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This report from Commission 30 covers the salient areas in which major progress has been made in the triennium covered by the present volume. The principal scientific areas are: The Milky Way, star clusters, spectroscopic binaries, extrasolar planets, pulsating stars and stellar oscillations. Following these, an account is given of the progress in techniques and methodology for radial velocity determinations. Finally, a summary is given of the progress made by the working groups of the Commission, followed by a list of key papers in the triennium. A more extensive report also covering extragalactic work, which due to unforeseen circumstances could not be included here, can be found at the web page of Commission 30 (http://www.iau.org/IAU/Organization/divcom/).
IAU Division I includes Commission 4 (Ephemerides), Commission 7 (Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy), Commission 8 (Astrometry), Commission 19 (Rotation of the Earth) and Commission 31 (Time). The Division has in addition five Working Groups on, respectively, Future Development of Ground-Based Astrometry, Nomenclature for Fundamental Astrometry, Definition of Coordinated Universal Time, and Precession and the Ecliptic.
JPL continues to be active in creating ephemerides in support of spacecraft navigation as well as various other functions. Many of the products are available on web sites: (a) “Horizons”, the interactive web site, updated on an hourly basis, is located at http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov. As of August, 2005, it contains orbital elements and ephemerides for the sun and 9 planets, 150 natural satellites (including the Moon), 291, 655 asteroids, 1631 comets, and 34 Spacecraft. Horizons uses the full precision of the JPL DE405.
(b)JPL's Planetary and Lunar Ephemerides in “export” format are available via FTP from the Internet: ftp://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/pub/eph/export/ or on a CD-ROM: http://www.willbell.com/software/jpl.htm We advise to read the attached README.
(d)SPICE Toolkit is a subroutine package for experienced programmers who write their own main driving programs for astrometrical computations. SPICE is available at http://naif.jpl.nasa.gov/. It contains a large library of subroutines useful in reading SPICE format ephemeris files (SPK) and in computing many solar system observation geometry parameters associated with the various JPL solar system missions. Available in Fortran, C, and IDL for most popular computing platforms.
The orbital fits of multi-planetary systems from radial velocity data has proved to be a complex task. In some cases, different orbital solutions provide similarly good fits, especially when two planets are near mean-motion resonances. Ferraz-Mello et al (2005) and Goździewski et al (2005) showed that the published best fits of systems HD82932 and HD160691 are dynamically unstable, and re-determined their orbital parameters with Monte Carlo and genetic algorithms. In both cases dynamically stable orbits were found with RMS similar to the published orbits. It was also shown that uncertainties in the stellar mass Ferraz Mello et al (2005) and the stellar jitter Gozdziewski et al (2005) can significantly affect the orbital determination. Ford (2005) used a Markov chain Monte Carlo technique to quantify the orbit uncertainties. For some planetary systems he found a strong correlation between the orbital elements and/or significant non-Gaussian error distribution in the parameter space. As a consequence, the actual uncertainties in the orbital fits can be much larger (or smaller) than those published.
This triennial report from Commission 8 covers astrometry-related matters for objects ranging from Solar system bodies out to Milky Way stars and QSOs at cosmological distances. This enormous range of distances is needed to establish, maintain, and improve the metric of the visible Universe--a very challenging effort since everything is moving. The progress of astrometry in the last three years (2002-2005) is reflected here. To locate the references, the reader is advised to check the NASA ADS Astronomy Abstract Service and the expanded report posted at URL http://www.pha.jhu.edu/iau_comm8/comm8.html
The activities in scientific research related to Commission 19 are mostly developed in the different institutions that have sent their reports here enclosed, in the different meetings that have been organized in related themes, and in the WGs of the Division 1. An important additional activity has been developed in the frame of precession and nutation. This research has been initiated by the Descartes Prize received by the Nutation Consortium in 2003.
