solar system observations: Topics by Science.gov

March 27, 2021

  • Solar System Observations with JWST

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Norwood, James; Hammel, Heidi; Milam, Stefanie; Stansberry, John; Lunine, Jonathan; Chanover, Nancy; Hines, Dean; Sonneborn, George; Tiscareno, Matthew; Brown, Michael; hide hide

    2014-01-01

    The James Webb Space Telescope will enable a wealth of new scientific investigations in the near- and mid- infrared, with sensitivity and spatial-spectral resolution greatly surpassing its predecessors. In this paper, we focus upon Solar System science facilitated by JWST, discussing the most current information available concerning JWST instrument properties and observing techniques relevant to planetary science. We also present numerous example observing scenarios for a wide variety of Solar System targets to illustrate the potential of JWST science to the Solar System community. This paper updates and supersedes the Solar System white paper published by the JWST Project in 2010 (Lunine et al., 2010). It is based both on that paper and on a workshop held at the annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences in Reno, NV in 2012.

  • Chandra Observations of the Solar System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lisse, Carey

    2014-11-01

    Many solar system objects are now known to emit X-rays due to charge-exchange between highly charged solar wind (SW) minor ions and neutrals in their extended atmospheres, including Earth, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and the heliosphere, with total power outputs on the MW – GW scale. (Currently only upper limits exist for Saturn and Pluto.) Chandra observations of their morphology, spectra, and time dependence provide important information about the neutral atmosphere structure and the SW flux and charge state. Chandra observations of solar x-ray scattering from Earth, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the Moon have also provided important clues for the scattering material and the solar radiation field at the body. We present here a 15 year summary of Chandra’s solar system observations.

  • Continued Analysis of EUVE Solar System Observations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gladstone, G. Randall

    2001-01-01

    This is the final report for this project. We proposed to continue our work on extracting important results from the EUVE (Extreme UltraViolet Explorer) archive of lunar and jovian system observations. In particular, we planned to: (1) produce several monochromatic images of the Moon at the wavelengths of the brightest solar EUV emission lines; (2) search for evidence of soft X-ray emissions from the Moon and/or X-ray fluorescence at specific EUV wavelengths; (3) search for localized EUV and soft X-ray emissions associated with each of the Galilean satellites; (4) search for correlations between localized Io Plasma Torus (IPT) brightness and volcanic activity on Io; (5) search for soft X-ray emissions from Jupiter; and (6) determine the long term variability of He 58.4 nm emissions from Jupiter, and relate these to solar variability. However, the ADP review panel suggested that the work concentrate on the Jupiter/IPT observations, and provided half the requested funding. Thus we have performed no work on the first two tasks, and instead concentrated on the last three. In addition we used funds from this project to support reduction and analysis of EUVE observations of Venus. While this was not part of the original statement of work, it is entirely in keeping with extracting important results from EUVE solar system observations.

  • JWST Planetary Observations Within the Solar System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lunine, Jonathan; Hammel, Heidi; Schaller, Emily; Sonneborn, George; Orton, Glenn; Rieke, George; Rieke, Marcia

    2010-01-01

    JWST provides capabilities unmatched by other telescopic facilities in the near to mid infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Its combination of broad wavelength range, high sensitivity and near diffraction-limited imaging around two microns wavelength make it a high value facility for a variety of Solar System targets. Beyond Neptune, a class of cold, large bodies that include Pluto, Triton and Eris exhibits surface deposits of nitrogen, methane, and other molecules that are poorly observed from the ground, but for which JWST might provide spectral mapping at high sensitivity and spatial resolution difficult to match with the current generation of ground-based observatories. The observatory will also provide unique sensitivity in a variety of near and mid infrared windows for observing relatively deep into the atmospheres of Uranus and Neptune, searching there for minor species. It will examine the Jovian aurora in a wavelength regime where the background atmosphere is dark. Special provision of a subarray observing strategy may allow observation of Jupiter and Saturn over a larger wavelength range despite their large surface brightnesses, allowing for detailed observation of transient phenomena including large scale storms and impact-generation disturbances. JWST’s observations of Saturn’s moon Titan will overlap with and go beyond the 2017 end-of-mission for Cassini, providing an important extension to the time-series of meteorological studies for much of northern hemisphere summer. It will overlap with a number of other planetary missions to targets for which JWST can make unique types of observations. JWST provides a platform for linking solar system and extrasolar planet studies through its unique observational capabilities in both arenas.

