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  • May 8, 2017
  • 11:54 PM

Quick Look: The Thermal Structure of the Venus Atmosphere

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

SummaryFor two years beginning in 2013, a large team led by Sanjay Limaye set out to combine and compare the following:Venusian atmospheric data collected by probes in the 1970s and 1980s (used to create the Venus International Reference Atmosphere, or VIRA)Venus Express data on the vertical and horizontal structure of the atmosphereEarth-based observations of the upper atmosphere temperature structure of Venus made since VIRAFigure 1a: Vertical coverage of post-VIRA atmospheric structure experi........ Read more »

  • April 26, 2017
  • 11:33 PM

Recently Active Lava Flows on Idunn Mons

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

OverviewCombined VIRTIS emissivity and Magellan SAR image of Idunn MonsIn Idunn Mons on Venus: Location and extent of recently active lava flows, Piero D'Incecco and his colleagues looked closer at 1 µm thermal emissivity anomalies on the eastern flank of Idunn Mons, as observed by the VIRTIS instrument on Venus Express. Hypothesizing that recent lava flows were responsible, they overlayed the VIRTIS emissivity data with SAR images from the Magellan mission to look for lava flows that may have ........ Read more »

D'Incecco, P., Müller, N., Helbert, J., & D'Amore, M. (2017) Idunn Mons on Venus: Location and extent of recently active lava flows. Planetary and Space Science, 25-33. DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2016.12.002  

  • April 21, 2017
  • 12:02 PM

Spectral Guide for Earth-based Observers to Complement Akatsuki Mission

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

OverviewMeant as a guide for Earth-based observers of Venus (professional and amateur), Overview of useful spectral regions for Venus: An update to encourage observations complementary to the Akatsuki mission provides detailed information regarding the wavelengths at which observations should be made to complement the Akatsuki mission at Venus.Two tables (one for day side observing, the other for night side) provide opportunities across a "spectrum" of wavelengths, indicating what products are l........ Read more »

  • April 18, 2017
  • 12:43 PM

Bright highlands in equatorial Venus likely ferro-electric. What's up with the high-latitude highlands?

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

OverviewA lot of papers have been written about the highly reflective highlands (in radar) on Venus, with several different hypotheses (e.g. high porosity, metal frost).  Allan Treiman, Elise Harrington, and Virgil Sharpton look specifically at high-latitude highlands in comparison to highlands in the equatorial regions.  Both areas feature high reflectivity, but the reflectance patterns are distinct, as they describe in Venus' radar-bright highlands: Different signatures and mate........ Read more »

  • April 17, 2017
  • 12:20 AM

Discovery of a 150 day period in the Venus condensational clouds

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

OverviewUsing near infrared (NIR) data from the VIRTIS instrument that once traveled aboard the Venus Express spacecraft, Kevin McGouldrick and Constantine C. C. Tsang found a periodic variation in radiance, most intense at the mid-latitudes.  The paper is here.What Did They Find?They identified A 150-day periodic variation in radiance within the 1.74 µm and 2.30 µm windows, which is most pronounced between 30° and 60° latitude.  They also found that in these mid-latitudes, ra........ Read more »

  • September 13, 2016
  • 09:02 AM

An Analysis of Interplanetary Solar Radio Emissions Associated with a Coronal Mass Ejection by V. Krupar et al.*

by CESRA in Solar Radio Science

Type II and type III bursts are generated, via the plasma emission mechanism, when beams of suprathermal electrons interact with the ambient plasma generating radio emissions at the plasma frequency fp (the fundamental emission) or at its second harmonic 2fp (the harmonic emission) [see also previous CESRA highlights here and [...]... Read more »

V. Krupar et al. (2016) An Analysis of Interplanetary Solar Radio Emissions Associated with a Coronal Mass Ejection. Astrophys. J. Lett., 823, L5. info:/

