Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics

Los Angeles, CA, United States

Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics

Los Angeles, CA, United States

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Barnes J.R.,University of Hertfordshire | Jones H.R.A.,University of Hertfordshire | Barman T.S.,Lowell Observatory | Barber R.J.,University College London | And 8 more authors.
EPJ Web of Conferences | Year: 2011

Space based broadband infrared observations of close orbiting extrasolar giant planets at transit and secondary eclipse have proved a successful means of determining atmospheric spectral energy distributions and molecular composition. Here, a ground-based spectroscopic technique to detect and characterise planetary atmospheres is presented. Since the planet need not be transiting, this method enables a greater sample of systems to be studied. By modelling the planetary signature as a function of phase, high resolution spectroscopy has the potential to recover the signature of molecules in planetary atmospheres. © Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2011.


Garg A.,Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics | Cook K.H.,Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics | NikoLaev S.,Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics | Huber M.E.,Johns Hopkins University | And 16 more authors.
Astronomical Journal | Year: 2010

We present 2323 high-amplitude σ-Scuti (HADS) candidates discovered in the Large Magellanic Cloud by the SuperMACHO survey (Rest et al.). Frequency analyses of these candidates reveal that several are multimode pulsators, including 119 whose largest amplitude of pulsation is in the fundamental (F) mode and 19 whose largest amplitude of pulsation is in the first overtone (FO) mode. Using Fourier decomposition of the HADS light curves, we find that the period-luminosity (PL) relation defined by the FO pulsators does not show a clear separation from the PL relation defined by the F pulsators. This differs from other instability strip pulsators such as type c RR Lyrae. We also present evidence for a larger amplitude, subluminous population of HADS similar to that observed in Fornax. © THE America Astronomical society. All rights reserved.


Mitri G.,CNRS Nantes Laboratory of Planetology and Geodynamics | Coustenis A.,University Paris Diderot | Fanchini G.,Smart Structures Solutions S.r.l. | Hayes A.G.,Cornell University | And 13 more authors.
Planetary and Space Science | Year: 2014

Fundamental questions involving the origin, evolution, and history of both Titan and the broader Saturnian system can be answered by exploring this satellite from an orbiter and also in situ. We present the science case for an exploration of Titan and one of its lakes from a dedicated orbiter and a lake probe. Observations from an orbit-platform can improve our understanding of Titan's geological processes, surface composition and atmospheric properties. Further, combined measurements of the gravity field, rotational dynamics and electromagnetic field can expand our understanding of the interior and evolution of Titan. An in situ exploration of Titan's lakes provides an unprecedented opportunity to understand the hydrocarbon cycle, investigate a natural laboratory for prebiotic chemistry and habitability potential, and study meteorological and marine processes in an exotic environment. We briefly discuss possible mission scenarios for a future exploration of Titan with an orbiter and a lake probe. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Wasson J.T.,Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics | Wasson J.T.,University of California at Los Angeles | Rubin A.E.,Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics
Meteoritics and Planetary Science | Year: 2010

We used the electron microprobe to study matrix in the ungrouped type 3.0 carbonaceous chondrite Acfer 094 using 7 × 7-point, focused-beam arrays; data points attributable to mineral clasts were discarded. The grid areas show resolvable differences in composition, but differences are less pronounced than we observed in studies of CR2 LaPaz Icefield (LAP) 02342 (Wasson and Rubin [2009]) and CO3.0 Allan Hills A77307 (Brearley [1993]). A key question is why Acfer shows an anomalously uniform composition of matrix compared with these other carbonaceous chondrites. Both whole-rock and matrix samples of Acfer 094 show enhancements of Ca and K; it appears that these reflect contamination during hot desert weathering. By contrast, the whole-rock abundance of Na is low. Although weathering effects are responsible for some fractionations, it appears that nebular effects are also resolvable in matrix compositions in Acfer 094. As with LAP 02342, we infer that the observed differences among different areas were inherited from the solar nebula and may have been carried by porous chondrules that experienced low (about 20%) degrees of melting. Acfer 094 has been comminuted by one or more impact events that may also have caused volatile loss. Thus, despite preserving evidence (e.g., an exceptionally high content of presolar SiC) implying a high degree of pristinity, Acfer 094 is far from pristine in other respects. This evidence of comminution and an O-isotopic composition similar to values measured in metamorphosed CM chondrites suggest that Acfer was hydrated before being outgassed by the inferred impact event. Convection within the plume associated with the impact event probably also contributed to the homogenization of the Acfer 094 matrix. © The Meteoritical Society, 2010.


