Hercules A

Hercules A
Radio-Optical View of the Galaxy Hercules A - Many thanks to: NASA, ESA, S. Baum and C. O'Dea (RIT), R. Perley and W. Cotton (NRAO/AUI/NSF), and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sunspotter: Using Citizen Science to Determine the Complexity of Sunspots

I refer to:




"...It is well known that sunspot groups with large, complex magnetic field configurations and strong, sheared polarity separation lines produce the largest flares. While methods for determining certain physical properties, such as total magnetic flux and polarity-separation-line length have been successfully developed for characterizing sunspot groups, a reliable automated method for determining sunspot complexity has never been developed. Since complexity can only be measured in a relative sense, we have used crowd-sourcing methods to allow human observers to compare the complexity of pairs of sunspot groups. This allows a large dataset to be ranked in terms of complexity. Sunspotter.org uses the Zooniverse platform and allows the general public to contribute comparisons using a web-browser interface. The results of this project will help to establish the true relationship between sunspot group complexity and flares, which has been discussed in the solar physics community for many decades..."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

CubeSats for the Europa Clipper Mission




"...The possible payload of science instruments under consideration includes radar to penetrate the frozen crust and determine the thickness of the ice shell, an infrared spectrometer to investigate the composition of Europa's surface materials, a topographic camera for high-resolution imaging of surface features, and an ion and neutral mass spectrometer to analyze the moon's trace atmosphere during flybys...The nominal Europa Clipper mission would perform 45 flybys of Europa at altitudes varying from 1700 miles to 16 miles (2700 kilometers to 25 kilometers)..."

"...NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has chosen proposals from 10 universities to study CubeSat concepts that could enhance a Europa mission concept currently under study by NASA. The CubeSat concepts will be incorporated into a JPL study describing how small probes could be carried as auxiliary payloads. The CubeSats would then be released in the Jovian system to make measurements and enhance our understanding of Jupiter's moon Europa...The conceptual Europa mission, called Europa Clipper, would conduct detailed reconnaissance of the icy moon and investigate whether it could harbor conditions suitable for life...The universities' Europa science objectives for their CubeSats would include reconnaissance for future landing sites, gravity fields, magnetic fields, atmospheric and plume science, and radiation measurements..."