  • Observed ices in the Solar System

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Clark, Roger N.; Grundy, Will; Carlson, Robert R.; Noll, Keith; Gudipati, Murthy; Castillo-Rogez, Julie C.

    2013-01-01

    Ices have been detected and mapped on the Earth and all planets and/or their satellites further from the sun. Water ice is the most common frozen volatile observed and is also unambiguously detected or inferred in every planet and/or their moon(s) except Venus. Carbon dioxide is also extensively found in all systems beyond the Earth except Pluto although it sometimes appears to be trapped rather than as an ice on some objects. The largest deposits of carbon dioxide ice is on Mars. Sulfur dioxide ice is found in the Jupiter system. Nitrogen and methane ices are common beyond the Uranian system. Saturn’s moon Titan probably has the most complex active chemistry involving ices, with benzene (C6H6) and many tentative or inferred compounds including ices of Cyanoacetylene (HC3N), Toluene (C7H8), Cyanogen (C2N2), Acetonitrile (CH3CN), H2O, CO2, and NH3. Confirming compounds on Titan is hampered by its thick smoggy atmosphere. Ammonia was predicted on many icy moons but is notably absent among the definitively detected ices with the possible exception of Enceladus. Comets, storehouses of many compounds that could exist as ices in their nuclei, have only had small amounts of water ice definitively detected on their surfaces. Only one asteroid has had a direct detection of surface water ice, although its presence can be inferred in others. This chapter reviews some of the properties of ices that lead to their detection, and surveys the ices that have been observed on solid surfaces throughout the Solar System.

  • Solar System Observations with the James Webb Space Telescope

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Norwood, James; Hammel, Heidi; Milam, Stefanie; Stansberry, John; Lunine, Jonathan; Chanover, Nancy; Hines, Dean; Sonneborn, George; Tiscareno, Matthew; Brown, Michael; hide hide

    2016-01-01

    The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will enable a wealth of new scientific investigations in the near- and mid-infrared, with sensitivity and spatial/spectral resolution greatly surpassing its predecessors. In this paper, we focus upon Solar System science facilitated by JWST, discussing the most current information available concerning JWST instrument properties and observing techniques relevant to planetary science. We also present numerous example observing scenarios for a wide variety of Solar System targets to illustrate the potential of JWST science to the Solar System community. This paper updates and supersedes the Solar System white paper published by the JWST Project in 2010. It is based both on that paper and on a workshop held at the annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences in Reno, NV, in 2012.

  • Observer’s Interface for Solar System Target Specification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roman, Anthony; Link, Miranda; Moriarty, Christopher; Stansberry, John A.

    2016-10-01

    When observing an asteroid or comet with HST, it has been necessary for the observer to manually enter the target’s orbital elements into the Astronomer’s Proposal Tool (APT). This allowed possible copy/paste transcription errors from the observer’s source of orbital elements data. In order to address this issue, APT has now been improved with the capability to identify targets in and then download orbital elements from JPL Horizons. The observer will first use a target name resolver to choose the intended target from the Horizons database, and then download the orbital elements from Horizons directly into APT. A manual entry option is also still retained if the observer does not wish to use elements from Horizons. This new capability is available for HST observing, and it will also be supported for JWST observing. The poster shows examples of this new interface.

  • Observer’s Interface for Solar System Target Specification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roman, Anthony; Link, Miranda; Moriarty, Christopher; Stansberry, John A.

    2016-01-01

    When observing an asteroid or comet with HST, it has been necessary for the observer to manually enter the target’s orbital elements into the Astronomer’s Proposal Tool (APT). This allowed possible copy/paste transcription errors from the observer’s source of orbital elements data. In order to address this issue, APT has now been improved with the capability to identify targets in and then download orbital elements from JPL Horizons. The observer will first use a target name resolver to choose the intended target from the Horizons database, and then download the orbital elements from Horizons directly into APT. A manual entry option is also still retained if the observer does not wish to use elements from Horizons. This new capability is available for HST observing, and it will also be supported for JWST observing. The poster shows examples of this new interface.

