900 research outputs found

    A new approach to analysing HST spatial scans: the transmission spectrum of HD 209458 b

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    The Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) on Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is currently one of the most widely used instruments for observing exoplanetary atmospheres, especially with the use of the spatial scanning technique. An increasing number of exoplanets have been studied using this technique as it enables the observation of bright targets without saturating the sensitive detectors. In this work we present a new pipeline for analyzing the data obtained with the spatial scanning technique, starting from the raw data provided by the instrument. In addition to commonly used correction techniques, we take into account the geometric distortions of the instrument, whose impact may become important when combined to the scanning process. Our approach can improve the photometric precision for existing data and also push further the limits of the spatial scanning technique, as it allows the analysis of even longer spatial scans. As an application of our method and pipeline, we present the results from a reanalysis of the spatially scanned transit spectrum of HD 209458 b. We calculate the transit depth per wavelength channel with an average relative uncertainty of 40 ppm. We interpret the final spectrum with T-Rex, our fully Bayesian spectral retrieval code, which confirms the presence of water vapor and clouds in the atmosphere of HD 209458 b. The narrow wavelength range limits our ability to disentangle the degeneracies between the fitted atmospheric parameters. Additional data over a broader spectral range are needed to address this issue.Comment: 13 pages, 15 figures, 7 tables, Accepted for publication in Ap

    The current use, and opinions of elite athletes and support staff in relation to genetic testing in elite sport within the UK

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    The purpose of the study was to investigate the current use of genetic testing in UK elite sport and assess how genetic testing might be received by those employed in elite sport. Seventy-two elite athletes and 95 support staff at UK sports clubs and governing bodies completed an online survey of 11 questions concerning their experience of genetic testing and beliefs regarding the use of genetic testing in sport. Genetic testing related to sports performance and injury susceptibility is conducted in UK elite sport, albeit by a relatively small proportion of athletes (≤17%) and support staff (≤8%). Athletes and their support staff agree that genetics are important in determining elite status (≥79%) and appear willing to engage in genetic testing for individualising training to improve sport performance and reduce injury risk. Opinion was divided on whether genetic information should be used to identify talented athletes and influence selection, eligibility or employment status. Genetic testing for sports performance and injury susceptibility occurs in UK elite sport, however it is not commonly conducted. There is a belief that genetics is an important factor in determining an athlete and there is a willingness to engage in genetic testing for sports performance and injury susceptibility

    Severely restricting energy intake for 24 h does not affect markers of bone metabolism at rest or in response to re-feeding

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    Purpose: Intermittent energy restriction commonly refers to ad libitum energy intake punctuated with 24 h periods of severe energy restriction. This can improve markers of metabolic health but the effects on bone metabolism are unknown. This study assessed how 24 h severe energy restriction and subsequent refeeding affected markers of bone turnover. Methods: In a randomised order, 16 lean men and women completed 2, 48 h trials over 3 days. On day 1, participants consumed a 24 h diet providing 100% [EB: 9.27 (1.43) MJ] or 25% [ER: 2.33 (0.34) MJ] of estimated energy requirements. On day 2, participants consumed a standardised breakfast (08:00), followed by an ad libitum lunch (12:00) and dinner (19:30). Participants then fasted overnight, returning on day 3. Plasma concentrations of C-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen (CTX), procollagen type 1 N-terminal propeptide (P1NP) and parathyroid hormone (PTH) were assessed as indices of bone metabolism after an overnight fast on days 1–3, and for 4 h after breakfast on day 2. Results: There were no differences between trials in fasting concentrations of CTX, P1NP or PTH on days 1–3 (P [greater than] 0.512). During both trials, consuming breakfast reduced CTX between 1 and 4 h (P [less than] 0.001) and PTH between 1 and 2 h (P [less than] 0.05), but did not affect P1NP (P = 0.773) Postprandial responses for CTX (P = 0.157), P1NP (P = 0.148) and PTH (P = 0.575) were not different between trials. Ad libitum energy intake on day 2 was greater on ER [12.62 (2.46) MJ] than EB [11.91 (2.49) MJ]. Conclusions Twenty-four hour severe energy restriction does not affect markers of bone metabolism

