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See detailThe shape of (7) Iris as evidence of an ancient large impact?
Hanuš, J.; Marsset, M.; Vernazza, P. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2019), 624(A121), 17

Context. Asteroid (7) Iris is an ideal target for disk-resolved imaging owing to its brightness (V 7-8) and large angular size of 0.33'' during its apparitions. Iris is believed to belong to the category ... [more ▼]

Context. Asteroid (7) Iris is an ideal target for disk-resolved imaging owing to its brightness (V 7-8) and large angular size of 0.33'' during its apparitions. Iris is believed to belong to the category of large unfragmented asteroids that avoided internal differentiation, implying that its current shape and topography may record the first few 100 Myr of the solar system's collisional evolution. <BR /> Aims: We recovered information about the shape and surface topography of Iris from disk-resolved VLT/SPHERE/ZIMPOL images acquired in the frame of our ESO large program. <BR /> Methods: We used the All-Data Asteroid Modeling (ADAM) shape reconstruction algorithm to model the 3D shape of Iris, using optical disk-integrated data and disk-resolved images from SPHERE and earlier AO systems as inputs. We analyzed the SPHERE images and our model to infer the asteroid's global shape and the morphology of its main craters. <BR /> Results: We present the 3D shape, volume-equivalent diameter D[SUB]eq[/SUB] = 214 ± 5 km, and bulk density ρ = 2.7 ± 0.3 g cm[SUP]-3[/SUP] of Iris. Its shape appears to be consistent with that of an oblate spheroid with a large equatorial excavation. We identified eight putative surface features 20-40 km in diameter detected at several epochs, which we interpret as impact craters, and several additional crater candidates. Craters on Iris have depth-to-diameter ratios that are similar to those of analogous 10 km craters on Vesta. <BR /> Conclusions: The bulk density of Iris is consistent with that of its meteoritic analog based on spectroscopic observations, namely LL ordinary chondrites. Considering the absence of a collisional family related to Iris and the number of large craters on its surface, we suggest that its equatorial depression may be the remnant of an ancient (at least 3 Gyr) impact. Iris's shape further opens the possibility that large planetesimals formed as almost perfect oblate spheroids. Finally, we attribute the difference in crater morphology between Iris and Vesta to their different surface gravities, and the absence of a substantial impact-induced regolith on Iris. The reduced images are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr</A> (ftp://130.79.128.5) or via <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/624/A121">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/624/A121</A>Based on observations made with ESO Telescopes at the Paranal Observatory under programme ID 199.C-0074 (PI: P. Vernazza) and 086.C-0785 (PI: B. Carry). [less ▲]

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See detailClosing the gap between Earth-based and interplanetary mission observations: Vesta seen by VLT/SPHERE
Fétick, R. J. L.; Jorda, L.; Vernazza, P. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2019), 623

Context. Over the past decades, several interplanetary missions have studied small bodies in situ, leading to major advances in our understanding of their geological and geophysical properties. These ... [more ▼]

Context. Over the past decades, several interplanetary missions have studied small bodies in situ, leading to major advances in our understanding of their geological and geophysical properties. These missions, however, have had a limited number of targets. Among them, the NASA Dawn mission has characterised in detail the topography and albedo variegation across the surface of asteroid (4) Vesta down to a spatial resolution of 20 m pixel[SUP]-1[/SUP] scale. <BR /> Aims: Here our aim was to determine how much topographic and albedo information can be retrieved from the ground with VLT/SPHERE in the case of Vesta, having a former space mission (Dawn) providing us with the ground truth that can be used as a benchmark. <BR /> Methods: We observed Vesta with VLT/SPHERE/ZIMPOL as part of our ESO large programme (ID 199.C-0074) at six different epochs, and deconvolved the collected images with a parametric point spread function (PSF). We then compared our images with synthetic views of Vesta generated from the 3D shape model of the Dawn mission, on which we projected Vesta's albedo information. <BR /> Results: We show that the deconvolution of the VLT/SPHERE images with a parametric PSF allows the retrieval of the main topographic and albedo features present across the surface of Vesta down to a spatial resolution of 20-30 km. Contour extraction shows an accuracy of 1 pixel (3.6 mas). The present study provides the very first quantitative estimate of the accuracy of ground-based adaptive-optics imaging observations of asteroid surfaces. <BR /> Conclusions: In the case of Vesta, the upcoming generation of 30-40 m telescopes (ELT, TMT, GMT) should in principle be able to resolve all of the main features present across its surface, including the troughs and the north-south crater dichotomy, provided that they operate at the diffraction limit. Reduced images of Table A.1 are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr</A> (ftp://130.79.128.5) or via <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/623/A6">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/623/A6</A>Based on observations made with ESO Telescopes at the Paranal Observatory under programme ID 199.C-0074 (PI: P. Vernazza). [less ▲]