Ganushkina N.Y.,Finnish Meteorological Institute | Ganushkina N.Y.,University of Michigan | Amariutei O.A.,Finnish Meteorological Institute | Shprits Y.Y.,University of California at Los Angeles | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics | Year: 2013

The transport and acceleration of low-energy electrons (50-250 keV) from the plasma sheet to the geostationary orbit were investigated. Two moderate storm events, which occurred on 6-7 November 1997 and 12-14 June 2005, were modeled using the Inner Magnetosphere Particle Transport and Acceleration model (IMPTAM) with the boundary set at 10 RE in the plasma sheet. The output of the IMPTAM was compared to the observed electron fluxes in four energy ranges (50-225 keV) measured by the Synchronous Orbit Particle Analyzer instrument onboard the Los Alamos National Laboratory spacecraft. It was found that the large-scale convection in combination with substorm-associated impulsive fields is the drivers of the transport of plasma sheet electrons from 10 RE to geostationary orbit at 6.6 RE during storm times. The addition of radial diffusion had no significant influence on the modeled electron fluxes. At the same time, the modeled electron fluxes are one (two) order(s) smaller than the observed ones for 50-150 keV (150-225 keV) electrons, respectively, most likely due to inaccuracy of electron boundary conditions. The loss processes due to wave-particle interactions were not considered. The choice of the large-scale convection electric field model used in simulations did not have a significant influence on the modeled electron fluxes, since there is not much difference between the equipotential contours given by the Volland-Stern and the Boyle et al. (1997) models at distances from 10 to 6.6 RE in the plasma sheet. Using the TS05 model for the background magnetic field instead of the T96 model resulted in larger deviations of the modeled electron fluxes from the observed ones due to specific features of the TS05 model. The increase in the modeled electron fluxes can be as large as two orders of magnitude when substorm-associated electromagnetic fields were taken into account. The obtained model distribution of low-energy electron fluxes can be used as an input to the radiation belt models. This seed population for radiation belts will affect the local acceleration up to relativistic energies. © 2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


Liang J.,University of Calgary | Jiang F.,Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics | Donovan E.,University of Calgary | Spanswick E.,University of Calgary | And 3 more authors.
Annales Geophysicae | Year: 2013

In this study we investigate the upgoing electron beams at the topside ionosphere and their counterpart feature, the bidirectional quasi-parallel electron beams (QPEB) in the equatorial magnetosphere, with highlight on their potential application in estimating the location of the arc's root (AR) in the magnetotail central plasma sheet (CPS). We infer from FAST data that the upgoing electron beam is often found in the equatorward vicinity of the inverted-V arc. On the premise of such a scenario, we propose a method to estimate the location of the AR from available magnetospheric measurements by assuming that the tailward boundary of the QPEB demarcates the earthward boundary of the AR. We report two events with THEMIS observations of QPEBs in the magnetotail CPS, and demonstrate how to use the QPEB features, together with the magnetic signatures of the current circuit constituted by the QPEB and arc, to estimate the earthward boundary of the AR. We find that the estimated earthward boundary of AR is situated at the periphery of a quasi-dipolar magnetosphere characterized by a strong Bz gradient. This finding is consistent with previously existing proposals on the possible AR location in the tail (e.g., Lui and Burrows, 1978; Sergeev et al., 2012). © Author(s) 2013.


Roussos E.,Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research | Kollmann P.,Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research | Kollmann P.,Johns Hopkins University | Krupp N.,Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research | And 12 more authors.
Icarus | Year: 2012