  • Exploring our outer solar system – The Giant Planet System Observers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cooper, J. F.; Sittler, E. C., Jr.; Sturner, S. J.; Pitman, J. T.

    As space-faring peoples now work together to plan and implement future missions that robotically prepare for landing humans to explore the Moon, and later Mars, the time is right to develop evolutionary approaches for extending this next generation of exploration beyond Earth’s terrestrial planet neighbors to the realm of the giant planets. And while initial fly-by missions have been hugely successful in providing exploratory surveys of what lies beyond Mars, we need to consider now what robotic precursor mission capabilities we need to emplace that prepare us properly, and comprehensively, for long-term robotic exploration, and eventual human habitation, beyond Mars to the outer reaches of our solar system. To develop practical strategies that can establish prioritized capabilities, and then develop a means for achieving those capabilities within realistic budget and technology considerations, and in reasonable timeframes, is our challenge. We suggest one component of such an approach to future outer planets exploration is a series of Giant Planets System Observer (GPSO) missions that provide for long- duration observations, monitoring, and relay functions to help advance our understanding of the outer planets and thereby enable a sound basis for planning their eventual exploration by humans. We envision these missions as being comparable to taking Hubble-class remote-sensing facilities, along with the space physics capabilities of long-lived geospace and heliospheric missions, to the giant planet systems and dedicating long observing lifetimes (HST, 16 yr.; Voyagers, 29 yr.) to the exhaustive study and characterization of those systems. GPSO missions could feature 20-yr+ extended mission lifetimes, direct inject trajectories to maximize useful lifetime on target, placement strategies that take advantage of natural environment shielding (e.g., Ganymede magnetic field) where possible, orbit designs having favorable planetary system viewing geometries, comprehensive

  • Solar system plasma Turbulence: Observations, inteRmittency and Multifractals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Echim, Marius M.

    2016-04-01

    The FP7 project STORM is funded by the European Commission to “add value to existing data bases through a more comprehensive interpretation”. STORM targets plasma and magnetic field databases collected in the solar wind (Ulysses and also some planetary missions), planetary magnetospheres (Venus Express, Cluster, a few orbits from Cassini), cometary magnetosheaths (e.g. Haley from Giotto observations). The project applies the same package of analysis methods on geomagnetic field observations from ground and on derived indices (e.g. AE, AL, AU, SYM-H). The analysis strategy adopted in STORM is built on the principle of increasing complexity, from lower (like, e.g., the Power Spectral Density – PSD) to higher order analyses (the Probability Distribution Functions – PDFs, Structure Functions – SFs, Fractals and Multifractals – MFs). Therefore STORM targets not only the spectral behavior of turbulent fluctuations but also their topology and scale behavior inferred from advanced mathematical algorithms and geometrical-like analogs. STORM started in January 2013 and ended in December 2015. We will report on a selection of scientific and technical achievements and will highlight: (1) the radial evolution of solar wind turbulence and intermittency based on Ulysses data with some contributions from Venus Express and Cluster; (2) comparative study of fast and slow wind turbulence and intermittency at solar minimum; (3) comparative study of the planetary response (Venus and Earth magnetosheaths) to turbulent solar wind; (4) the critical behavior of geomagnetic fluctuations and indices; (5) an integrated library for non-linear analysis of time series that includes all the approaches adopted in STORM to investigate solar system plasma turbulence. STORM delivers an unprecedented volume of analysed data for turbulence. The project made indeed a systematic survey, orbit by orbit, of data available from ESA repositories and Principal Investigators and provides results ordered as a

  • Suzaku Observations of Charge Exchange Emission from Solar System Objects

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ezoe, Y.; Fujimoto, R.; Yamasaki, N. Y.; Mitsuda, K.; Ohashi, T.; Ishikawa, K.; Oishi, S.; Miyoshi, Y; Terada, N.; Futaana, Y.; hide hide

    2012-01-01

    Recent results of charge exchange emission from solar system objects observed with the Japanese Suzaku satellite are reviewed. Suzaku is of great importance to investigate diffuse X-ray emission like the charge exchange from planetary exospheres and comets. The Suzaku studies of Earth’s exosphere, Martian exosphere, Jupiter’s aurorae, and comets are overviewed.

  • OBSERVATIONS OF HIERARCHICAL SOLAR-TYPE MULTIPLE STAR SYSTEMS

    SciTech Connect

    Roberts, Lewis C. Jr.; Tokovinin, Andrei; Mason, Brian D.