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See detailThe homogeneous internal structure of CM-like asteroid (41) Daphne
Carry, B.; Vachier, F.; Berthier, J. et al

E-print/Working paper (2019)

Context. CM-like asteroids (Ch and Cgh classes) are a major population within the broader C-complex, encompassing about 10% of the mass of the main asteroid belt. Their internal structure has been ... [more ▼]

Context. CM-like asteroids (Ch and Cgh classes) are a major population within the broader C-complex, encompassing about 10% of the mass of the main asteroid belt. Their internal structure has been predicted to be homogeneous, based on their compositional similarity as inferred from spectroscopy (Vernazza et al., 2016, AJ 152, 154) and numerical modeling of their early thermal evolution (Bland & Travis, 2017, Sci. Adv. 3, e1602514). Aims. Here we aim to test this hypothesis by deriving the density of the CM-like asteroid (41) Daphne from detailed modeling of its shape and the orbit of its small satellite. Methods. We observed Daphne and its satellite within our imaging survey with the Very Large Telescope extreme adaptive-optics SPHERE/ZIMPOL camera (ID 199.C-0074, PI P. Vernazza) and complemented this data set with earlier Keck/NIRC2 and VLT/NACO observations. We analyzed the dynamics of the satellite with our Genoid meta-heuristic algorithm. Combining our high-angular resolution images with optical lightcurves and stellar occultations, we determine the spin period, orientation, and 3-D shape, using our ADAM shape modeling algorithm. Results. The satellite orbits Daphne on an equatorial, quasi-circular, prograde orbit, like the satellites of many other large main-belt asteroids. The shape model of Daphne reveals several large flat areas that could be large impact craters. The mass determined from this orbit combined with the volume computed from the shape model implies a density for Daphne of 1.77+/-0.26 g/cm3 (3 {\sigma}). This density is consistent with a primordial CM-like homogeneous internal structure with some level of macroporosity (~17%). Conclusions. Based on our analysis of the density of Daphne and 75 other Ch/Cgh-type asteroids gathered from the literature, we conclude that the primordial internal structure of the CM parent bodies was homogeneous. [less ▲]

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See detail(16) Psyche: A mesosiderite-like asteroid?
Viikinkoski, M.; Vernazza, P.; Hanuš, J. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2018), 619

Context. Asteroid (16) Psyche is the target of the NASA Psyche mission. It is considered one of the few main-belt bodies that could be an exposed proto-planetary metallic core and that would thus be ... [more ▼]

