’s asteroid-hunting NEOWISE satellite at the same time that Gaia saw it, as well as one-and-a-half-years earlier.


“While NEOWISE’s primary mission is detecting nearby solar system objects, it also images all of the background stars and galaxies as it sweeps around the sky every six months,” says co-author Roc Cutri, lead scientist for the NEOWISE Data Center at IPAC, an astronomy and data center at Caltech. “NEOWISE has been surveying in this way for five years now, so it is very effective for detecting changes in the brightness of objects.”


NASA’s infrared-sensing Spitzer Space Telescope also happened to have witnessed the beginning of the star’s brightening phase twice back in 2014, giving the researchers a bonanza of infrared data. 

The new findings shine light on some of the longstanding mysteries surrounding the evolution of young stars. One unanswered question is: How does a star acquire all of its mass? Stars form from collapsing balls of gas and dust. With time, a disk of material forms around the star, and the star continues to siphon material from this disk. But, according to previous observations, stars do not pull material onto themselves fast enough to reach their final masses.  


Theorists believe that FU Ori events—in which mass is dumped from the disk onto the star over a total period of about 100 years—may help solve the riddle. The scientists think that all stars undergo around 10 to 20 or so of these FU Ori events in their lifetimes but, because this stellar phase is often hidden behind dust, the data are limited. “Somebody sketched this scenario on the back of an envelope in the 1980s, and, after all this time, we still haven’t done much better at determining the event rates,” says Hillenbrand.


The new study shows, with the most detail yet, how material moves from the midrange of a disk, in a region located around 1 astronomical unit from the star, to the star itself. (An astronomical unit is the distance between Earth and the sun.) NEOWISE and Spitzer were the first to pick up signs of the buildup of material in the middle of the disk. As the material started to accumulate in the disk, it warmed up, giving off infrared light. Then, as this material fell onto the star, it heated up even more, giving off visible light, which is what Gaia detected. 


“The material in the middle of the disk builds up in density and becomes unstable,” says Hillenbrand. “Then it drains onto the star, manifesting as an outburst.” 


The researchers used the W. M. Keck Observatory and Caltech’s Palomar Observatory to help confirm the FU Ori nature of the newfound star. Says Hillenbrand, “You can think of Gaia as discovering the initial crime scene, while Keck and Palomar pointed us to the smoking gun.”


The study is titled, “Gaia 17bpi: An FU Ori Type Outburst.” Other authors include: Carlos Contreras Peña and Tim Naylor of the University of Exeter; Michael Kuhn and Luisa Rebull of Caltech; Simon Hodgkin of Cambridge University; Dirk Froebrich of the University of Kent; and Amy Mainzer of JPL. 


Written by Whitney Clavin



Contact:

Whitney Clavin
(626) 395-1856
wclavin@caltech.edu


Source: Caltech






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Winging It Did you know that most street furniture – park…


Winging It


Did you know that most street furniture – park benches and the like – is specifically designed to be uncomfortable, to deter people lingering too long? It seems nature has a similar design philosophy, and has developed certain surfaces to be particularly unwelcome to unwanted visitors, such as bacteria. Dragonfly wings are like a microscopic bed of nails, and any bacteria that tries to settle in finds itself ripped apart by tiny spikes. Bacteria-deterring surfaces would be ideal for medical implants such as hip replacements, which are prone to infection, so researchers have developed synthetic materials covered in similar ‘nanospikes’ (pictured, with an E. Coli bacterium snared in the trap). Physical deterrents like this are particularly promising because they even work against the growing array of bacteria resistant to antibiotics. In the face of a looming antibiotic crisis, this could be a very important new tool waiting in the wings.


Written by Anthony Lewis



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Arianespace – Soyuz Flight VS20 with CSO-1 Mission Success


ARIANESPACE – Soyuz Flight VS20 Mission poster.


Dec. 19, 2018



Soyuz ST-A launches CSO-1 satellite

Arianespace VS20 mission: a Soyuz ST-A launch vehicle launched the CSO-1 Earth observation satellite into a Sun-synchronous orbit from the Soyuz Launch Complex (ELS) in Sinnamary, French Guiana, on 19 December 2018, at 16:37 UTC (13:37 local time).


For its 11th and final launch of the year – and the third with the Soyuz medium launcher — Arianespace will send the CSO-1 Earth observation satellite, intended for defense and security applications, into Sun-synchronous orbit for the French CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales) space agency and the DGA (Direction générale de l’armement) defense procurement agency on behalf of the French Ministry of Defense.



VS20 Successful Mission

This also will be the 20th mission carried out by Soyuz since it began operating at the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in October 2011.


With this latest launch at the service of France’s defense requirements, as well as for the capacity needs of several partner countries, Arianespace once again guarantees French and European autonomous access to space – a strategic priority, and a key element for sovereignty.



CSO-1 satellite deployment

CSO-1 is the first satellite of the Optical Space Component (CSO – Composante Spatiale Optique) program, a constellation of three satellites dedicated to Earth observation for defense and security. They will be placed into polar orbit at different altitudes, and will carry out two different missions: reconnaissance for CSO-1 and CSO-3, and identification for CSO-2.


The French CNES space agency is delegated as the contracting authority for the Optical Space Component (CSO) program and its mission ground segment, as well as being the overall system co-architect. CNES also is responsible for orbital positioning, in-orbit acceptance testing and satellite operation. France’s DGA defense procurement agency is contracting authority for the construction and through-life maintenance of the user ground segment, and will serve as the interface between the sensors deployed in space and the operators. The French armed forces headquarters is the operating authority for CSO.



CSO-1 satellite

The successor to the Helios 1 and 2 systems, CSO will address France and Europe’s operational needs for global intelligence and strategic surveillance, knowledge of the geographic environment and support for operational deployments.


As France’s third generation of military satellites, CSO was developed in a national framework and will remain accessible to European partners. Indeed, Germany, Sweden and Belgium already have joined the CSO community, and an agreement with Italy is expected shortly.


The CSO-1 satellite will be placed in a Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 800 km. It will be used to take 3D pictures and acquire very-high-resolution images in the visible and infrared bandwidths, day or night and in fair weather, and using a variety of imaging modes to meet as many operational requirements as possible.


For more information about Arianespace, visit: http://www.arianespace.com/


Images, Videos, Text, Credits: Arianespace/CNES/SciNews.


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