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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.
SNP in the vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene is associated with risk of lower respiratory infections. The influence of genetic variation in the vitamin D pathway resulting in susceptibility to upper respiratory infections (URI) has not been investigated. We evaluated the influence of thirty-three SNP in eleven vitamin D pathway genes (DBP, DHCR7, RXRA, CYP2R1, CYP27B1, CYP24A1, CYP3A4, CYP27A1, LRP2, CUBN and VDR) resulting in URI risk in 725 adults in London, UK, using an additive model with adjustment for potential confounders and correction for multiple comparisons. Significant associations in this cohort were investigated in a validation cohort of 737 children in Manchester, UK. In all, three SNP in VDR (rs4334089, rs11568820 and rs7970314) and one SNP in CYP3A4 (rs2740574) were associated with risk of URI in the discovery cohort after adjusting for potential confounders and correcting for multiple comparisons (adjusted incidence rate ratio per additional minor allele ≥1·15, Pfor trend ≤0·030). This association was replicated for rs4334089 in the validation cohort (Pfor trend=0·048) but not for rs11568820, rs7970314 or rs2740574. Carriage of the minor allele of the rs4334089 SNP in VDR was associated with increased susceptibility to URI in children and adult cohorts in the United Kingdom.
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.
The visual surface brightness relation is applied to the determination of parallaxes of white dwarfs on the assumption, borne out by previous studies of white dwarfs of known parallax, that these show only a small range of linear diameters.
Approximately 2000 radial velocities of 88 classical Cepheids have been observed using a photoelectric radial velocity meter. During the same time interval, these same Cepheids were intensively observed in the BVRI bandpasses, as reported elsewhere in these proceedings. This provides a homogeneous set of phase-locked radial velocity and photometric data which are useful in several contexts. We present here a sample of these results which will be published in their entirety elsewhere.
We have used new BVRI photometry and radial velocities of a selection of bright classical Cepheids to determine their distances and radii through the surface brightness method. The improved photometry permitted, through the visual surface brightness relation, high-quality angular-diameter values for each Cepheid throughout its pulsation. The simultaneous radial velocities permitted the linear displacement curve to be phase-locked to the angular diameter variation. The results are individual distances and radii with considerably smaller uncertainty than could be obtained previously.
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.
We present a new, three-dimensional (3D) plotting library with advanced features, and support for standard and enhanced display devices. The library — s2plot — is written in c and can be used by c, c++, and fortran programs on GNU/Linux and Apple/OSX systems. s2plot draws objects in a 3D (x,y,z) Cartesian space and the user interactively controls how this space is rendered at run time. With a pgplot-inspired interface, s2plot provides astronomers with elegant techniques for displaying and exploring 3D data sets directly from their program code, and the potential to use stereoscopic and dome display devices. The s2plot architecture supports dynamic geometry and can be used to plot time-evolving data sets, such as might be produced by simulation codes. In this paper, we introduce s2plot to the astronomical community, describe its potential applications, and present some example uses of the library.
We demonstrate how interactive, three-dimensional (3D) scientific visualizations can be efficiently interchanged between a variety of mediums. Through the use of an appropriate interchange format, and a unified interaction interface, we minimize the effort to produce visualizations appropriate for undertaking knowledge discovery at the astronomer's desktop, as part of conference presentations, in digital publications or as Web content. We use examples from cosmological visualization to address some of the issues of interchange and to describe our approach to adapting s2plot desktop visualizations to the Web2.
The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is one of three Square Kilometre Array Precursor telescopes and is located at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in the Murchison Shire of the mid-west of Western Australia, a location chosen for its extremely low levels of radio frequency interference. The MWA operates at low radio frequencies, 80–300 MHz, with a processed bandwidth of 30.72 MHz for both linear polarisations, and consists of 128 aperture arrays (known as tiles) distributed over a ~3-km diameter area. Novel hybrid hardware/software correlation and a real-time imaging and calibration systems comprise the MWA signal processing backend. In this paper, the as-built MWA is described both at a system and sub-system level, the expected performance of the array is presented, and the science goals of the instrument are summarised.
A series of three lead borosilicate glasses were synthesized and analyzed for structural information with both 11B and 207Pb solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopic methods. Results showed that increasing lead content caused lead to take a more active role in the network as a former and that the populations in these sites can be approximately quantified. 207Pb phase-adjusted-spinning sidebands (PASS), 11B magic-angle spinning (MAS), and 11B multiple-quantum MAS (MQMAS) experiments were used to determine structural parameters for the two nuclei. The 207Pb PASS experiment showed that at higher lead content, more covalent bonding was present. This principle was demonstrated in both an overall shift of the spectral resonances and a quantitative change in site ratios. The 11B MAS experiment showed that the ratio of BO3 to BO4 units was dependent on the amount of lead and boron, consistent with previous studies. Preliminary 11B MQMAS experiments failed to detect any BO3– units, previously hypothesized to exist in this system.
Expanding interest in large-scale fabrication of electronic and photonic devices and in the scale-up of epitoxial growth reactors is creating the need for high quality large diameter InP substrate material. This paper will discuss the evaluating of three-inch diameter semi-insulating Fe-doped InP substrate material purchased from two commercial suppliers. The results of Photon Back Scatter, Infrared Transmission Microscopy, Hall Effect, and Spatially Resolved Photoluminescence measurements will be presented and evaluated.
We have examined the optical and transport properties of In.2Ga.8As/GaAs straled-kayer superlZotices (SLS's), which have been implanted either with 5 × 1015/cm2, 250keV Zn+ or with 5 × 1014/cm2, 70keV Be+ and annealed under an arsenic overpressure at 600 °C. For both cases, electrical activation in the implantation-doped regions equalled that of similar implants and anneals in bulk GaAs, even though the Be implant retained the SLS structure, while the Zn implant intermixed the SLS layers to produce an alloy semiconductor of the average SLS composition. Photoluminescence intensities in the annealed implanted regions were significantly reduced from that of virgin material, apparently due to residual implant damage. Diodes formed from both the Be- and the Zn-implanted SLS's produced electroluminescence intensity comparable to that of grown-junction SLS diodes in the same chemical system, despite the implantation processing and the potential for vertical lattice mismatch in the Zn-disordered SLS device. These results indicate that Zn-disordering can be as useful in strained-layer superlattices as in lattice-matched systems.