There is much about Mercury that we still don’t understand. Accessible to the amateur, but also a handy state-of-the-art digest for students and researchers, the book shows how our knowledge of Mercury developed over the past century of ground-based, fly-by and orbital observations, and looks ahead at the mysteries remaining for future missions to explore.
The author presents the observational methods needed to probe the spin-orbit angle, the relation between the stellar spin axis and planetary orbital axis. Measurements of the spin-orbit angle provide us a unique and valuable opportunity to understand the origin of close-in giant exoplanets, called "hot Jupiters".
The first method introduced involves observations of the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect (RM effect). The author points out the issues with the previous theoretical modeling of the RM effect and derives a new and improved theory. Applications of the new theory to observational data are also presented for a number of remarkable systems, and the author shows that the new theory minimizes the systematic errors by applying it to the observational data.
The author also describes another method for constraining the spin-orbit angle: by combining the measurements of stellar flux variations due to dark spots on the stellar surface, with the projected stellar rotational velocity measured via spectroscopy, the spin-orbit angles "along the line-of-sight" are constrained for the transiting exoplanetary systems reported by the Kepler space telescope.
There are many binary star systems whose components are so close together, that they interact in various ways. Stars in such systems do not pass through all stages of their evolution independently of each other; in fact their evolutionary path is significantly affected by their companions. Processes of interaction include gravitational effects, mutual irradiation, mass exchange, mass loss from the system, phenomena of extended atmospheres, semi-transparent atmospheric clouds, variable thickness disks and gas streams.
The zoo of Close Binary Systems includes: Close Eclipsing Binaries (Detached, Semi-detached, Contact), High and Low-Mass X-ray Binaries, Cataclysmic Variables, RS CVn systems, Pulsar Binaries and Symbiotic Stars. The study of these binaries triggered the development of new branches of astrophysics dealing with the structure and evolution of close binaries and the interaction effects displayed by these exciting objects. Close Binaries are classic examples of the fundamental contribution that stellar astrophysics makes to our general understanding of physical processes in the universe.
Ground-based and space surveys will discover many new close binaries, which were previously unknown. In the future, new approaches will also be possible with highly efficient photometric searches looking for very shallow eclipses, such as those produced by Earth-like extra-solar planets.
Contributions to this conference covered the latest achievements in the field and reflected the state of the art of the dynamically evolving area of binary star research.
Until around ten years ago, the only planets that we knew about were within the Solar System. The first genuine planet beyond the confines of the Solar System was discovered only 1988. Since then another 350 or so exoplanets have been detected by various methods, and most of these haven been found in the last ten years. Although many more exoplanets discoveries may be expected to occur even as this book is being read, a large enough data set is now available to form the basis for an informed general account of exoplanets.
The topic hence is an extremely "hot" one - all the more so because the recently launched Kepler spacecraft should soon start uncovering many more exoplanets, some perhaps comparable with the Earth (and therefore possibly alternative homes for mankind, if we could ever reach them). Exoplanets: Finding, Exploring, and Understanding Alien Life gives a comprehensive, balances, and above all accurate account of exoplanets.
The goal was to better understand the survival of cometary materials (grains, molecules, free radicals, and atoms) from extrasolar sources (circumstellar shells and molecular clouds), their modifications in the solar nebula, and the effects of their properties on the formation and early physical and thermal evolution of the macroscopic bodies, the comet nuclei, in the various subnebulae. Closely associated is their transport into the outer solar system, the Kuiper belt and Oort cloud. The distinction between direct measurements, in situ or by remote sensing, of cometary material properties and properties derived from indirect means, deduced from laboratory studies and theoretical deductions, was emphasized with the aim to guide future investigations. The book is intended to serve as guide for researchers and graduate students working in the field of planetology and solar system exploration. It should also help to influence the planning of scientific strategies for the encounter of the Rosetta spacecraft with Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Astronomy was a truly cosmopolitan field at the time, spanning across various disciplines, and the discovery of Pallas, a story completely told in these pages, exemplifies the excitement and drama of early 1800s astronomy. All the private correspondence about the study of Ceres and Pallas in 1802 is given here, which helps to contextualize and personalize the discovery.
Louis Friedman of the Planetary Society and Jacques Blamont of CNES (both involved in Mars and Venus balloon projects) are both interviewed, along with Victor Kerzhanovich of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (planetary balloon systems), Julian Nott (balloonist adventurer and Titan balloon enthusiast), Ralph Lorenz (John Hopkins University's Applied Physics Lab, team member of the proposed Montgolfier balloon on NASA's flagship mission to Titan), Lockheed Martin's Ben Clark (early atmospheric probe designer), Joe Palaia (UAV tests to Devon Island, Canadian Arctic), Joel Levine, Langley Research Center's principal investigator for the Mars ARES (Aerial Regional Environmental Survey), and Andrew Ingersoll, planetary atmospheres expert at California Institute of Technology, among others.