    2015-10-15

    Twenty multiple stellar systems with solar-type primaries were observed at high angular resolution using the PALM-3000 adaptive optics system at the 5 m Hale telescope. The goal was to complement the knowledge of hierarchical multiplicity in the solar neighborhood by confirming recent discoveries by the visible Robo-AO system with new near-infrared observations with PALM-3000. The physical status of most, but not all, of the new pairs is confirmed by photometry in the Ks band and new positional measurements. In addition, we resolved for the first time five close sub-systems: the known astrometric binary in HIP 17129AB, companions to the primariesmore » of HIP 33555, and HIP 118213, and the companions to the secondaries in HIP 25300 and HIP 101430. We place the components on a color–magnitude diagram and discuss each multiple system individually.« less

  • Solar System Observing with the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cleve, J. Van; Meadows, V. S.; Stansberry, J.

    2003-01-01

    SIRTF is NASA’s Space Infrared Telescope Facility. Currently planned for launch on 15 Apr 2003, it is the final element in NASA’s Great Observatories Program. SIRTF has an 85 cm diameter f/12 lightweight beryllium telescope, cooled to lekss than 5.5K. It is diffraction-limited at 6.5 microns, and has wavelengthcoverage from 3-180 microns. Its estimated lifetime (limited by cryogen) is 2.5 years at minimum, with a goal of 5+ years. SIRTF has three instruments, IRAC, IRS, and MIPS. IRAC (InfraRed Array Camera) provides simultaneous images at wavelengths of 3.6, 4.5, 5.8, and 8.0 microns. IRS (InfraRed Spectrograph) has 4 modules providing low-resolution (R=60-120) spectra from 5.3 to 40 microns, high-resolution (R=600) spectra from 10 to 37 microns, and an autonomous target acquisition system (PeakUp) which includes small-field imaging at 15 microns. MIPS (Multiband Imaging Photometer for SIRTF)} does imaging photometry at 24, 70, and 160 m and low-resolution (R=15-25) spectroscopy (SED) between 55 and 96 microns. The SIRTF Guaranteed Time Observers (GTOs) are planning to observe Outer Solar System satellites and planets, extinct comets and low-albedo asteroids, Centaurs and Kuiper Belt Objects, cometary dust trails, and a few active short-period comets. The GTO programs are listed in detail in the SIRTF Reserved Observations Catalog (ROC). We would like to emphasize that there remain many interesting subjects for the General Observers (GO). Proposal success for the planetary observer community in the first SIRTF GO proposal cycle (GO-1) determines expectations for future GO calls and Solar System use of SIRTF, so we would like promote a strong set of planetary GO-1 proposals. Towards that end, we present this poster, and we will convene a Solar System GO workshop 3.5 months after launch.

  • GAP: yet another image processing system for solar observations.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, C. U.

    GAP is a versatile, interactive image processing system for analyzing solar observations, in particular extended time sequences, and for preparing publication quality figures. It consists of an interpreter that is based on a language with a control flow similar to PASCAL and C. The interpreter may be accessed from a command line editor and from user-supplied functions, procedures, and command scripts. GAP is easily expandable via external FORTRAN programs that are linked to the GAP interface routines. The current version of GAP runs on VAX, DECstation, Sun, and Apollo computers. Versions for MS-DOS and OS/2 are in preparation.

  • Interstellar Explorer Observations of the Solar System’s Debris Disks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lisse, C. M.; McNutt, R. L., Jr.; Brandt, P. C.

