Gaia, ready to characterize one billion stars
The Milky Way Shines on Paranal
ESA decides on next Large Mission Concepts
The Gravitational Universe will be one of the two science themes to be explored by ESA's next two Large (L-class) missions –this was decided today by ESA´s Science Programme Committee (SPC). The suggested mission to probe the Gravitational Universe is the evolved Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (eLISA). It will study the universe in a unique way – completely differently than any other space observatory – by detecting gravitational waves. Observations of gravitational waves in space will answer key scientific questions about the astrophysics of the cosmic dawn and the physics and the evolution of the universe. According to ESA's decision, eLISA will be the third L-class mission, following JUICE and Athena+. “We are very pleased with this decision. It will provide revolutionary research opportunities in astrophysics and fundamental physics,” says Karsten Danzmann, designated spokesperson of eLISA, director at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute/AEI) and professor at the Leibniz Universität in Hannover, Germany. “We will immediately begin to optimize technologies already being developed for eLISA. These key technologies for eLISA will get their first test in space with the launch of ESA's LISA Pathfinder (LPF) mission in 2015”, Danzmann continues. The observation of gravitational waves in space will provide powerful insight into the fundamentals of gravity, and into Einstein's theory that predicted the waves in 1916. A gravitational wave observatory in space will open up hidden chapters in the history of the universe by listening to the waves made by the earliest black holes, by thousands of binary stars, and probably by the Big Bang itself. By seeing how the waves from early black holes are stretched out as they move toward us through the expanding universe, the observatory will even study the mysterious dark energy. The proposed eLISA mission is designed to be complementary to existing and planned ground-based gravitational wave observatories. Earth- and space-based gravitational wave observatories both search for ripples in the fabric of space-time created by the most violent events in the universe, such as the coalescence of black holes. Gravitational waves carry with them information about their origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot be obtained using other astronomical tools. ***************************************** Background The Gravitational Universe The last century has seen enormous progress in our understanding of the Universe. We know the life cycles of stars, the structure of galaxies, the remnants of the big bang, and have a general understanding of how the Universe evolved. We have come remarkably far using electromagnetic radiation as our tool for observing the Universe. However, gravity is the engine behind many of the processes in the Universe, and much of its action is dark – it emits no electromagnetic radiation at all. Opening a gravitational window on the Universe will let us go further than any alternative. Gravity has its own messenger: Gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of space-time. They travel essentially undisturbed and let us peer deep into the formation of the first seed black holes, exploring redshifts as large as z ~ 20, prior to the epoch of cosmic re-ionisation. Exquisite and unprecedented measurements of black hole masses and spins will make it possible to trace the history of black holes across all stages of galaxy evolution, and at the same time constrain any deviation from the Kerr metric of General Relativity. eLISA will be the first ever mission to study the entire Universe with gravitational waves. eLISA is an all-sky monitor and will offer a wide view of a dynamic cosmos using gravitational waves as new and unique messengers to unveil The Gravitational Universe. It provides the closest ever view of the early processes at TeV energies, has guaranteed sources in the form of verification binaries in the Milky Way, and can probe the entire Universe, from its smallest scales around singularities and black holes, all the way to cosmological dimensions. The selection process for ESA's next large missions began in March 2013 with a Call for White Papers. More than 30 White Papers covering a broad range of topics in space science were submitted. 22 projects were presented in September 2013 to ESA's Senior Survey Committee (SSC) and the broad scientific community. Following this SSC chaired by Dr. Catherine Cesarsky advised ESA´s Director of Science and Robotic Exploration, Dr. Alvaro Gimenez on the selection of the science themes for L2 and L3. Concluding this process the science themes for the L2 and L3 missions were selected by ESA's Science Programme Committee (SPC). Next steps A major step towards revealing the Gravitational Universe will be the launch of LISA Pathfinder in 2015 and the test of eLISA key technologies in space. Between 2014 and 2020, eLISA technology will be optimized followed by the final mission selection and commitment of international partners. In 2024 the industrial implementation will begin, with the payload supplied by a European consortium which also provides the flight hardware for LISA Pathfinder. The eLISA launch is planned for 2034.
