Hello to all,
this post is the first in a series of “reviews” of some things I have found, read, or heard on the web and through my scientific monitoring. If I found it interesting, you might as well, so I'll do like every good scientist does: share and enjoy!
The big news of this week is of course the successful awakening of ESA's comet chaser : Rosetta (fr)/(en)!
I was following intensively the event on Twitter (#WakeUpRosetta), and it was already tense. But if you want to watch the full media briefings and videos on that day to feel even more the tension, ESA has set a playlist on Youtube for you.
The LATMOS is quite involved in Rosetta with 7 instruments:
On the orbiter:
- ALICE : UV spectro-imager
- CONSERT (Comet Nucleus Sounding Experiment by Radiowave Transmission) : Hyperfrequency souding of the comet's nucleus
- MIDAS : Microscope to study the dusts
- OSIRIS : Visible camera
- ROSINA : Neutral and ionized gases spectrometer
- COSAC : Mass spectrometer and chromatograph
- SESAME/PP : Electro-acoustic sensor
CONSERT being concieved, developed and tested by the LATMOS.
So you can easily imagine that the “beep” from Rosetta was well received here, in particular for some PhD students working on it!
If you know me (or if you read this) you know that Venus is my thing. And there is some news on Venus science to comment.
The article is about gravity waves, those waves generated by oscillations of air masses. Gravity waves are present on Earth but also on Venus and in both cases they can be triggered by topography, like when an air mass goes up and down a mountain.
This article explains in more details the waves and how they are observed on Venus with instruments from Venus Express (VMC, VeRa) and how they are connected to the topography of Venus.
Plus, it features a friend of mine, Arianna Piccialli who works here in LATMOS!
It is difficult to tell how useful polarization can be when it comes to planetary atmospheres. I use it to characterize the clouds of Venus, but it can also be used on other planets, even out of our solar system.
Polarization can be used in exoplanetary detection because the light of a star is not polarized, although the light scattered in the atmosphere of a host planet is polarized! Therefore, the polarized planet is easier to disentangle from the star signal.
Furthermore, the degree of polarization depends on the properties of the scatterer, whether it is molecules in a clear atmosphere or larger particles in clouds. That's right: you can detect and characterize clouds on a exoplanet with polarimetry! And nowadays new observational programs are prepared in order to use this technique, coupled with the advance in adaptive optics. In particular, the SPHERE (fr)(en) instrument, being mounted and tested on the VLT. But this video summarizes quite well what it is all about.
I shall mention that a very nice and interesting community works within the COST action “Polarization as a tool to study the solar system and beyond” and I'm looking forward to collaborating even more with them…