236 research outputs found

    Impact of climate change on wave energy resource: the case of Menorca (Spain)

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    The aim of this paper was to analyse how changes in wave patterns, due to the effect of climate change, can affect wave energy power and yield around Menorca (NW Mediterranean Sea). The present and future wave energy conditions were derived from recently developed high-resolution wave projections in the NW Mediterranean. These wave projections were forced by surface wind fields obtained, respectively, by 5 different combinations of global and regional circulation models (GCMs and RCMs) for the A1B scenario. The results showed that the projected future spatial and directional distributions of wave energy are very similar to those of the present conditions. The multi-model ensemble average illustrated a slight general decrease in the annual and seasonal wave power (except for summer). However, the inter-model variability is large since two models showed opposite trends to the other 3 in most cases. Such inter-model variability is lower(higher) for winter(autumn). Another result is the reduction of the temporal variability in the future, considering both the multi-model mean and each single model projection. Such a decrease is consistent with the future seasonal redistribution of energy throughout the year. This would entail an increase in the efficiency of wave energy converters deployed in this area due to the more regular temporal distribution of the energy.Peer ReviewedPostprint (author's final draft

    Physical characterization and origin of binary near-Earth asteroid (175706) 1996 FG3

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    The near-Earth asteroid (NEA) (175706) 1996 FG3 is a particularly interesting spacecraft target: a binary asteroid with a low-DeltaV heliocentric orbit. The orbit of its satellite has provided valuable information about its mass density while its albedo and colors suggest it is primitive or part of the C-complex taxonomic grouping. We extend the physical characterization of this object with new observations of its emission at mid-Infrared (IR) wavelengths and with near-IR reflection spectroscopy. We derive an area-equivalent system diameter of 1.90 \pm 0.28 km (corresponding to approximate component diameters of 1.83 km and 0.51 km, respectively) and a geometric albedo of 0.039 \pm 0.012. 1996 FG3 was previously classified as a C-type asteroid, though the combined 0.4--2.5 micron spectrum with thermal correction indicates classification as B-type; both are consistent with the low measured albedo. Dynamical studies show that 1996 FG3 has most probably originated in the inner main asteroid belt. Recent work has suggested the inner Main Belt (142) Polana family as the possible origin of another low-DeltaV B-type NEA, (101955) 1999 RQ36. A similar origin for 1996 FG3 would require delivery by the overlapping Jupiter 7:2 and Mars 5:9 mean motion resonances rather than the nu-6 resonance, and we find this to be a low probability, but possible, origin.Comment: Published in Ap

    Spitzer Observations of Spacecraft Target 162173 (1999 JU3)

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    Near-Earth asteroid 162173 (1999 JU3) is the primary target of the Hayabusa-2 sample return mission, and a potential target of the Marco Polo sample return mission. Earth-based studies of this object are fundamental to these missions. We present a mid-infrared spectrum (5-38 microns) of 1999 JU3 obtained with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope in May 2008. These observations place new constraints on the surface properties of this asteroid. To fit our spectrum we used the near-Earth asteroid thermal model (NEATM) and the more complex thermophysical model (TPM). However, the position of the spin-pole, which is uncertain, is a crucial input parameter for constraining the thermal inertia with the TPM; hence, we consider two pole orientations. In the extreme case of an equatorial retrograde geometry we derive a lower limit to the thermal inertia of 150 J/m^2/K/s^0.5. If we adopt the pole orientation of Abe et al. (2008a) our best-fit thermal model yields a value for the thermal inertia of 700+/-200 J/m^2/K/s^0.5 and even higher values are allowed by the uncertainty in the spectral shape due to the absolute flux calibration. The lower limit to the thermal inertia, which is unlikely but possible, would be consistent with a fine regolith similar to wthat is found for asteroid 433 Eros. However, the thermal inertia is expected to be higher, possibly similar to or greater than that on asteroid 25143 Itokawa. Accurately determining the spin-pole of asteroid 162173 will narrow the range of possible values for its thermal inertia.Comment: 4 pages, 2 figures; to be published as a Letter in Astronomy and Astrophysic