  • August 30, 2016
  • 09:04 AM

On the thermal nature of 140 GHz emission from the 4 July 2012 solar flare by Yuriy Tsap et al.*

by CESRA in Solar Radio Science

The nature of the solar flare sub-THz emission (Kaufmann, 2012) with a positive spectral slope at 200-400 GHz is still not clear..... Read more »

Yuriy Tsap et al.*. (2016) On the thermal nature of 140 GHz emission from the 4 July 2012 solar flare. Advances in Space Research, 2016, 57, 1449. info:/

  • August 29, 2016
  • 10:38 AM

Ancient Mars was warm and wet, suggest UCL-led research team

by vitul in Think, Ask and Resolve

After the recent discovery of extensive fossilised riverbeds on Mars, the idea that the Red Planet could have been habitable 4 billion years ago has gained more traction.... Read more »

  • August 23, 2016
  • 09:02 AM

Bright 30 THz impulsive solar bursts by Pierre Kaufmann et al.*

by CESRA in Solar Radio Science

Impulsive 30 THz continuum bursts have been recently observed in solar flares, utilizing small telescopes with a unique and relatively simple optical setup concept (Kaufmann et al. 2015). The most intense burst was observed together with a GOES X2 class event on October 27, 2014, also detected at two sub-THz [...]... Read more »

Pierre Kaufmann et al. (2016) Bright 30 THz impulsive solar bursts . Journal of Geophys. Res. info:/

  • August 16, 2016
  • 09:04 AM

Decameter U-burst Harmonic Pair from a High Loop by Dorovskyy, Melnik, Konovalenko, Bubnov , Gridin, Shevchuk, Rucker, Poedts and Panchenko

by CESRA in Solar Radio Science

We discuss the results of recent observations of a solar U-burst harmonic pair in the frequency range 10-70 MHz, performed by the radio telescope UTR-2 ...... Read more »

Dorovskyy et al. (2016) Decameter U-burst Harmonic Pair from a High Loop by Dorovskyy et al. Solar Physics. info:/

  • February 13, 2016
  • 05:02 AM

Now we can hear the Universe

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

The detection of gravitational waves produced by the collision of two black holes over 1 billion light years away confirms Einstein's vision of our Universe.... Read more »

Abbott, B., Abbott, R., Abbott, T., Abernathy, M., Acernese, F., Ackley, K., Adams, C., Adams, T., Addesso, P., Adhikari, R.... (2016) Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger. Physical Review Letters, 116(6). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.061102  

  • September 17, 2015
  • 09:00 AM

The Martian: Getting Home Is Just Half The Problem

by Mark Lasbury in The 'Scope

"The Martian" movie opens soon! It's about an astronaut stranded on Mars who is trying to survive and find a way to get back home. But today, we humans here on Earth still have to think of clever ways to survive a trip to the red planet in the first place.... Read more »

  • August 6, 2015
  • 01:22 AM

Best evidence yet for active volcanism on Venus?

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

OverviewIn an article from Geophysical Research Letters, a team led by Eugene Shaygin used images taken by the Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC) aboard Venus Express to identify transient hot spots on the surface. These hot spots are located near very young (~10 Mya) volcanoes and rifts, and are suggestive of active lava flows.Even though the surface is generally obscured from view by the thick clouds, there is a transparent window through which light can pass in the near infrared wavelengths, and t........ Read more »

Shalygin, E., Markiewicz, W., Basilevsky, A., Titov, D., Ignatiev, N., & Head, J. (2015) Active volcanism on Venus in the Ganiki Chasma rift zone. Geophysical Research Letters, 42(12), 4762-4769. DOI: 10.1002/2015GL064088  

  • August 5, 2015
  • 12:51 AM

Quick Look: Vertical profiles of H2O, H2SO4, and sulfuric acid concentration at 45–75 km on Venus