Prof. Shuanggen Jin works at the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China. Dr. Nader Haghighipour works at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, USA. Prof. Wing-Huen Ip works at the National Central University, Taiwan.
Based on their lectures given at the 31st Saas-Fee Advanced Course, Andreas Quirrenbach, Tristan Guillot and Pat Cassen have written up up-to-date comprehensive lecture notes on the "Detection and Characterization of Extrasolar Planets", "Physics of Substellar Objects Interiors, Atmospheres, Evolution" and "Protostellar Disks and Planet Formation". This book will serve graduate students, lecturers and scientists entering the field of extrasolar planets as detailed and comprehensive introduction.
When Juno was discovered no one could have imagined its study would call into question Newton’s law of gravity, or be the impetus for developing the mathematics of the fast Fourier transform by Carl Gauss. Clifford Cunningham, a dedicated scholar, opens to scrutiny this critical moment of astronomical discovery, continuing the story of asteroid begun in earlier volumes of this series.
The fascinating issues raised by the discovery of Juno take us on an extraordinary journey. The revelation of the existence of this new class of celestial bodies transformed our understanding of the Solar System, the implications of which are thoroughly discussed in terms of Romantic Era science, philosophy, poetry, mathematics and astronomy.
The account given here is based on both English and foreign correspondence and scientific papers, most of which are translated for the first time.
This professional conference is the "must-attend" meeting to discuss the astrophysics to be enabled by JWST and concurrent facilities during the next decade. This meeting is designed to be of interest and value to the broad astronomical community, who will be preparing science investigations for these facilities.
This meeting, which is hosted by STScI and NASA/GSFC and sponsored by Northrop Grumman, will engage the broad science community in a discussion of science enabled by JWST and concurrent orbital and ground-based facilities. It will describe and stimulate work on the theoretical foundations for astrophysics in the next decade. During 2008, we will produce a reviewed and edited book containing a compilation of the talks and synopses of the discussion periods. We plan that this book will be written in a graduate level pedagogical fashion to yield a reference text of lasting value for astronomers who will be developing investigations for the JWST and other concurrent facilites.
Scientific Organising Committee:
Crystal Brogan, NRAO
Dale Cruikshank, NASA/ARC
Ewine van Dishoeck, Univ. Leiden
Alan Dressler (chair), Carnegie Obs.
Richard Ellis, Caltech
Rob Kennicutt, Cambridge Univ.
Rolf Kudritzki, Univ. Hawaii
Avi Loeb, Harvard
John Mather, NASA/HQ
Yvonne Pendleton, NASA/HQ
Massimo Stiavelli, (JWST SWG liason) STScI
Peter Stockman, (LOC liason) STScI
Leonardo Testi, Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (Arceti)
Xander Tielens, NASA/ARC
Meg Urry, Yale
Jeff Valenti, STScI
The companion publication, Volume I of the proceedings of this workshop, is a special issue in the journal Earth, Moon, and Planets, Volume 104, Numbers 1-4, April 2009.
The variety of extra-solar planets brings a wider angle to the issue: from scorching "hot jupiters'' to ocean worlds, exo-atmospheres explore many configurations unknown in the Solar System, such as iron clouds, silicate rains, extreme plate tectonics, and steam volcanoes. Exoplanetary atmospheres have recently become accessible to observations.
This book puts our own climate in the wider context of the trials and tribulations of planetary atmospheres. Based on cutting-edge research, it uses a grand tour of the atmospheres of other planets to shine a new light on our own atmosphere, and its relation with life.
The Huygens craft, released by Cassini, parachuted through the clouds of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, in January 2005. David Harland tells the exciting story of the this craft’s journey to the surface of one of the most enigmatic bodies on the Solar System, the only moon to have a dense atmosphere and possibly lakes of liquid gas at -190oC on its surface. Titan is considered to be an early Earth in deep freeze, possibly with the building blocks of life in its atmosphere. There will undoubtedly be enormous interest in the first results and images of Titan’s surface, and this book is the first incisive summary of this groundbreaking material.
This paperback study edition of Markus Aschwanden’s highly acclaimed Physics of the Solar Corona will include 50 pages of problems and solutions which will much enhance the value of the book to students.