Saturn's moon Rhea is thought to be a simple plasma absorber, however, energetic particle observations in its vicinity show a variety of unexpected and complex interaction features that do not conform with our current understanding about plasma absorbing interactions. Energetic electron data are especially interesting, as they contain a series of broad and narrow flux depletions on either side of the moon's wake. The association of these dropouts with absorption by dust and boulders orbiting within Rhea's Hill sphere was suggested but subsequently not confirmed, so in this study we review data from all four Cassini flybys of Rhea to date seeking evidence for alternative processes operating within the moon's interaction region. We focus on energetic electron observations, which we put in context with magnetometer, cold plasma density and energetic ion data. All flybys have unique features, but here we only focus on several structures that are consistently observed. The most interesting common feature is that of narrow dropouts in energetic electron fluxes, visible near the wake flanks. These are typically seen together with narrow flux enhancements inside the wake. A phase-space-density analysis for these structures from the first Rhea flyby (R1) shows that Liouville's theorem holds, suggesting that they may be forming due to rapid transport of energetic electrons from the magnetosphere to the wake, through narrow channels. A series of possibilities are considered to explain this transport process. We examined whether complex energetic electron drifts in the interaction region of a plasma absorbing moon (modeled through a hybrid simulation code) may allow such a transport. With the exception of several features (e.g. broadening of the central wake with increasing electron energy), most of the commonly observed interaction signatures in energetic electrons (including the narrow structures) were not reproduced. Additional dynamical processes, not simulated by the hybrid code, should be considered in order to explain the data. For the small scale features, the possibility that a flute (interchange) instability acts on the electrons is discussed. This instability is probably driven by strong gradients in the plasma pressure and the magnetic field magnitude: magnetometer observations show clearly signatures consistent with the (expected) plasma pressure loss due to ion absorption at Rhea. Another potential driver of the instability could have been gradients in the cold plasma density, which are, however, surprisingly absent from most crossings of Rhea's plasma wake. The lack of a density depletion in Rhea's wake suggests the presence of a local cold plasma source region. Hybrid plasma simulations show that this source cannot be the ionized component of Rhea's weak exosphere. It is probably related to accelerated photoelectrons from the moon's negatively charged surface, indicating that surface charging may play a very important role in shaping Rhea's magnetospheric interaction region. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.


Gjerloev J.W.,Johns Hopkins University | Hoffman R.A.,15107 Interlachen Drive | Ohtani S.,Johns Hopkins University | Weygand J.,Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics | Barnes R.,Johns Hopkins University
Annales Geophysicae | Year: 2010

We present results from a study of the behavior of the auroral electrojet indices following abrupt southward turnings of the IMF Bz. The auroral electrojet indices are calculated from observations made by more than 100 ground based stations provided by the SuperMAG collaborators. Based on three simple criteria we selected 73 events. In each event the interval of analysis started at the time of the IMF Bz southward turning and ended 45 minutes later or at the onset of any abrupt energy unloading event in the magnetosphere, regardless of size. We refer to this period as the "pre-unloading phase". To isolate the dependence of the auroral electrojets on the solar induced ionospheric conductivity during this phase we separated the standard AU/AL indices into two new sets of indices defined by the upper and lower envelope of the north-south component for all sunlit stations (AUs/ALs) and for all stations in darkness (AUd/ALd). Based on events and statistical analyses we can conclude that following a southward turning of the IMF Bz the AUd/ALd indices show no measurable response while the AUs/ALs indices clearly intensify. The intensifications of AUs/ALs are dependent on the intensity of the solar wind driver (as measured by IMF Bz or the Akasofu μ parameter). The lack of AUd/ALd response does not depend on the intensity of any subsequent substorm. We find that during these isolated events the ionospheric current system is primarily confined to the sunlit ionosphere. This truncated version of the classical global DP-2 current system suggests that auroral electrojet continuity is not maintained across the terminator. Because of its conductivity dependence on the solar zenith angle, this truncated global current pattern is expected to be highly dependent on UT and season and thus can be asymmetric between hemispheres. Thus we argue that the global two-cell DP-2 current system is not a consequence only of a southward turning of the IMF but requires also the reduction of the conductivity gradient at the terminator. © Author(s) 2010.


Bunch N.L.,Stanford University | Spasojevic M.,Stanford University | Shprits Y.Y.,Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics
2011 30th URSI General Assembly and Scientific Symposium, URSIGASS 2011 | Year: 2011

Determining the global distribution of chorus wave power in the off-equatorial region is a crucial component in understanding the contribution of chorus to radiation belt acceleration and loss. In this study we employ a database of chorus observations from the Plasma Wave Instrument (PWI) Sweep Frequency Receiver (SFR) onboard the Polar spacecraft, which are used to generate probability statistics, and approximate typical magnetic wave power as a function of space and geomagnetic activity. Previous studies concerning chorus wave power statistics have focused on a band-integrated and time-averaged data product which is typically used as the fundamental chorus input to radiation belt diffusion models. We estimate this quantity by which mean magnetic wave power and occurrence probability are incorporated to determine what we call "composite" wave power. These data products are a crucial step forward in understanding the radiation belt wave environment and evaluating essential inputs for radiation belt models. © 2011 IEEE.

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