    A Spitzer Study of Comets 2P/Encke, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and C/2001 HT50 (LINEAR-NEAT)

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    We present infrared images and spectra of comets 2P/Encke, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and C/2001 HT50 (LINEAR-NEAT) as part of a larger program to observe comets inside of 5 AU from the sun with the Spitzer Space Telescope. The nucleus of comet 2P/Encke was observed at two vastly different phase angles (20 degrees and 63 degrees). Model fits to the spectral energy distributions of the nucleus suggest comet Encke's infrared beaming parameter derived from the near-Earth asteroid thermal model may have a phase angle dependence. The observed emission from comet Encke's dust coma is best-modeled using predominately amorphous carbon grains with a grain size distribution that peaks near 0.4 microns, and the silicate contribution by mass to the sub-micron dust coma is constrained to 31%. Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was observed with distinct coma emission in excess of a model nucleus at a heliocentric distance of 5.0 AU. The coma detection suggests that sublimation processes are still active or grains from recent activity remain near the nucleus. Comet C/2001 HT50 (LINEAR-NEAT) showed evidence for crystalline silicates in the spectrum obtained at 3.2 AU and we derive a silicate-to-carbon dust ratio of 0.6. The ratio is an order of magnitude lower than that derived for comets 9P/Tempel 1 during the Deep Impact encounter and C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp).Comment: Accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal 48 pages, 15 figures, 10 table

    Dust in Comet C/2007 N3 (Lulin)

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    We report optical imaging, optical and near-infrared polarimetry, and Spitzer mid-infrared spectroscopy of comet C/2007 N3 (Lulin). Polarimetric observations were obtained in R (0.676 micron) at phase angles from 0.44 degrees to 21 degrees with simultaneous observations in H (1.65 micron) at 4.0 degrees, exploring the negative branch in polarization. Comet C/2007 N3 (Lulin) shows typical negative polarization in the optical as well as a similar negative branch near-infrared wavelengths. The 10 micron silicate feature is only weakly in emission and according to our thermal models, is consistent with emission from a mixture of silicate and carbon material. We argue that large, low-porosity (akin to Ballistic Particle Cluster Aggregates) rather absorbing aggregate dust particles best explain both the polarimetric and the mid-infrared spectral energy distribution.Comment: 18 pages, 9 figures, 3 table

    The radial distribution of dust species in young brown dwarf disks

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    We present a study of the radial distribution of dust species in young brown dwarf disks. Our work is based on a compositional analysis of the 10 and 20 micron silicate emission features for brown dwarfs in the Taurus-Auriga star-forming region. A fundamental finding of our work is that brown dwarfs exhibit stronger signs of dust processing in the cold component of the disk, compared to the higher mass T Tauri stars in Taurus. For nearly all of our targets, we find a flat disk structure, which is consistent with the stronger signs of dust processing observed in these disks. For the case of one brown dwarf, 2M04230607, we find the forsterite mass fraction to be a factor of ~3 higher in the outer disk compared to the inner disk region. Simple large-scale radial mixing cannot account for this gradient in the dust chemical composition, and some local crystalline formation mechanism may be effective in this disk. The relatively high abundance of crystalline silicates in the outer cold regions of brown dwarf disks provides an interesting analogy to comets. In this context, we have discussed the applicability of the various mechanisms that have been proposed for comets on the formation and the outward transport of high-temperature material. We also present Chandra X-ray observations for two Taurus brown dwarfs, 2M04414825 and CFHT-BD-Tau 9. We find 2M04414825, which has a ~12% crystalline mass fraction, to be more than an order of magnitude brighter in X-ray than CFHT-BD-Tau 9, which has a ~35% crystalline mass fraction. Combining with previous X-ray data, we find the inner disk crystalline mass fractions to be anti-correlated with the X-ray strength.Comment: Accepted in MNRA

