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The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
Blood samples from normal and Plasmodium berghei infected mice are being analyzed for trace elements by charged particle induced x-rays. Approximately 0.25 ml of the sample (whole blood, washed red cells, or plasma) is dry ashed. The ashes are mounted on a 0.003 inch Kapton foil. The analysis is performed by bombardment of the samples by a beam of 2.0 MeV protons and detection of the characteristic x-rays by a 175-eV-resolution lithium-drifted silicon detector. The data are analyzed by an on-line PDP-9 computer-based data acquisition system. Results indicate an increase in the K, Ca, Cu, and Zn per unit volume of the red cells of the malaria infected mice relative to the amounts measured for uninfected blood, and a decrease in the K, Ca, and Fe and an increase in the Cu per unit volume in the plasma of the infected mice.
The confinement of heat in the core of a magnetic fusion reactor is optimised using a multidimensional optimisation algorithm. For the first time in such a study, the loss of heat due to turbulence is modelled at every stage using first-principles nonlinear simulations which accurately capture the turbulent cascade and large-scale zonal flows. The simulations utilise a novel approach, with gyrofluid treatment of the small-scale drift waves and gyrokinetic treatment of the large-scale zonal flows. A simple near-circular equilibrium with standard parameters is chosen as the initial condition. The figure of merit, fusion power per unit volume, is calculated, and then two control parameters, the elongation and triangularity of the outer flux surface, are varied, with the algorithm seeking to optimise the chosen figure of merit. A twofold increase in the plasma power per unit volume is achieved by moving to higher elongation and strongly negative triangularity.
The large-amplitude δ Scuti star CY Aqr was observed from sites in the U.S.A., South Africa and Australia during August 1988. Coates et al. (1991) published 48 new times of maximum light derived from these observations and assembled, from the literature, previous times of maximum light. It is clear that the period of the star is changing with the balance of evidence favouring discrete changes in 1951 and 1966, rather than a continuous change.
It has been suggested by Fitch (1973) and Else (1972), from an analysis of the observations of Zissell (1968), that there is a secondary frequency present in CY Aqr. Coates et al. (1992) have analysed both the 1988 observations and those of Zissell. After subtracting the primary frequency and its harmonics, they find no stable secondary frequency above the noise level of two millimagnitudes.
We compare the results of using a Random Forest Classifier with the results of using Nonparametric Discriminant Analysis to classify whether a filament channel (in the case of a filament eruption) or an active region (in the case of a flare) is about to produce an event. A large number of descriptors are considered in each case, but it is found that only a small number are needed in order to get most of the improvement in performance over always predicting the majority class. There is little difference in performance between the two classifiers, and neither results in substantial improvements over simply predicting the majority class.
Radio survey datasets comprise an increasing number of individual observations stored as sets of multidimensional data. In large survey projects, astronomers commonly face limitations regarding: 1) interactive visual analytics of sufficiently large subsets of data; 2) synchronous and asynchronous collaboration; and 3) documentation of the discovery workflow. To support collaborative data inquiry, we present encube, a large-scale comparative visual analytics framework. encube can utilise advanced visualization environments such as the CAVE2 (a hybrid 2D and 3D virtual reality environment powered with a 100 Tflop/s GPU-based supercomputer and 84 million pixels) for collaborative analysis of large subsets of data from radio surveys. It can also run on standard desktops, providing a capable visual analytics experience across the display ecology. encube is composed of four primary units enabling compute-intensive processing, advanced visualisation, dynamic interaction, parallel data query, along with data management. Its modularity will make it simple to incorporate astronomical analysis packages and Virtual Observatory capabilities developed within our community. We discuss how encube builds a bridge between high-end display systems (such as CAVE2) and the classical desktop, preserving all traces of the work completed on either platform – allowing the research process to continue wherever you are.
