AOP Solar and Planetary Studies: Consolidated Grant 2018 - 2021

Lead Research Organisation: Armagh Observatory and Planetarium
Department Name: Astronomy

Abstract

This research combines studies of our Sun and Solar System.

The most ubiquitous jets in the solar chromosphere are spicules which have the potential to play a major role in the mass and energy balance of the corona and solar wind. We currently do not understand the mechanism(s) responsible for the formation and heating of these features, the role of the magnetic field in their time evolution or their full impact on the chromospheric mass and energy balance. None of the many theoretical models available can simultaneously explain the ubiquity, speeds, heating and dynamical evolution of spicules. This proposal seeks PDRA funding to use high-resolution observations from the Swedish Solar Telescope and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope. To properly constrain models and settle these outstanding issues, we need to know the magnetic field structure, flows and thermodynamic conditions in and around spicules. We wish to build on our detection of high-frequency waves in chromospheric spicular features and to explore more deeply the link between intensity and horizontal velocity oscillations which could be due to coupling of compressive and non-compressive waves and the interaction of the flux tube with its neighbours.

In planetary science we seek to understand the origin of our planetary system, the evolution of the small bodies - comets and asteroids - within it and how these are related to the emergence of life on our planet. The new techniques we will develop (PDRA 1) to interpret spectra of polarised sunlight scattered off solid surfaces and from atmospheres will help us understand better the composition of solar system bodies, including primitive objects rich in water and organics, and how these evolve over time. We will study asteroids near the orbit of the Earth (PDRA 2), seeking clues to the origin and early evolution of our planet and how it acquired the ingredients necessary for life to begin. Not only are there compelling scientific reasons to study such objects and their interrelationships with each other, but the accumulated wealth of new information also strengthens the UK's position as a partner in the global effort to explore our solar system.

Planned Impact

AOP follows a multi-pronged approach in delivering its impact plan.

Our scientific research feeds directly into fundamental questions of interest to the scientific community about how the solar system and the Earth formed, the development of life, the workings of the Sun and its impact on Earth's environment.
The same research has a wide range of applications across the different astronomical disciplines and to industry (eg polarimetry). Our continuing programme of investing in new instrumentation and detector technologies enhances the UK's technological competitiveness and enables our students to develop the skills sought by industry. Our programme of public engagement, recently enhanced by strengthening ties with the nearby Armagh Planetarium, widens public understanding of science for all and inspires people to follow careers in science.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Collaboration with Dr Maxime Devogele (Lowell Observatory, Arizona, USA) 
Organisation Lowell Observatory
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We provided spectral observations of asteroids obtained by the Very Large Telescope (VLT).
Collaborator Contribution Dr Devogele made available to us his s/w tool to spectrally match asteroid composition to mixtures of different constituent minerals.
Impact Paper co-authored by Dr Devogele and ourselves, submitted for publication
Start Year 2019
 
Description Collaboration with Dr Nikolaos Georgakarakos (New York Univ. Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, UAE) 
Organisation New York University Abu Dhabi
Country United Arab Emirates 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution In this collaboration, we prepared and ran a set of test particle simulations to understand the stability of Earth Trojan asteroids over billions of yr.
Collaborator Contribution Through this collaboration, NYU-AD made HPC resources available to us for running the simulations. Many of these runs have now concluded and we are now in the paper writing-up phase.
Impact The collaboration has yielded models of asteroid stability in the vicinity of the Earth's orbit.
Start Year 2018
 
Title Asteroid Discovery Simulator v1 
Description Software written in C that simulates the discovery of asteroids in specific orbits. This version focuses on Mars Trojan (MT) asteroids, ie those sharing their orbit with Mars's. This is used to estimate the current observational completeness of the MT population in a forthcoming publication (Christou et al, Icarus, submitted, 2019). This version of the s/w with form the basis for a forthcoming version, v2, to simulate discovery efficiency of asteroids co-orbital with the Earth and quantify the observational bias against finding these objects. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2018 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact The s/w is a necessary step towards achieving the objectives of the STFC project. It is self-contained, not requiring access to other proprietary or pay-to-use s/w tools eg IDLand can be easily repurposed by the user to apply to different groups of asteroid orbits. So far, it has bene used to estimate the current observational completeness of Martian Trojan asteroids in our 2020 Icarus publication. 
 