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

An improved model for vertical profiles of water and sulfuric acid vapors as well as sulfuric acid concentrations in the Venus clouds is presented. From the April 2015 edition of Icarus:Title:Vertical profiles of H2O, H2SO4, and sulfuric acid concentration at 45–75 km on VenusAbstract:A method developed by Krasnopolsky and Pollack (Krasnopolsky, V.A., Pollack, J.B. [1994]. Icarus 109, 58–78) to model vertical profiles of H2O and H2SO4 vapors and sulfuric acid concentration in the Venus cloud........ Read more »

  • July 20, 2015
  • 11:05 AM

Quick Look: Touchdown on Venus: Analytic Wind Models and a Heuristic Approach to Estimating Landing Dispersions

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

I'm working through a lot of recent Venus-related papers, so here's another morsel for you that I will not have time to read in depth (I'm prioritizing articles relating to the Venusian surface). The author created a straightforward model of winds on Venus (using data from the VEGA Balloons and the Pioneer descent probes) to determine entry and descent dispersions for future Venus landers. From the April 2015 edition of Planetary and Space Science:Title:Touchdown on Venus: Analytic wind models ........ Read more »

  • July 10, 2015
  • 01:23 AM

Quick Look: Computer model shows imaging of Venus surface possible from balloon

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

From the April 2015 edition of Solar System Research:Title:Resolving the surface details on Venus in the balloon- or lander-borne images with a computer modeling methodAbstract:Due to the presence of opaque clouds at high altitudes, it is difficult to survey the surface of Venus in the optical spectral range. At the same time, in the under-cloud layer, there are transparency windows at the wavelengths λ = 1.08, 0.85, and 0.65 μm. At these wavelengths, the gaseous absorption (in the whole atmos........ Read more »

  • July 9, 2015
  • 01:22 AM

Impact Crater Ejecta Mantling on Venusian Tesserae? Earth-based Radar Seems to Say Yes

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

OverviewThe Smithsonian's Bruce Campbell and his colleagues (Campbell et al., 2015) combined radar imagery captured in 1988 and 2012 by the Arecibo and Greenbank radio telescopes to better detect the parabola-shaped deposits of impact crater ejecta on Venus. They were looking for such deposits on the highly-deformed terrain of tessera regions, which are suspected of having formed at a time when there was still water on the surface.Previous researchers had identified large parabolic deposits of ........ Read more »

  • June 14, 2015
  • 12:05 AM

Pluto and Planetary Pinball

by Angela Reisetter in Steeped in Science

A description of the formation of the solar system and how we think it got to be how it is today, with a focus on Pluto and Kuiper belt.... Read more »

Thayne Currie, Carey M. Lisse, Marc J. Kuchner, Nikku Madhusudhan, Scott J. Kenyon, Christian Thalmann, Joseph Carson, & John H. Debes. (2015) Direct Imaging and Spectroscopy of a Young Extrasolar Kuiper Belt in the Nearest OB Association. Astrophysical Journal Letters. arXiv: 1505.06734v1

Konstantin Batygin, & Gregory Laughlin. (2015) Jupiter's Decisive Role in the Inner Solar System's Early Evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. arXiv: 1503.06945v2

  • March 31, 2015
  • 08:00 AM

Shields Up! Lay In A Course For Mars

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

Deflector shields allowed Star Trek and other sci-fi franchises to have long space battles. Without them, one good strike and everyone was dead – that wouldn’t lend itself to sequels.

We don’t need shields for space battles yet, but we do need them to get to Mars. Cosmic radiation will kill or injure every astronaut unless we can deflect the radiation away from the spacecraft. We’re just about to build real deflectors, and our teachers are the magnetic fields we find ........ Read more »

  • April 13, 2014
  • 01:56 PM

Intro to External Pulsed Plasma Propulsion (EPPP)

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

External Pulsed Plasma Propulsion (EPPP)  is something that’s been discussed for some time. In fact, it was originally proposed by Stanislaw Ulam way back in 1947. Unfortunately the public perception of atomic technology as well as pieces of otherwise well meaning legislation have called into question the feasibility of spacecraft that operate using this advanced … Read More →... Read more »

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