The most intensely discussed and controversial issue in time keeping has been the proposal before the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to redefine Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) so as to replace leap seconds by leap hours. Should this proposal be adopted, the practice of inserting leap seconds would cease after a specific date. Should the Earth's rotation continue to de-accelerate at its historical rate, the next discontinuity in UTC would be an hour inserted several centuries from now. Advocates of this proposal cite the need to synchronize satellite and other systems, such as GPS, Galileo, and GLONASS, which did not exist and were not envisioned when the current system was adopted. They note that leap second insertions can be and have been incorrectly implemented or accounted for. Such errors have to date had localized impact, but they could cause serious mishaps involving loss of life. For example, some GPS receivers have been known to fail simply because there was no leap second after a long enough interval, other GPS receivers failed because the leap second information was broadcast more than three months in advance, and some commercial software used for internet time-transfer Network Time Protocol (NTP) could either discard all data received after a leap second or interpret it as a frequency change. The ambiguity associated with the extra second could also disrupt financial accounting and certain forms of encryption. Those opposed to the proposal question the need for a change, and also point out the costs of adjusting to the proposed change and its inconvenience to amateur astronomers and others who rely upon astronomical calculations published in advance. Reports have been circulated that the cost of checking and correcting software to accommodate the new definition of UTC would be many millions of dollars for some systems. In October 2005 American Astronomical Society asked the ITU for a year's time to study the issue. This commission has supported the efforts of the IAU's Committee on the Leap Second to make an informed recommendation, and anticipates considerable discussion at the IAU's 26th General Assembly in 2006.
The working group “The Future Development of Ground-Based Astrometry” of the IAU Division 1, founded in 2000, continued its activity for the last triennium. Part of its results—meetings or programs—are presented here. The FDGBA web site is http://www.astro.ro/wg
A Division 1 Working Group on “Nomenclature for Fundamental Astronomy” (NFA) was formed at the 25th IAU GA in 2003 in order to provide proposals for the new nomenclature associated with the implementation of the IAU 2000 resolutions on reference systems. This WG is also intended to make related educational efforts for addressing the issue to the large community of scientists. The activities of the NFA WG since October 2003 have consisted of newsletters, questionnaires, detailed e-mail discussion, and the preparation of WG recommendations and guidelines which are supported by explanatory documents. The NFA documents have been discussed during international meetings in 2004 and 2005. A NFA WG resolution proposal will be submitted to the IAU 2006 GA as a supplement to the IAU 2000 resolutions. The NFA material has been made available on the NFA web Bite at: http://syrte.obspm.fr/iauWGnfa/.
The definition of UTC was implemented in 1972, principally to accommodate celestial navigation and follows recommendation 460 of the International Radio Consultative Committee (CCIR) in 1970. Since 1972 the use of electronic means to navigate has overtaken celestial navigation. This fact along with increasing public dissatisfaction with the possible disruption to modern electronic communications and navigation systems caused by the insertion of a leap second has called into question the current definition of UTC. An extensive review of the background and issues relating to the leap second can be found in Nelson, et al (2001).
The WG has conferred via email on the topics of providing a precession theory dynamically consistent with the IAU 2000A nutation theory and updating the expressions defining the ecliptic. The consensus of the WG is to recommend:
(a) The terms lunisolar precession and planetary precession be replaced by precession of the equator and precession of the ecliptic, respectively.
(b) The IAU adopt the P03 precession theory, of Capitaine et al (2003a, A& A 412, 567–586) for the precession of the equator (Eqs. 37) and the precession of the ecliptic (Eqs. 38); the same paper provides the polynomial developments for the P03 primary angles and a number of derived quantities for use in both the equinox based and celestial intermediate origin based paradigms.
(c) The choice of precession parameters be left to the user.
(d) The recommended polynomial coefficients for a number of precession angles are given in Table 1 of the WG report, including the P03 expressions set out in Tables 3–;5 of Capitaine et al (2005, A& A 432, 355–;367), and those of the alternative Fukushima (2003, AJ 126, 494–;534) parameterization; the corresponding matrix representations are given in equations 1, 6, 11, and 22 of the WG report.