    An upper limit for the water outgassing rate of the main-belt comet 176P/LINEAR observed with Herschel/HIFI

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    176P/LINEAR is a member of the new cometary class known as main-belt comets (MBCs). It displayed cometary activity shortly during its 2005 perihelion passage that may be driven by the sublimation of sub-surface ices. We have therefore searched for emission of the H2O 110-101 ground state rotational line at 557 GHz toward 176P/LINEAR with the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far Infrared (HIFI) on board the Herschel Space Observatory on UT 8.78 August 2011, about 40 days after its most recent perihelion passage, when the object was at a heliocentric distance of 2.58 AU. No H2O line emission was detected in our observations, from which we derive sensitive 3-sigma upper limits for the water production rate and column density of < 4e25 molec/s and of < 3e10 cm^{-2}, respectively. From the peak brightness measured during the object's active period in 2005, this upper limit is lower than predicted by the relation between production rates and visual magnitudes observed for a sample of comets by Jorda et al. (2008) at this heliocentric distance. Thus, 176P/LINEAR was likely less active at the time of our observation than during its previous perihelion passage. The retrieved upper limit is lower than most values derived for the H2O production rate from the spectroscopic search for CN emission in MBCs.Comment: 5 pages, 2 figures. Minor changes to match published versio

    Surprising dissimilarities in a newly formed pair of 'identical twin' stars

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    The mass and chemical composition of a star are the primary determinants of its basic physical properties--radius, temperature, luminosity--and how those properties evolve with time. Thus, two stars born at the same time, from the same natal material, and with the same mass are 'identical twins,' and as such might be expected to possess identical physical attributes. We have discovered in the Orion Nebula a pair of stellar twins in a newborn binary star system. Each star in the binary has a mass of 0.41 +/- 0.01 solar masses, identical to within 2 percent. Here we report that these twin stars have surface temperatures that differ by ~300K (~10%), and luminosities that differ by ~50%, both at high confidence level. Preliminary results indicate that the stars' radii also differ, by 5-10%. These surprising dissimilarities suggest that one of the twins may have been delayed by several hundred thousand years in its formation relative to its sibling. Such a delay could only have been detected in a very young, definitively equal-mass binary system3 such as that reported here. Our findings reveal cosmic limits on the age synchronisation of young binary stars, often used as tests for the age calibrations of star-formation models.Comment: Published in Nature, 19 June 200

    Hot exozodiacal dust resolved around Vega with IOTA/IONIC

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    Although debris discs have been detected around a significant number of main-sequence stars, only a few of them are known to harbour hot dust in their inner part where terrestrial planets may have formed. Thanks to infrared interferometric observations, it is possible to obtain a direct measurement of these regions, which are of prime importance for preparing future exo-Earth characterisation missions. In this context, we have resolved the exozodiacal dust disc around Vega with the help of infrared stellar interferometry and estimated the integrated H-band flux originating from the first few AUs of the debris disc. Using precise H-band interferometric measurements obtained with the 3-telescope IOTA/IONIC interferometer (Mount Hopkins, Arizona), thorough modelling of both interferometric data (squared visibility and closure phase) and spectral energy distribution was performed to constrain the nature of the near-infrared excess emission. The most straightforward scenario consists in a compact dust disc producing a thermal emission that is largely dominated by small grains located between 0.1 and 0.3 AU from Vega and accounting for 1.23 +/- 0.45% of the near-infrared stellar flux for our best-fit model. This flux ratio is shown to vary slightly with the geometry of the model used to fit our interferometric data (variations within +/-0.19%). Initially revealed by K-band CHARA/FLUOR observations, the presence of hot exozodiacal dust in the vicinity of Vega is confirmed by our H-band IOTA/IONIC measurements at the 3-sigma level. Whereas the origin of the dust is still uncertain, its presence and the possible connection with the outer disc suggest that the Vega system is currently undergoing major dynamical perturbations.Comment: 10 pages, 9 figures, accepted for publication in A&
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