This article explores the three-dimensional flow structure of a streamwise-oriented vortex incident on a finite aspect-ratio wing. The vertical positioning of the incident vortex relative to the wing is shown to have a significant impact on the unsteady flow structure. A direct impingement of the streamwise vortex produces a spiralling instability in the vortex just upstream of the leading edge, reminiscent of the helical instability modes of a Batchelor vortex. A small negative vertical offset develops a more pronounced instability while a positive vertical offset removes the instability altogether. These differences in vertical position are a consequence of the upstream influence of pressure gradients provided by the wing. Direct impingement or a negative vertical offset subject the vortex to an adverse pressure gradient that leads to a reduced axial velocity and diminished swirl conducive to hydrodynamic instability. Conversely, a positive vertical offset removes instability by placing the streamwise vortex in line with a favourable pressure gradient, thereby enhancing swirl and inhibiting the growth of unstable modes. In every case, the helical instability only occurs when the properties of the incident vortex fall within the instability threshold predicted by linear stability theory. The influence of pressure gradients associated with separation and stall downstream also have the potential to introduce suction-side instabilities for a positive vertical offset. The influence of the wing is more severe for larger vortices and diminishes with vortex size due to weaker interaction and increased viscous stability. Helical instability is not the only possible outcome in a direct impingement. Jet-like vortices and a higher swirl ratio in wake-like vortices can retain stability upon impact, resulting in the laminar vortex splitting over either side of the wing.
We have developed an algorithm to search the COSMOS/UKST Southern Sky Object Catalogue for compact groups of galaxies, with the aim of finding regions of high mass-to-light ratio. With this catalogue, and quantitative criteria, we select groups objectively and therefore hope to improve upon earlier visual searches. We use a density enhancement measure to define a compact group.
We have made a preliminary search of 15 Schmidt fields (total area ∼ 390 deg2), finding 58 compact groups, ie. a mean density of 0.15 compact groups deg−2. In this paper we present finding charts and images of some of the compact groups found.
The Murchison Widefield Array is a Square Kilometre Array Precursor. The telescope is located at the Murchison Radio–astronomy Observatory in Western Australia. The MWA consists of 4 096 dipoles arranged into 128 dual polarisation aperture arrays forming a connected element interferometer that cross-correlates signals from all 256 inputs. A hybrid approach to the correlation task is employed, with some processing stages being performed by bespoke hardware, based on Field Programmable Gate Arrays, and others by Graphics Processing Units housed in general purpose rack mounted servers. The correlation capability required is approximately 8 tera floating point operations per second. The MWA has commenced operations and the correlator is generating 8.3 TB day−1 of correlation products, that are subsequently transferred 700 km from the MRO to Perth (WA) in real-time for storage and offline processing. In this paper, we outline the correlator design, signal path, and processing elements and present the data format for the internal and external interfaces.
Loss of cortical volume in frontotemporal regions occurs in patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP) and longitudinal studies have reported progressive brain volume changes at different stages of the disease, even if cognitive deficits remain stable over time. We investigated cortical changes in patients over the 2 years following their FEP and their associations with clinical and cognitive measures.
Twenty-seven patients after their FEP (20 with schizophrenia, seven with schizo-affective disorder) and 25 healthy controls matched for age and gender participated in this study. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed on a 1.5-T scanner both at baseline and after 2 years. Area and thickness of the cortex were measured using surface-based morphometry (SBM). Patients also underwent neuropsychological testing at these two time points.
Progressive cortical thinning in the superior and inferior frontal and, to a lesser extent, superior temporal cortex was observed in patients. Cortical area remained constant. Cortical thinning was associated with duration of treatment at a trend level and was predicted by baseline measures of IQ and working memory. Cortical thinning occurred in the absence of clinical or cognitive deterioration.
The clinical implications of these cortical changes remain uncertain, but patients with less cognitive reserve may be more vulnerable to developing cortical abnormalities when exposed to medication or other disease-related biological factors.
The Millimetre Astronomy Legacy Team 90 GHz (MALT90) survey aims to characterise the physical and chemical evolution of high-mass star-forming clumps. Exploiting the unique broad frequency range and on-the-fly mapping capabilities of the Australia Telescope National Facility Mopra 22 m single-dish telescope1, MALT90 has obtained 3′ × 3′ maps towards ~2 000 dense molecular clumps identified in the ATLASGAL 870 μm Galactic plane survey. The clumps were selected to host the early stages of high-mass star formation and to span the complete range in their evolutionary states (from prestellar, to protostellar, and on to
regions and photodissociation regions). Because MALT90 mapped 16 lines simultaneously with excellent spatial (38 arcsec) and spectral (0.11 km s−1) resolution, the data reveal a wealth of information about the clumps’ morphologies, chemistry, and kinematics. In this paper we outline the survey strategy, observing mode, data reduction procedure, and highlight some early science results. All MALT90 raw and processed data products are available to the community. With its unprecedented large sample of clumps, MALT90 is the largest survey of its type ever conducted and an excellent resource for identifying interesting candidates for high-resolution studies with ALMA.