Description "Earth's blind spot: A closer look at observational biases for Earth coorbital asteroids", 15th Europlanet Science Congress 2021, held virtually, 13-24 September 2021. Online at https://www.epsc2021.eu/, id. EPSC2021-92 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact SSS
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2021EPSC...15...92C/abstract
 
Description "Earth's missing Trojans: Lessons from Mars and the role of radiation forces", DDA 50, Boulder, CO, USA, 10 June 2019. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact "Earth's missing Trojans: Lessons from Mars and the role of radiation forces", Oral presentation at 50th annual meeting of AAS DDA, Boulder, CO, USA, 10 June 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2019DDA....5010006C/abstract
 
Description "Earth's missing coorbitals", European Planetary Science Congress 2018, Berlin, Germany, 18 September 2018. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact "Earth's missing coorbitals", Oral presentation at European Planetary Science Congress 2018, Berlin, Germany, 18 September 2018.
In advance of this talk I was invited by a reporter - Mr Guido Meyer - to give a interview on the subject for German and Austrian Public radio.
Furthermore, this activity resulted in a collaboration with Dr Nikos Georgarakos (New York University Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, UAE) to explore the longevity of Earth Trojan asteroids with many-particle numerical simulations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2018EPSC...12..118C/abstract
 
Description "Near Earth Asteroid research at Armagh", UK NEA Community Meeting, Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, 26 Feb 2019. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact "Near Earth Asteroid research at Armagh", Oral presentation at UK NEA Community Meeting, Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, 26 Feb 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description "The Martian Trojan asteroids: a natural experiment in asteroid evolution", Lund Observatory, Lund, Sweden, 26 September 2019. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact "The Martian Trojan asteroids: a natural experiment in asteroid evolution", Departmental seminar, Lund Observatory, Lund, Sweden,
26 September 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description "The Martian Trojan asteroids: a natural experiment in asteroid evolution", Paris Observatory, Paris, France, 9 December 2019. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact "The Martian Trojan asteroids: a natural experiment in asteroid evolution", Departental seminar, Paris Observatory, Paris, France,
9 December 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description "The Martian Trojans and the closest asteroid family to the Sun", IAU General Assembly, "A Century of Asteroid Families" Focus Meeting (FM1), Vienna, Austria, 29 August 2018. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Oral presentation at IAU Focus Meeting (FM1), Vienna, Austria, 29 August 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://astronomy2018.univie.ac.at/abstractsFM01/#FM01abstr32
 
Description "The Martian Trojans, a dynamic population of asteroids at 1.5 au from the Sun", Irish National Astronomy Meeting (INAM) 2019, Armagh, UK, 04 September 2019. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact "The Martian Trojans, a dynamic population of asteroids at 1.5 au from the Sun",Oral presentation at the Irish National Astronomy
Meeting (INAM) 2019, Armagh, UK, 04 September 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description "The lunar-like mineralogy of the Martian Trojan asteroid (101429) 1998 VF31", EPSC-DPS Joint Meeting 2019, Geneva, Switzerland, 20 September 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Oral presentation at EPSC-DPS Joint Meeting, Geneva, Switzerland, 20 September 2019. Delivered by G. Borisov, STFC project PDRA.
This activity attracted a new collaborator to ourSTFC project, Dr Maxime Devogele (U. Arizona, USA). Dr Devogele brings expertise on spectral
fitting techniques as a tool to understand asteroid surface composition. A paper co-authored by Dr Devogele and ourselves has been submitted for publication.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2019EPSC...13.1254B/abstract
 
Description 1998 VF31, cet astéroïde troyen de Mars a quelque chose de lunaire, Ciel et Espace, 19 November 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Article inspired by research paper (Christou et al, Icarus, 2021).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.cieletespace.fr/actualites/1998-vf31-cet-asteroide-troyen-de-mars-a-quelque-chose-de-lun...
 
Description New moon? Scientists claim the Earth's satellite may have a 'dead ringer', Pass notes, The Guardian, 4 November 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact News reporting of research results (Christou et al, Icarus, 2021)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.theguardian.com/science/shortcuts/2020/nov/04/new-moon-scientists-claim-the-earths-satel...
 
Description Radio interview, BBC Radio Oxford, 4 November 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interview in relation to research paper
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Scientists find Moon-like asteroid hiding behind Mars, UKRI News, 5 November 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Press release based on results reported in research paper (Christou et al, icarus, 2021)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.ukri.org/news/scientists-find-moon-like-asteroid-hiding-behind-mars/
 
Description Scientists over the Moon after finding its sibling, The Times, 4 November 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact News reporting of research results (Christou et al, Icarus, 2021)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/scientists-over-the-moon-after-finding-its-sibling-m9k2hqbtp#:~:t...
 
Description The Martian Trojan asteroids: a natural experiment in asteroid evolution, Astrophysics Research Centre, Queens University Belfast, 02 Dec, 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Seminar at the Astrophysics Research Centre, Queens University Belfast delivered by myself.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://star.pst.qub.ac.uk/wiki/doku.php/public/seminars
 
Description The Martian Trojans: A compositional census, Equipe Théorie et Observations en Planétologie (TOP), Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, 21 January 2021 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Seminar at the Obs. Cote d Azur in Nice, France showcasing project results, including our 2021 Icarus paper
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description The Moon's long-lost twin may have been found, The Independent, 4 November 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact News reporting of research results (Christou et al, Icarus, 2021)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/moon-long-lost-twin-mars-armagh-observator...
 
Description Trojans Near Us: Ageless companions to the terrestrial planets, Astronomical Society of Ireland, Virtual Seminar, 02 November 2021 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact SSS
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://twitter.com/AstroSocIreland/status/1453786680490594305