    Association between match activity variables, measures of fatigue and neuromuscular performance capacity following elite competitive soccer matches

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    The aim of the study was to assess the relationships between match activity variables, subsequent fatigue and neuromuscular performance capacity in elite soccer players. Subjects (n = 10) were professional soccer players participating in the English Championships. Match activity variables and markers of fatigue status were measured before and following two matches. Creatine kinase (CK) and muscle soreness were measured at baseline, immediately following, as well as 40 and 64 h post-match. Countermovement jump performance and perceived ratings of wellness were measured at baseline, then 40 and 64 h post-match. Relationships were shown between CK and the total number of accelerations and decelerations immediately (r = 0.63; large), 40 h (r = 0.45; moderate) and 64 h post-match (r = 0.35; moderate) (p < 0.05). Relationships between CK and total sprint distance (r = 0.39; moderate) and the number of sprints (r = 0.35; moderate) 40 h post-match (p < 0.05) were observed. Furthermore, relationships were shown between the perceived rating of wellness and number of accelerations 40 (r = 0.52; large) and 64 h (r = 0.40; moderate) post-match, sprint distance 40 h post-match (r = 0.40; moderate) and the total number of sprints 40 h post-match (r = 0.51; large) (p < 0.05). The quantification of match activity variables, particularly the total number of accelerations and decelerations and the number of sprints, provides insights into the fatigue status in elite soccer players 40 and 64 h post-match

    Exploring the regulation of genetic testing in sport

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    This article investigates the legal implications of the use of genetic testing in sport, that is, the analysis of human DNA to detect particular genetic traits and variations, or susceptibility to conditions. As science makes significant strides in the understanding of our genetic information, the search for the genetic components which separate winners and losers in sport follows. Although the practice of genetic testing in sport is not currently commonplace, there are some examples of genetic information being used by sports clubs and governing bodies to make decisions about an athlete’s capability to perform. This article examines how this practice could disproportionately interfere with an individual’s human rights and result in genetic discrimination if information is used for selection and employment purposes. It reviews some of the hard and soft law measures that regulate genetic testing at an international, regional and domestic level. The position of sport within this regulatory framework is uncertain, given the unique way in which sports regulation functions and interacts with the law. Nevertheless, the article concludes that the tendency of the law to treat discrimination in sport differently to other areas of society could leave athletes vulnerable. Whilst genetic information may be useful for understanding genetic traits and their relationship with athletic performance, going beyond this to select athletes on the basis of genetics is discouraged and the interests of sport should be fairly balanced against the human rights of the athlete

    Detection of an atmosphere around the super-Earth 55 Cancri e

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    We report the analysis of two new spectroscopic observations of the super-Earth 55 Cancri e, in the near infrared, obtained with the WFC3 camera onboard the HST. 55 Cancri e orbits so close to its parent star, that temperatures much higher than 2000 K are expected on its surface. Given the brightness of 55 Cancri, the observations were obtained in scanning mode, adopting a very long scanning length and a very high scanning speed. We use our specialized pipeline to take into account systematics introduced by these observational parameters when coupled with the geometrical distortions of the instrument. We measure the transit depth per wavelength channel with an average relative uncertainty of 22 ppm per visit and find modulations that depart from a straight line model with a 6σ\sigma confidence level. These results suggest that 55 Cancri e is surrounded by an atmosphere, which is probably hydrogen-rich. Our fully Bayesian spectral retrieval code, T-REx, has identified HCN to be the most likely molecular candidate able to explain the features at 1.42 and 1.54 μ\mum. While additional spectroscopic observations in a broader wavelength range in the infrared will be needed to confirm the HCN detection, we discuss here the implications of such result. Our chemical model, developed with combustion specialists, indicates that relatively high mixing ratios of HCN may be caused by a high C/O ratio. This result suggests this super-Earth is a carbon-rich environment even more exotic than previously thought.Comment: 10 pages, 10 figures, 4 tables, Accepted for publication in Ap
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