(e) The ecliptic pole should be explicitly defined by the mean orbital angular momentum vector of the Earth-Moon barycenter in an inertial reference frame, and this definition should be explicitly stated to avoid confusion with older definitions. The formal WG report will be submitted, shortly to Celest. Mech. for publication and their recommendations will be submitted at the next General Assembly for adoption by the IAU.
Division II of the IAU provides a forum for astronomers studying a wide range of phenomena related to the structure, radiation and activity of the Sun, and its interaction with the Earth and the rest of the solar system. Division II encompasses three Commissions, 10, 12 and 49, and four working groups. During the last triennia the activities of the division involved some reorganization of the division and its working groups, developing new procedures for election of division and commission officers, promoting annual meetings from within the division and evaluating all the proposed meetings, evaluating the division's representatives for the IAU to international scientific organizations, and participating in general IAU business.
Commission 10 aims at the study of various forms of solar activity, including networks, plages, pores, spots, fibrils, surges, jets, filaments/prominences, coronal loops, flares, coronal mass ejections (CMEs), solar cycle, microflares, nanoflares, coronal heating etc., which are all manifestation of the interplay of magnetic fields and solar plasma. Increasingly important is the study of solar activities as sources of various disturbances in the interplanetary space and near-Earth “space weather”.
Over the past three years a major component of research on the active Sun has involved data from the RHESSI spacecraft. This review starts with an update on current and planned solar observations from spacecraft. The discussion of solar flares gives emphasis to new results from RHESSI, along with updates on other aspects of flares. Recent progress on two theoretical concepts, magnetic reconnection and magnetic helicity is then summarized, followed by discussions of coronal loops and heating, the magnetic carpet and filaments. The final topic discussed is coronal mass ejections and space weather.
The discussions on each topic is relatively brief, and intended as an outline to put the extensive list of references in context.
The review was prepared jointly by the members of the Organizing Committee, and the names of the primary contributors to the various sections are indicated in parentheses.
Commission 12 covers research on the internal structure and dynamics of the Sun, the “quiet” solar atmosphere, solar radiation and its variability, and the nature of relatively stable magnetic structures like sunspots, faculae and the magnetic network. There is considerable productive overlap with the other Commissions of Division II as investigations move progressively toward the fertile intellectual boundaries between traditional research disciplines. In large part, the solar magnetic field provides the linkage that connects these diverse themes. The same magnetic field that produces the more subtle variations of solar structure and radiative output over the 11 yr activity cycle is also implicated in rapid and often violent phenomena such as flares, coronal mass ejections, prominence eruptions, and episodes of sporadic magnetic reconnection.
The last three years have again brought significant progress in nearly all the research endeavors touched upon by the interests of Commission 12. The underlying causes for this success remain the same: sustained advances in computing capabilities coupled with diverse observations with increasing levels of spatial, temporal and spectral resolution. It is all but impossible to deal with these many advances here in anything except a cursory and selective fashion. Thankfully, the Living Reviews in Solar Physicsacute; has published several extensive reviews over the last two years that deal explicitly with issues relevant to the purview of Commission 12. The reader who is eager for a deeper and more complete understanding of some of these advances is directed to http://www.livingreviews.org for access to these articles.
Commission 49 covers research on the solar wind, shocks and particle acceleration, both transient and steady-state, e.g., corotating, structures within the heliosphere, and the termination shock and boundary of the heliosphere. During the last three years there was considerable progress made in studies of solar energetic particles, compositional and other signatures in the heliosphere, solar wind pickup ions, the termination shock, which was finally crossed by a spacecraft, and the boundary between the heliosphere and interstellar medium, and in solar wind modeling and space weather. These topics have been summarized here in five articles, each with extensive references that will guide the reader who wants further details. Observations from the following spacecraft have extensively used during this period: Ulysses, Cassini, Voyager 1 and 2, MESSENGER, ACE, Genesis, SOHO, Wind, and RHESSI.