    2017-12-01

    Planetesimal belts and debris disks full of dust are known as the “signposts of planet formation” in exosystems. The overall brightness of a disk provides information on the amount of sourcing planetesimal material, while asymmetries in the shape of the disk can be used to search for perturbing planets. The solar system is known to house two such belts, the Asteroid belt and the Kuiper Belt; and at least one debris cloud, the Zodiacal Cloud, sourced by planetisimal collisions and Kuiper Belt comet evaporative sublimation. However these are poorly understood in toto because we live inside of them. E.g., while we know of the two planetesimal belt systems, it is not clear how much, if any, dust is produced from the Kuiper belt since the near-Sun comet contributions dominate near-Earth space. Understanding how much dust is produced in the Kuiper belt would give us a much better idea of the total number of bodies in the belt, especially the smallest ones, and their dynamical collisional state. Even for the close in Zodiacal cloud, questions remain concerning its overall shape and orientation with respect to the ecliptic and invariable planes of the solar system – they aren’t explainable from the perturbations caused by the known planets alone. In this paper we explore the possibilities of using an Interstellar Explorer telescope placed at 200 AU from the sun to observe the brightness, shape, and extent of the solar system’s debris disk(s). We should be able to measure the entire extent of the inner, near-earth zodiacal cloud; whether it connects smoothly into an outer cloud, or if there is a second outer cloud sourced by the Kuiper belt and isolated by the outer planets, as predicted by Stark & Kuchner (2009, 2010) and Poppe et al. (2012, 2016; Figure 1). VISNIR imagery will inform about the dust cloud’s density, while MIR cameras will provide thermal imaging photometry related to the cloud’s dust particle size and composition. Observing at high phase angle by looking

  • Polarimetry of Solar System Objects: Observations vs. Models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yanamandra-Fisher, P. A.

    2014-04-01

    The overarching goals for the remote sensing and robotic exploration of planetary systems are: (1) understanding the formation of planetary systems and their diversity; and (2) search for habitability. Since all objects have unique polarimetric signatures inclusion of spectrophotopolarimetry as a complementary approach to standard techniques of imaging and spectroscopy, provides insight into the scattering properties of the planetary media. Specifically, linear and circular polarimetric signatures of the object arise from different physical processes and their study proves essential to the characterization of the object. Linear polarization of reflected light by various solar system objects provides insight into the scattering characteristics of atmospheric aerosols and hazes? and surficial properties of atmosphereless bodies. Many optically active materials are anisotropic and so their scattering properties differ with the object’s principal axes (such as dichroic or birefringent materials) and are crystalline in structure instead of amorphous, (eg., the presence of olivines and silicates in cometary dust and circumstellar disks? Titan, etc.). Ices (water and other species) are abundant in the system indicated in their near – infrared spectra. Gas giants form outside the frost line (where ices condense), and their satellites and ring systems exhibit signature of water ice? clathrates, nonices (Si, C, Fe) in their NIR spectra and spectral dependence of linear polarization. Additionally, spectral dependence of polarization is important to separate the macroscopic (bulk) properties of the scattering medium from the microscopic (particulate) properties of the scattering medium. Circular polarization, on the other hand, is indicative of magnetic fields and biologically active molecules, necessary for habitability. These applications suffer from lack of detailed observations, instrumentation, dedicated missions and numericalretrieval methods. With recent discoveries and

  • Solar System Observations with Spitzer Space Telescope: Preliminary Results

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cruikshank, Dale P.

    2005-01-01

    The programs of observations of Solar System bodies conducted in the first year of the operation of the Spitzer Space Telescope as part of the Guaranteed Observing Time allocations are described. Initial results include the determination of the albedos of a number of Kuiper Belt objects and Centaurs from observations of their flux densities at 24 and 70 microns, and the detection of emission bands in the spectra of several distant asteroids (Trojans) around 10 and 25 microns. The 10 Kuiper Belt objects observed to date have albedos in the range 0.08 – 0.15, significantly higher than the earlier estimated 0.04. An additional KBO [(55565) 2002 AW(sub l97)] has an albedo of 0.17 plus or minus 0.03. The emission bands in the asteroid spectra are indicative of silicates, but specific minerals have not yet been identified. The Centaur/comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1 has a nucleus surface albedo of 0.025 plus or minus 0.01, and its dust production rate was calculated from the properties of the coma. Several other investigations are in progress as the incoming data are processed and analyzed.