ICCUB Colloquia: Reading the Record of Ancient Impacts
Date: 28 Oct 2013
Gaia sunshield deployment test successful
Ahead of its launch on 20 November 2013, Gaia has passed its critical sunshield deployment test. The sunshield has been fabricated by the Spanish company SENER. During the test at Europe’s spaceport in Kourou the shield’s twelve carbon fibre folding frames were opened successfully in the cleanroom. As the Deployable Sunshield Assembly (DSA) was not designed to support its own weight in the one-g environment at Earth’s surface, support cables and counterweights attached to the shield provided a realistic test environment. In space the 10.5 metre diameter sunshield will shade the spacecraft’s telescope from the sun. It will also help to provide a stable and low temperature environment.
CTA NectarCAM F2F Meeting
The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA, http://www.cta-observatory.org/) consortium celebrates the regularly meeting of the Common Camera Components (CCC) work-package, since its creation in late 2012. The meeting deals with the main components of the camera: Slow control and Power, Mechanics and Cooling, High Voltage and pre-amplification, Signal processing, Interface board: HVPA-FEB, Camera/Array trigger, Readout and Data transfer, Integration and Test and Calibracition. About 35 participants will discuss about the proposed design and methodologies, and it will fix the common guidelines to share as much parts as posible the common sistems between the diferent kind of cameras. This is the second of a series of meetings of the NectarCAM-CCC work-package group, to be held every 6 months as face to face meetings, and monthly as phone-conferences.
MAGIC Galactic meeting 2013
On 12 and 13 September 2013 a meeting of the Physics Working Group on Galactic sources of the MAGIC Collaboration took place at Facultat de Física of UB. A total of 20 researchers attended the meeting, which has been organized by members of the Departament d'Astronomia i Meteorologia of UB. Possible observational proposals with the MAGIC Cherenkov telescopes of sources of very high energy gamma rays were discussed in the meeting. Some of these proposals will be submitted for evaluation during October, to conduct observations during MAGIC Cycle 9, which starts in November 2013.
LISA Pathfinder: from CAD models to ready-to-fly hardware
REF: University of Glasgow
Einstein wanted to understand gravity and I, Einstein
A Sant Cugat tenim un bon cel o tots els cels són iguals?
The short “Gaia, el satélite” wins the “science in action” scientific shorts contest
The short film “Gaia, el satélite” made by some of the department’s Gaia project members has been awarded the prize (Ex Aequo) of the scientific shorts contest on “science in action”.
TOpography from Reflectometric Measurements:an Experiment from the Stratosphere
Europe wishes Gaia a good trip
El satèl·lit Gaia de l’Agència Espacial Europea ja està llest per a cartografiar amb una precisió inaudita la nostra galàxia en una missió que durarà cinc anys. Els científics i enginyers europeus han posat punt final a la preparació de Gaia pel seu llançament des de la Guaiana Francesa, previst pel proper 25 d’octubre.
A member of the ICC and the UB’s Astronomy Department (DAM) awarded SEA’s “Best Thesis” prize
Javier Moldón Vara, a member of the ICC and the UB’s Astronomy Department (DAM), has received the “premio a la Mejor Tesis Doctoral Española en Astronomía y Astrofísica” in the year 2012 awarded by the SEA (Sociedad Española de Astronomía).
Gaia CU9 Access Catalogue Kick Off Meeting in Barcelona
The first meeting of group in charge of the developement of the Gaia mission Catalogue (Gaia CU9 Catalogue Access Kick Off Meeting) brought together at the UB some 80 researchers from all over Europe on June 3rd-4th.
Ready for launch The heart of space mission LISA Pathfinder was successfully tested
The optical bench of the LISA Pathfinder (LPF) mission passed with flying colours extensive testing at the Institute for Gravitational Research (IGR) at the University of Glasgow. IGR scientists assured that the high-precision measurement system is ready to survive tremendous forces up to 35 g (35 times the gravitational acceleration on Earth) during rocket launch. “With the successful tests we reached an important milestone. The sophisticated laser interferometer works very well and is ready for its job in space. We are really excited that the LPF mission is well underway for the launch date of 2015,” said Dr Christian Killow (Scottish Universities Physics Alliance Advanced Fellow). “The LPF mission will open the doors to eLISA, a gravitational wave space observatory that will revolutionize many areas of astrophysics, cosmology and fundamental physics,” has mentioned Dr. Carlos F. Sopuerta, researcher at the Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC-IEEC), Barcelona.
The Cheliábinsk superbolide. The impact risk of small asteroids with the Earth
J. M. Trigo-Rodri?guez, M. Tapia, J. Dergham, et al.