The report of Commission 15 was prepared primarily by the chairpersons of its two working groups: the Minor Planet Working Group and the Comet Working Group. In particular, the Minor Planet section was created by A. Cellino with a little help from E. Tedesco and the Comet section by T. Yamamoto with the assistance of D. Bockelée-Morvan, W. Huebner, A. Bhardwaj, D. Biesecker, L. Jorda, H. Kawakita, H. U. Keller, H. Kimura, A. Kouchi, and D. Prialnik. E. Tedesco was responsible for the Introduction, final editing, and merging of the two reports.
This report is a brief summary of some of the major achievements in studies of planets and satellites that have been accomplished during the years 2003–2005. Unlike previous years, we do not attempt to provide a detailed overview of the field but rather choose to highlight aspects which are of particular novelty.
The past triennium has continued to see a huge influx of astrometric positions of small solar system bodies provided by near-Earth object (NEO) surveys. As a result, the size of the orbital databases of all populations of small solar system bodies continues to increase dramatically, and this in turn allows finer and finer analyses of the types of motion in various regions of the orbital elements space.
Commission 21, one of IAU's smallest commissions, consists of some hundred members and consultants working to understand and describe the light of the night sky with emphasis on the diffuse components. Many more work on these topics without being members of the commission. Light is here defined in its broader sense of electromagnetic radiation of any frequency. The diffuse components of the light of the night sky encompass a variety of physical phenomena over the full range of cosmic distance scales and include scattered light, thermal emission, line emission, and any other emission phenomena producing a diffuse light source. These attract interest not only as scientific topics of study in their own right but also as an unwanted foreground or background against which all other sky phenomena are observed. Commission 21 has for mandate to promote research and availability of results on issues related to the diffuse light of the night sky. This document is a report on activities in this field and is not confined to the activities of its members, no distinction is made between work carried out by commission members and non commission members. The report is organized starting with a summary of the state of broad surveys that provide most of the observations. The report on developments in the various disciplines start with the sources closest to the observer known as airglow and progresses by way of the interplanetary and interstellar mediums to the increasingly distant integrated starlight, diffuse galactic light and diffuse emission in other galaxies ending with the extragalactic background radiation.
There have been three international meetings where the subject area of the meeting was to significant extent within the area of interest of commission 22. These were: The Meteoroids 2004 Conference was held at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada from August 15 to 21, 2004. This conference was the fifth in a series of meteoroid meetings which have been held approximately every three years since 1992, the previous one being in Kiruna, Sweden in 2001. Ingrid Mann chaired a scientific organizing committee which set the program for the conference. The meeting brought together scientists from more than twenty countries, to deliver 84 oral and 38 poster presentations. The papers represented the research contributions of more than 150 different scientists. The conference provided a comprehensive overview of leading edge research on topics ranging from the dynamics, sources and distribution of meteoroids, their chemistry and their physical processes in the interplanetary medium and the Earthõs atmosphere, and space and laboratory studies of meteorites, micrometeorites and interplanetary dust were also well represented. It was clear from the conference that the coordinated international campaigns for the Leonid showers provided a rich observational dataset and lead to the development of new observational and analysis techniques. Another trend obvious at the conference was the increasing use of sophisticated large aperture radars for meteor studies. High performance computing facilitates both dynamical model calculations and sophisticated ablation models. Significant progress was reported on ablation models for meteoroids ranging from dust to those producing bright fireballs. Study of solid particles entering the solar system from interstellar space and improved dust measuring capabilities on interplanetary spacecraft are an important research area which links astrophysical dust with solar system dust. The majority of papers presented at the conference (a total of 69 papers) are being published as a special issue of the journal Earth, Moon, and Planets (Vol. 95, Nos. 1–4) and also in the form of an associated book published by Springer: Modern Meteor Science: An Interdisciplinary View which was edited by R.Hawkes, I. Mann and P. Brown (ISBN 1-4020-4374-0). The book will be accompanied by a CD-ROM which includes a selection of conference photographs and the complete abstracts of all papers from the conference. As is reflected in the title of the spin-off book, this field is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary in nature, with researchers from astronomy, astrophysics, space science, space engineering, cosmochemistry, atmospheric science and geophysics, as well as others, now contributing to research in the field.