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The Taipan galaxy survey (hereafter simply ‘Taipan’) is a multi-object spectroscopic survey starting in 2017 that will cover 2π steradians over the southern sky (δ ≲ 10°, |b| ≳ 10°), and obtain optical spectra for about two million galaxies out to z < 0.4. Taipan will use the newly refurbished 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory with the new TAIPAN instrument, which includes an innovative ‘Starbugs’ positioning system capable of rapidly and simultaneously deploying up to 150 spectroscopic fibres (and up to 300 with a proposed upgrade) over the 6° diameter focal plane, and a purpose-built spectrograph operating in the range from 370 to 870 nm with resolving power R ≳ 2000. The main scientific goals of Taipan are (i) to measure the distance scale of the Universe (primarily governed by the local expansion rate, H0) to 1% precision, and the growth rate of structure to 5%; (ii) to make the most extensive map yet constructed of the total mass distribution and motions in the local Universe, using peculiar velocities based on improved Fundamental Plane distances, which will enable sensitive tests of gravitational physics; and (iii) to deliver a legacy sample of low-redshift galaxies as a unique laboratory for studying galaxy evolution as a function of dark matter halo and stellar mass and environment. The final survey, which will be completed within 5 yrs, will consist of a complete magnitude-limited sample (i ⩽ 17) of about 1.2 × 106 galaxies supplemented by an extension to higher redshifts and fainter magnitudes (i ⩽ 18.1) of a luminous red galaxy sample of about 0.8 × 106 galaxies. Observations and data processing will be carried out remotely and in a fully automated way, using a purpose-built automated ‘virtual observer’ software and an automated data reduction pipeline. The Taipan survey is deliberately designed to maximise its legacy value by complementing and enhancing current and planned surveys of the southern sky at wavelengths from the optical to the radio; it will become the primary redshift and optical spectroscopic reference catalogue for the local extragalactic Universe in the southern sky for the coming decade.
Fiber-fed multi-object systems are now the preferred instruments for gathering spectroscopic data on survey scales. The technique lends itself particularly well to telescopes with fields of 30 arcminutes or more. This paper gives a broad overview of the instrumental considerations involved in its implementation.
Among the most important stimuli for developing the FLAIR multi-object spectroscopy system on the 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope was its potential for carrying out large-scale redshift surveys of galaxies of intermediate magnitude (B <~ 17). During FLAIR’s lengthy development period, these objects provided the yardstick by which the system’s performance was measured, and a number of limited-area redshift surveys were carried out. We are now following these with a 1-in-3 survey over the 60 fields of the ROE/Durham Galaxy Catalogue to produce a redshift map of some 4000 galaxies out to a distance of ~ 300h−1 Mpc (where the parameter h is the Hubble constant expressed as a fraction of 100 kms−1 Mpc−1). In this paper we summarise the results from our redshift surveys to highlight the capabilities of FLAIR. We present a status report on the current large-scale survey, and show that the recently-introduced FLAIR II system will speed its progress considerably.
The four-fold advantage over a conventional 4 m reflector which naive information theory confers on the 1.2 m UK Schmidt telescope (Dawe and Watson 1982, Watson 1983) is only approachable in practice under certain rather specific conditions. These relate principally to the surface distribution on the sky of the object classes of interest, and the type of detection employed. Clearly, for general survey work with sky-limited photographic detection, the information advantage is high, but it can be demonstrated (Dawe and Watson 1983) that the relatively new technique of multi-object fibre-optics spectroscopy (eg Hill et al. 1980, 1982, Gray 1983, Lund and Enard 1983) with linear detectors offers very high potential in certain regimes of operation. In particular, the UK Schmidt telescope (UKST) equipped with 400 fibre channels has four times the effective light grasp (= number of fibres utilized × aperture) of a 4 m reflector (with a 1 deg field and equipped with any number of fibres) for target objects with surface densities between approximately 1 and 10 per square degree (Dawe and Watson 1983). Objects ranging from galactic variable stars to quasars lie within these limits, but of especial interest are galaxies, whose apparent luminosity function in this range of surface densities runs from magnitudes 15 to 17 (MacGillivray, private communication). Large-scale, medium accuracy (60 km s−1) redshift surveys of galaxies within this magnitude range promise to be extremely fruitful (Davis 1982) and are easily within the reach of the UKST fibre-coupled to a CCD spectrograph (Watson and Dawe 1984).