Four years into the Kepler mission, an updated review on the results for RR Lyrae stars is in order. More than 50 RR Lyrae stars in the Kepler field are observed with Kepler and each one of them can provide us with new insight into this class of pulsating stars. Ground-based spectroscopy of the Kepler targets allows us to narrow down their physical parameters. Previously, we already reported a 50% occurrence rate of modulation in the RRab stars, a large variety of modulation behavior, period doubling in several Blazhko stars, the detection of higher- overtone radial modes, probable non-radial modes and new types of multiple-mode RR Lyrae pulsators, among both the RRab and the RRc stars. In addition, the quasi-continuous photometry obtained over several years with Kepler allows one to observe changes in Blazhko behavior and additional longer cycles. These observations have sparked new theoretical modelling efforts. In this short paper we showcase RR Lyr itself. The star has been observed with Kepler in short cadence, and some remarkable features of its pulsation behavior are unveiled in this long-studied prototype, through the Kepler photometry and additional spectroscopic data.
Desiccation following prolonged air exposure challenges survival of aquatic plants during droughts, water drawdowns, and overland dispersal. To improve predictions of plant response to air exposure, we observed the viability of vegetative fragments of 10 aquatic plant species (Cabomba caroliniana, Ceratophyllum demersum, Elodea canadensis, Egeria densa, Myriophyllum aquaticum, Myriophyllum heterophyllum, Myriophyllum spicatum, Potamogeton crispus, Potamogeton richardsonii, and Hydrilla verticillata) following desiccation. We recorded mass loss, desiccation rate, and plant fragment survival across a range of air exposures. Mass loss accurately predicted viability of aquatic plant fragments upon reintroduction to water. However, similar periods of air exposure differentially affected viability between species. Understanding viability following desiccation can contribute to predicting dispersal, improving eradication protocols, and disposing of aquatic plants following removal from invaded lakes or contaminated equipment.
Significant new opportunities for astrophysics and cosmology have been identified at low radio frequencies. The Murchison Widefield Array is the first telescope in the southern hemisphere designed specifically to explore the low-frequency astronomical sky between 80 and 300 MHz with arcminute angular resolution and high survey efficiency. The telescope will enable new advances along four key science themes, including searching for redshifted 21-cm emission from the EoR in the early Universe; Galactic and extragalactic all-sky southern hemisphere surveys; time-domain astrophysics; and solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric science and space weather. The Murchison Widefield Array is located in Western Australia at the site of the planned Square Kilometre Array (SKA) low-band telescope and is the only low-frequency SKA precursor facility. In this paper, we review the performance properties of the Murchison Widefield Array and describe its primary scientific objectives.
Tomography is a standard and invaluable technique that covers a large range of length scales. It gives access to the inner morphology of specimens and to the three-dimensional (3D) distribution of physical quantities such as elemental composition, crystalline phases, oxidation state, or strain. These data are necessary to determine the effective properties of investigated heterogeneous media. However, each tomographic technique relies on severe sampling conditions and physical principles that require the sample to be adequately shaped. For that purpose, a wide range of sample preparation techniques is used, including mechanical machining, polishing, sawing, ion milling, or chemical techniques. Here, we focus on the basics of tomography that justify such advanced sample preparation, before reviewing and illustrating the main techniques. Performances and limits are highlighted, and we identify the best preparation technique for a particular tomographic scale and application. The targeted tomography techniques include hard X-ray micro- and nanotomography, electron nanotomography, and atom probe tomography. The article mainly focuses on hard condensed matter, including porous materials, alloys, and microelectronics applications, but also includes, to a lesser extent, biological considerations.
The HI content of Hickson Compact Groups in the southern hemisphere is measured using data from the HI Parkes All-Sky Survey (HIPASS), and dedicated observations using the narrow band filter on the Multibeam instrument on the Parkes telescope. The expected HI mass of these groups was estimated using the luminosity, diameter, and morphological types of the member galaxies, calibrated from published data. Taking careful account of non-detection limits, the results show that the compact group population that has been detected by these observations has an HI content similar to that of galaxies in the reference field sample. The upper limits for the undetected groups lie within the normal range; improvement of these limits will require a large increase in sensitivity.