330 research outputs found

    "Last-Mile" preparation for a potential disaster

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    Extreme natural events, like e.g. tsunamis or earthquakes, regularly lead to catastrophes with dramatic consequences. In recent years natural disasters caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, destruction of infrastructure, disruption of economic activity and loss of billions of dollars worth of property and thus revealed considerable deficits hindering their effective management: Needs for stakeholders, decision-makers as well as for persons concerned include systematic risk identification and evaluation, a way to assess countermeasures, awareness raising and decision support systems to be employed before, during and after crisis situations. The overall goal of this study focuses on interdisciplinary integration of various scientific disciplines to contribute to a tsunami early warning information system. In comparison to most studies our focus is on high-end geometric and thematic analysis to meet the requirements of small-scale, heterogeneous and complex coastal urban systems. Data, methods and results from engineering, remote sensing and social sciences are interlinked and provide comprehensive information for disaster risk assessment, management and reduction. In detail, we combine inundation modeling, urban morphology analysis, population assessment, socio-economic analysis of the population and evacuation modeling. The interdisciplinary results eventually lead to recommendations for mitigation strategies in the fields of spatial planning or coping capacity

    The Cassiopeia A Supernova was of Type IIB

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    Cassiopeia A is one of the youngest supernova remnants known in the Milky Way and a unique laboratory for supernova physics. We present an optical spectrum of the Cassiopeia A supernova near maximum brightness, obtained from observations of a scattered light echo - more than three centuries after the direct light of the explosion swept past Earth. The spectrum shows that Cassiopeia A was a type IIb supernova and originated from the collapse of the helium core of a red supergiant that had lost most of its hydrogen envelope prior to exploding. Our finding concludes a longstanding debate on the Cassiopeia A progenitor and provides new insight into supernova physics by linking the properties of the explosion to the wealth of knowledge about its remnant.Comment: 17 pages, 4 figures, including online supporting material; to be published in Science on 30 May 200

    JWST/NIRSpec Observations of the Planetary Mass Companion TWA 27B

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    We present 1-5um spectroscopy of the young planetary mass companion TWA 27B (2M1207B) performed with NIRSpec on board the James Webb Space Telescope. In these data, the fundamental band of CH_4 is absent and the fundamental band of CO is weak. The nondetection of CH_4 reinforces a previously observed trend of weaker CH_4 with younger ages among L dwarfs, which has been attributed to enhanced non-equilibrium chemistry among young objects. The weakness of CO may reflect an additional atmospheric property that varies with age, such as the temperature gradient or cloud thickness. We are able to reproduce the broad shape of the spectrum with an ATMO cloudless model that has T=1300 K, non-equilibrium chemistry, and a temperature gradient reduction caused by fingering convection. However, the fundamental bands of CH_4 and CO are somewhat stronger in the model. In addition, the model temperature of 1300 K is higher than expected from evolutionary models given the luminosity and age of TWA 27B (T=1200 K). Previous models of young L-type objects suggest that the inclusion of clouds could potentially resolve these issues; it remains to be seen whether cloudy models can provide a good fit to the 1-5um data from NIRSpec. TWA 27B exhibits emission in Paschen transitions and the He I triplet at 1.083um, which are signatures of accretion that provide the first evidence of a circumstellar disk. We have used the NIRSpec data to estimate the bolometric luminosity of TWA 27B (log L/L_sun=-4.466+/-0.014), which implies a mass of 5-6 MJup according to evolutionary models.Comment: Astrophysical Journal Letters, in pres

    "Last-Mile" preparation for a potential disaster - Interdisciplinary approach towards tsunami early warning and an evacuation information system for the coastal city of Padang, Indonesia

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    Extreme natural events, like e.g. tsunamis or earthquakes, regularly lead to catastrophes with dramatic consequences. In recent years natural disasters caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, destruction of infrastructure, disruption of economic activity and loss of billions of dollars worth of property and thus revealed considerable deficits hindering their effective management: Needs for stakeholders, decision-makers as well as for persons concerned include systematic risk identification and evaluation, a way to assess countermeasures, awareness raising and decision support systems to be employed before, during and after crisis situations. The overall goal of this study focuses on interdisciplinary integration of various scientific disciplines to contribute to a tsunami early warning information system. In comparison to most studies our focus is on high-end geometric and thematic analysis to meet the requirements of smallscale, heterogeneous and complex coastal urban systems. Data, methods and results from engineering, remote sensing and social sciences are interlinked and provide comprehensive information for disaster risk assessment, management and reduction. In detail, we combine inundation modeling, urban morphology analysis, population assessment, socioeconomic analysis of the population and evacuation modeling. The interdisciplinary results eventually lead to recommendations for mitigation strategies in the fields of spatial planning or coping capacity.DFG/03G0666A-

    Tycho Brahe's 1572 supernova as a standard type Ia explosion revealed from its light echo spectrum