The ZZ Ceti stars form a class of variable white dwarfs: the hydrogen dominated atmosphere ones, which do pulsate in an instability strip in the effective temperature range 13000K-11500K. We know 22 such ZZ Ceti white dwarfs. Their variations are caused by nonradial g-mode pulsations with periods are in the range 100-1000 seconds.
A subsample of the ZZ Ceti stars shows amplitude variations on time scales of the order of one month. These variations could be driven by nonlinear phenomena.
Large Schmidt telescopes are peculiarly well-suited to multifibre spectroscopy. The extent to which the small aperture is compensated by the wide field is illustrated by the fact that the total photon throughput of the 1.2 m UK Schmidt Telescope (UKST) is almost identical to that of the 3.9 m Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) in its new 2-degree field (2dF) mode. In the implementation of the technique, Schmidt telescopes have a number of practical advantages, while there is no shortage of scientific problems that can be addressed. However, the instrumentation required to capitalize fully on this potential is costly and, because Schmidts are perceived as “small” telescopes with a specialist following, the required funding is likely to remain elusive.
We report on a redshift survey of ∼ 4000 galaxies of B ≲ covering a 1500 square degree area of sky around the SGP region. This 1-in-3 sampled survey probes a contiguous volume of 4 × 106 Mpc3 to a depth of 300 h−1 Mpc. The survey has been compiled using the fibrelinked spectroscopy system, FLAIR, on the UK Schmidt Telescope and has produced high quality redshift maps giving a clear visual picture of structure in the universe as well as providing an excellent data base for a statistical analysis of galaxy clustering. Filamentary and sheet-like features are clearly discernible to the eye in the completed sections of the survey although the redshift two-point correlation function is consistent with zero on scales of r ≳ 10h−1 Mpc. The survey, which is now substantially complete, demonstrates the potential of the FLAIR spectroscopy system for extending this project to a medium-deep galaxy redshift survey of the whole of the southern sky on timescales which would remain competitive with other surveys under construction.
The dynamic model Nitrogen Dynamics in Crop rotations in Ecological Agriculture (NDICEA) was used to assess the nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) balance of long-term organic cropping trials and typical organic crop rotations on a range of soil types and rainfall zones in the UK. The measurements of soil N taken at each of the organic trial sites were also used to assess the performance of NDICEA. The modeled outputs compared well to recorded soil N levels, with relatively small error margins. NDICEA therefore seems to be a useful tool for UK organic farmers. The modeling of typical organic rotations has shown that positive N balances can be achieved, although negative N balances can occur under high rainfall conditions and on lighter soil types as a result of leaching. The analysis and modeling also showed that some organic cropping systems rely on imported sources of P and K to maintain an adequate balance and large deficits of both nutrients are apparent in stockless systems. Although the K deficits could be addressed through the buffering capacity of minerals, the amount available for crop uptake will depend on the type and amount of minerals present, current cropping and fertilization practices and the climatic environment. A P deficit represents a more fundamental problem for the maintenance of crop yields and the organic sector currently relies on mined sources of P which represents a fundamental conflict with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements organic principles.