When Project Apollo brought back lunar rocks and soil samples, it opened a new chapter of understanding Earth's lone natural satellite, a process that continues to this day, as old results are revisited and new techniques are used on existing samples. Topics such as the origin, evolution, structure and composition of the Moon, however, are still under debate.
Lunar research is still an active field of study. New technologies make it possible to continue to learn. But even so, the Moon continues to hold tight to some of its oldest and most cherished secrets. Foster examines many of the most interesting puzzles and what has been revealed by exploring them – as well as what questions remain.
Free from a need to conform to scientific naming conventions, the names evidence hero-worship, sycophancy, avarice, vanity, whimsy, erudition and wit, revealing the human side of astronomers, especially where controversy has followed the christening. Murdin draws from extensive historical records to explore the debate over these names. Each age reveals its own biases and preferences in the naming process.
Originally regarded as “vermin of the skies,” asteroids are minor planets, rocky scraps left over from the formation of the larger planets, or broken fragments of worlds that have collided. Their scientific classification as “minor” planets makes them seem unimportant, but over the past decades asteroids have been acknowledged to be key players in the Solar System. This view of their starring role even alters the trajectories of spacecraft: NASA’s policy for new space missions en route to the outer planets is that they must divert to study passing asteroids whenever possible. This book provides for readers a complete tour of the fascinating world of asteroids.
The views from Titan’s Mayda Outpost are spectacular, but all is not well at the moon's remote science base. On the shore of a methane sea beneath glowering skies, atmospherics researcher Abigail Marco finds herself in the middle of murder, piracy and colleagues who seem to be seeing sea monsters and dead people from the past. On the Shores of Titan’s Farthest Sea provides thrills, excitement and mystery – couched in the latest science – on one of the Solar System’s most bizarre worlds, Saturn’s huge moon Titan.
"This riveting story, set against a plausibly well integrated interplanetary space, carries us along with its bright and interesting characters. We feel absolutely transported to a hauntingly beautiful and alien Titan through Carroll's masterful weaving of art and science." – Jani Radebaugh, Professor of Planetary Sciences, Titan dune expert, BYU
"It's a fun read! Really makes Titan come alive, literally..." – Astrophysicist and author Ralph Lorenz
"Michael Carroll's new novel "On the Shores of Titan's Farthest Sea" (Springer) is a gripping, good-vs-evil tale that sparkles with imagination. It's set on the shores of Kraken Mare, the vast methane sea found high in the northern latitudes of Saturn's moon, Titan, in a future when humanity has spread throughout the solar system. The villains are wicked, the heroes are scientists (Thanks, Mike!), the story is convincing, the dialogue snappy, and the scenery is right out of our catalog of findings on this cold, hazy and alien world.
If you fancy skipping forward 250 years and checking out how humankind might be navigating the very geography and landforms we have uncovered in our years touring Saturn, this book is for you!" --Carolyn Porco, leader of the Cassini Imaging Science team and the Director of the Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations (CICLOPS) at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado
Volume A is produced prior to the Assembly and contains Reports on Astronomy, prepared by each Commission President. The intention is to summarize the astronomical results that have affected the work of the Commission since the production of the previous Reports up to a time which is about one year prior to the General Assembly.
Volume B is produced after the Assembly and contains accounts of Commission Meetings which were held, together with other material. The reports included in the present volume range from outline summaries to lengthy compilations and references.
"Solar Journey: The Significance of Our Galactic Environment for the Heliosphere and Earth" lays the foundation for an interdisciplinary study of the influence of interstellar material on the solar system and Earth as we travel through the Milky Way Galaxy. The solar wind bubble responds dynamically to interstellar material flowing past the Sun, regulating interstellar gas, dust, and cosmic particle fluxes in the interplanetary medium and the Earth. Cones of interstellar gas and dust focused by solar gravity, the magnetospheres of the outer planets, and cosmic rays at Earth all might yield the first hints of changes in our galactic environment.
Twelve articles from leading experts in diverse fields discuss the physical changes expected as the heliosphere adjusts to its galactic environment. Topics include the interaction between the solar wind and interstellar dust and gas, cosmic ray modulation, magnetospheres, temporal variations in the solar environment, and the cosmic ray isotope record preserved in paleoclimate data.
The breadth of processes discussed in this book make it a valuable resource for scientists and students doing research in the fields of Space Physics, Astronomy and the Paleoclimate.
"I admire the great care that Priscilla Frisch has taken in the editorial work, the balanced subjects, the attractive and clear figures. Also the general topic is well chosen and the various chapters are presented very clearly." - C. de Jager