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    Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) are thermonuclear explosions of white dwarf stars in close binary systems. They play an important role as cosmological distance indicators and have led to the discovery of the accelerated expansion of the Universe. Among the most important unsolved questions are how the explosion actually proceeds and whether accretion occurs from a companion or via the merging of two white dwarfs. Tycho Brahe's supernova of 1572 (SN 1572) is thought to be one of the best candidates for a SN Ia in the Milky Way. The proximity of the SN 1572 remnant has allowed detailed studies, such as the possible identification of the binary companion, and provides a unique opportunity to test theories of the explosion mechanism and the nature of the progenitor. The determination of the yet unknown exact spectroscopic type of SN 1572 is crucial to relate these results to the diverse population of SNe Ia. Here we report an optical spectrum of Tycho Brahe's supernova near maximum brightness, obtained from a scattered-light echo more than four centuries after the direct light of the explosion swept past Earth. We find that SN 1572 belongs to the majority class of normal SNe Ia. The presence of a strong Ca II IR feature at velocities exceeding 20,000 km/s, which is similar to the previously observed polarized features in other SNe Ia, suggests asphericity in SN 1572.Comment: 15 pages, 3 figures - accepted for publication in Natur

    Infrared Echoes near the Supernova Remnant Cassiopeia A

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    Two images of Cassiopeia A obtained at 24 micrometer with the Spitzer Space Telescope over a one year time interval show moving structures outside the shell of the supernova remnant to a distance of more than 20 arcmin. Individual features exhibit apparent motions of 10 to 20 arcsec per year, independently confirmed by near-infrared observations. The observed tangential velocities are at roughly the speed of light. It is likely that the moving structures are infrared echoes, in which interstellar dust is heated by the explosion and by flares from the compact object near the center of the remnant.Comment: To be published in Science on June 10, 2005. 11 pages, 4 figures. Additional information available at http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/Media/releases/ssc2005-14/index.shtm

    Transiting Exoplanet Studies and Community Targets for JWST's Early Release Science Program

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    The James Webb Space Telescope will revolutionize transiting exoplanet atmospheric science due to its capability for continuous, long-duration observations and its larger collecting area, spectral coverage, and spectral resolution compared to existing space-based facilities. However, it is unclear precisely how well JWST will perform and which of its myriad instruments and observing modes will be best suited for transiting exoplanet studies. In this article, we describe a prefatory JWST Early Release Science (ERS) program that focuses on testing specific observing modes to quickly give the community the data and experience it needs to plan more efficient and successful future transiting exoplanet characterization programs. We propose a multi-pronged approach wherein one aspect of the program focuses on observing transits of a single target with all of the recommended observing modes to identify and understand potential systematics, compare transmission spectra at overlapping and neighboring wavelength regions, confirm throughputs, and determine overall performances. In our search for transiting exoplanets that are well suited to achieving these goals, we identify 12 objects (dubbed "community targets") that meet our defined criteria. Currently, the most favorable target is WASP-62b because of its large predicted signal size, relatively bright host star, and location in JWST's continuous viewing zone. Since most of the community targets do not have well-characterized atmospheres, we recommend initiating preparatory observing programs to determine the presence of obscuring clouds/hazes within their atmospheres. Measurable spectroscopic features are needed to establish the optimal resolution and wavelength regions for exoplanet characterization. Other initiatives from our proposed ERS program include testing the instrument brightness limits and performing phase-curve observations.(Abridged)Comment: This is a white paper that originated from an open discussion at the Enabling Transiting Exoplanet Science with JWST workshop held November 16 - 18, 2015 at STScI (http://www.stsci.edu/jwst/science/exoplanets). Accepted for publication in PAS

    Molecular Interactions between Prions as Seeds and Recombinant Prion Proteins as Substrates Resemble the Biological Interspecies Barrier In Vitro

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    Prion diseases like Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, Scrapie in sheep or bovine spongiform encephalopathy are fatal neurodegenerative diseases, which can be of sporadic, genetic, or infectious origin. Prion diseases are transmissible between different species, however, with a variable species barrier. The key event of prion amplification is the conversion of the cellular isoform of the prion protein (PrPC) into the pathogenic isoform (PrPSc). We developed a sodiumdodecylsulfate-based PrP conversion system that induces amyloid fibril formation from soluble α-helical structured recombinant PrP (recPrP). This approach was extended applying pre-purified PrPSc as seeds which accelerate fibrillization of recPrP. In the present study we investigated the interspecies coherence of prion disease. Therefore we used PrPSc from different species like Syrian hamster, cattle, mouse and sheep and seeded fibrillization of recPrP from the same or other species to mimic in vitro the natural species barrier. We could show that the in vitro system of seeded fibrillization is in accordance with what is known from the naturally occurring species barriers

    Vulnerability to natural disasters in Serbia: spatial and temporal comparison

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    The frequency of natural disasters and the extent of their consequences at a global level are constantly increasing. This trend is partially caused by increased population vulnerability, which implies the degree of population vulnerability due to high magnitude natural processes. This paper presents an analysis of vulnerability to natural disaster in Serbia in the second half of the twentieth and the early twenty-first century. Vulnerability changes were traced on the basis of demographic–economic indicators derived from statistical data for local government units (municipalities) provided by the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia. Calculations were performed in the geographical information system environment. The results of the study show that spatial and temporal vulnerability variations are causally correlated with changes in the selected components. Significant rise of vulnerability is related to urban areas, while lower values are characteristic for other areas of Serbia; this is primarily a consequence of different population density
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