Engineered remediation technologies such as denitrifying bioreactors target single contaminants along a nutrient transfer continuum. However, mixed contaminant discharges to a water body are more common from agricultural systems. Indeed, evidence presented herein indicates that pollution swapping within denitrifying bioreactor systems adds to such deleterious discharges. The present paper proposes a more holistic approach to contaminant remediation on farms, moving from the use of ‘denitrifying bioreactors’ to the concept of a ‘permeable reactive interceptor’ (PRI). Besides management changes, a PRI should contain additional remediation cells for specific contaminants in the form of solutes, particles or gases. Balance equations and case studies representing different geographic areas are presented and used to create weighting factors. Results showed that national legislation with respect to water and gaseous emissions will inform the eventual PRI design. As it will be expensive to monitor a system continuously in a holistic manner, it is suggested that developments in the field of molecular microbial ecology are essential to provide further insight in terms of element dynamics and the environmental controls on biotransformation and retention processes within PRIs. In turn, microbial and molecular fingerprinting could be used as an in-situ cost-effective tool to assess nutrient and gas balances during the operational phases of a PRI.
Nitrification inhibitors are used in agriculture for the purpose of decreasing nitrogen (N) losses, by limiting the microbially mediated oxidation of ammonium (NH4+) to nitrate (NO3−). Successful inhibition of nitrification has been shown in numerous studies, but the extent to which inhibitors affect other N transformations in soil is largely unknown. In the present study, cattle slurry was applied to microcosms of three different grassland soils, with or without the nitrification inhibitor dicyandiamide (DCD). A solution containing NH4+ and NO3−, labelled with 15N either on the NH4+ or the NO3− part, was mixed with the slurry before application. Gross N transformation rates were estimated using a 15N tracing model. In all three soils, DCD significantly inhibited gross autotrophic nitrification, by 79–90%. Gross mineralization of recalcitrant organic N increased significantly with DCD addition in two soils, whereas gross heterotrophic nitrification from the same pool decreased with DCD addition in two soils. Fungal to bacterial ratios were not significantly affected by DCD addition. Total gross mineralization and immobilization increased significantly across the three soils when DCD was used, which suggests that DCD can cause non-target effects on soil N mineralization–immobilization turnover.
Oral administration of the nitrification inhibitor dicyandiamide (DCD) to ruminants for excretion in urine represents a targeted mitigation strategy to reduce nitrogen (N) losses from grazed pasture. A farmlet grazing study was undertaken to examine the environmental benefits of administering DCD in trough water to non-lactating Friesian dairy cows that consecutively grazed 12 replicated plots (each 627 m2 with a grazing intensity of up to 319 cows/ha/day) during two grazing rotations in the winter of 2007 in the Waikato region, New Zealand. Nitrate-N (NO3−-N) leaching losses were measured using ceramic cup samplers (600 mm soil depth) and gaseous emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O) were quantified using a static chamber technique in the DCD and control treatments. Administration of DCD in trough water had no effect on daily water intake by dairy cows, which averaged 15 and 18 l/cow/day for the June and August grazing rotations, respectively. This resulted in a mean daily DCD intake of 46 and 110 g/cow/day, respectively. The DCD farmlet had significantly lower NO3−-N concentrations in leachate at the last three samplings, which reduced total NO3−-N leaching losses by 40% (from 32·0 to 19·2 kg N/ha). The DCD treatment reduced N2O emission rates compared to the control treatment following the August grazing, resulting in a 45% reduction in total N2O emissions relative to the control treatment (from 0·49 to 0·27 kg N2O-N/ha). This preliminary study highlights the potential for administering ruminants with DCD as an effective mitigation option for reducing N losses from agricultural systems.
The Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO) is carrying out a survey as part of an international collaboration to image the northe, at a common resolution, in emission from all major constituents of the interstellar medium; the neutral atomic gas, the molecular gas, the ionised gas, dust and relativistic plasma. For many of these constituents the angular resolution of the images (1 arcmin) will be more than a factor of 10 better than any previous studies. The aim is to produce a publicly-available database of high resolution, high-dynamic range images of the Galaxy for multi-phase studies of the physical states and processes in the interstellar medium. We will sketch the main scientific motivations as well as describe some preliminary results from the Canadian Galactic Plane Survey/Releve Canadien du Plan Galactique (CGPS/RCPG).