  • Observation of solar-system objects with the ISO satellite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Encrenaz, Therese

    1998-09-01

    The ISO (Infrared Space Observatory) mission was an ESA earth-orbiting satellite devoted to the infrared observation of astronomical sources. The 60-cm helium-cooled telescope was launched in November 1995 and ended its life in May 1998. The satellite was equipped with 4 focal-plane instruments: a camera (CAM, 2.5-17 microns), a photometer (PHT, 2-200 microns) and two spectrometers, SWS (2.3-45 microns) and LWS (45-180 microns). A description of the ISO mission can be found in Kessler et al.(A&A 315 L27, 1996). Observations with ISO have been performed on all classes of solar-system objects. Several important discoveries have been obtained from the ISO data, in particular with the SWS instrument. A few of them are listed below: (1) a new determination of D/H on the four giant planets; (2) the discovery of an external source of water in the stratospheres of the giant planets and Titan; (3) the detection of CO_2 in the stratospheres of Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune; (4) the detection of new hydrocarbons (CH_3C_2H, C_4H_2, C_6H_6, CH_3) in Saturn’s stratosphere; (5) the detection of tropospheric water in Saturn; (6) the detection of CO_2 in comet Hale-Bopp at far heliocentric distances (4.6 AU); (7) the first detection of forsterite (Mg_2SiO_4) in the dust of comet Hale-Bopp; (7) the determination of the formation temperature of comets Hale-Bopp and Hartley 2 (27 K and 35 K respectively) from the measurement of the ortho-para ratio in their H_2O nu _3 emission lines. In addition, ISO spectra of Titan, Io and the other galilean satellites, and asteroids were also recorded; IR photometry was achieved on Pluto, distant comets and zodiacal light. Preliminary results can be found in Crovisier et al. (A&A 315 L385, 1996; Science 275 1904, 1996), Encrenaz et al. (A&A 315 L397, 1996; A&A 333 L43, 1998), de Graauw et al. (A&A 321 L13, 1997), Feuchtgruber et al. (Nature 389 159, 1997), Griffin et al. (A&A 315 L389, 1996), Davis et al. (A&A 315 L393, 1996), Reach et al. (A&A 315 L

  • Preparation for the solar system observations with Herschel: Simulation of Jupiter observations with PACS

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sagawa, Hideo; Hartogh, Paul; Rengel, Miriam; de Lange, Arno; Cavalié, Thibault

    2010-11-01

    Observations of the water inventory as well as other chemically important species on Jupiter will be performed in the frame of the guaranteed time key project of the Herschel Space Observatory entitled “Water and related chemistry in the Solar system”. Among other onboard instruments, PACS (Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer) will provide new data of the spectral atlas in a wide region covering the far-infrared and submillimetre domains, with an improved spectral resolution and a higher sensitivity compared to previous observations carried out by Cassini/CIRS (Composite InfraRed Spectrometer) and by ISO (Infrared Space Observatory). In order to optimise the observational plan and to prepare for the data analysis, we have simulated the expected spectra of PACS Jupiter observations. Our simulation shows that PACS will promisingly detect several H 2O emission lines. As PACS is capable of spatially resolving the Jovian disk, we will be able to discern the external oxygen sources in the giant planets by exploring the horizontal distribution of water. In addition to H 2O lines, some absorption lines due to tropospheric CH 4, HD, PH 3 and NH 3 lines will be observed with PACS. Furthermore, owing to the high sensitivity of the instrument, the current upper limit on the abundance of hydrogen halides such as HCl will be also improved.

  • What Do Millimeter Continuum and Spectral Line Observations Tell Us about Solar System Bodies?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Milam, Stefanie N.

    2013-01-01

    Solar system objects are generally cold and radiate at low frequencies and tend to have strong molecular rotational transitions. Millimeter continuum and spectral line observations provide detailed information for nearly all solar system bodies. At these wavelengths, details of the bulk physical composition of icy surfaces, the size and albedo of small objects, the composition of planetary atmospheres can be measured as well as monitoring of time variable phenomena for extended periods (not restricted to nighttime observations), etc. Major issues in solar system science can be addressed by observations in the millimeter/sub-millimeter regime such as the origin of the solar system (isotope ratios, composition) and the evolution of solar system objects (dynamics, atmospheric constituents, etc). ALMA s exceptional sensitivity, large spectral bandwidth, high spectral resolution, and angular resolution (down to 10 milliarcsec) will enable researchers for the first time to better resolve the smallest bodies in the solar system and provide detailed maps of the larger objects. Additionally, measurements with nearly 8 GHz of instantaneous bandwidth to fully characterize solar system object s spectrum and detect trace species. The spatial information and line profiles can be obtained over 800 GHz of bandwidth in 8 receiver bands to not only assist in the identification of spectral lines and emission components for a given species but also to help elucidate the chemistry of the extraterrestrial bodies closest to us.

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