Context. Asteroid (16) Psyche is the target of the NASA Psyche mission. It is considered one of the few main-belt bodies that could be an exposed proto-planetary metallic core and that would thus be related to iron meteorites. Such an association is however challenged by both its near- and mid-infrared spectral properties and the reported estimates of its density. <BR /> Aims: Here, we aim to refine the density of (16) Psyche to set further constraints on its bulk composition and determine its potential meteoritic analog. <BR /> Methods: We observed (16) Psyche with ESO VLT/SPHERE/ZIMPOL as part of our large program (ID 199.C-0074). We used the high angular resolution of these observations to refine Psyche's three-dimensional (3D) shape model and subsequently its density when combined with the most recent mass estimates. In addition, we searched for potential companions around the asteroid. <BR /> Results: We derived a bulk density of 3.99 ± 0.26 g cm[SUP]-3[/SUP] for Psyche. While such density is incompatible at the 3-sigma level with any iron meteorites (˜7.8 g cm[SUP]-3[/SUP]), it appears fully consistent with that of stony-iron meteorites such as mesosiderites (density ˜4.25 g cm[SUP]-3[/SUP]). In addition, we found no satellite in our images and set an upper limit on the diameter of any non-detected satellite of 1460 ± 200 m at 150 km from Psyche (0.2% × R[SUB]Hill[/SUB], the Hill radius) and 800 ± 200 m at 2000 km (3% × R[SUB]Hill[/SUB]). <BR /> Conclusions: Considering that the visible and near-infrared spectral properties of mesosiderites are similar to those of Psyche, there is merit to a long-published initial hypothesis that Psyche could be a plausible candidate parent body for mesosiderites. Based on observations made with 1) ESO Telescopes at the La Silla Paranal Observatory under programs 086.C-0785 (PI Carry) and 199.C-0074 (PI Vernazza); and 2) the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation.Tables A1 and A2 and reduced images are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr</A> (ftp://130.79.128.5) or via <A href="http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/619/L3">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/619/L3</A> [less ▲]

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See detailGaia Data Release 2. The celestial reference frame (Gaia-CRF2)
Gaia Collaboration; Mignard, F.; Klioner, S. A. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2018), 616(A), 14

Context. The second release of Gaia data (Gaia DR2) contains the astrometric parameters for more than half a million quasars. This set defines a kinematically non-rotating reference frame in the optical ... [more ▼]

Context. The second release of Gaia data (Gaia DR2) contains the astrometric parameters for more than half a million quasars. This set defines a kinematically non-rotating reference frame in the optical domain. A subset of these quasars have accurate VLBI positions that allow the axes of the reference frame to be aligned with the International Celestial Reference System (ICRF) radio frame. <BR /> Aims: We describe the astrometric and photometric properties of the quasars that were selected to represent the celestial reference frame of Gaia DR2 (Gaia-CRF2), and to compare the optical and radio positions for sources with accurate VLBI positions. <BR /> Methods: Descriptive statistics are used to characterise the overall properties of the quasar sample. Residual rotation and orientation errors and large-scale systematics are quantified by means of expansions in vector spherical harmonics. Positional differences are calculated relative to a prototype version of the forthcoming ICRF3. <BR /> Results: Gaia-CRF2 consists of the positions of a sample of 556 869 sources in Gaia DR2, obtained from a positional cross-match with the ICRF3-prototype and AllWISE AGN catalogues. The sample constitutes a clean, dense, and homogeneous set of extragalactic point sources in the magnitude range G ≃ 16 to 21 mag with accurately known optical positions. The median positional uncertainty is 0.12 mas for G < 18 mag and 0.5 mas at G = mag. Large- scale systematics are estimated to be in the range 20 to 30 μas. The accuracy claims are supported by the parallaxes and proper motions of the quasars in Gaia DR2. The optical positions for a subset of 2820 sources in common with the ICRF3-prototype show very good overall agreement with the radio positions, but several tens of sources have significantly discrepant positions. <BR /> Conclusions: Based on less than 40% of the data expected from the nominal Gaia mission, Gaia-CRF2 is the first realisation of a non-rotating global optical reference frame that meets the ICRS prescriptions, meaning that it is built only on extragalactic sources. Its accuracy matches the current radio frame of the ICRF, but the density of sources in all parts of the sky is much higher, except along the Galactic equator. [less ▲]

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See detailGaia Data Release 2. Observations of solar system objects
Gaia Collaboration; Spoto, F.; Tanga, P. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2018), 616(A), 13

Context. The Gaia spacecraft of the European Space Agency (ESA) has been securing observations of solar system objects (SSOs) since the beginning of its operations. Data Release 2 (DR2) contains the ... [more ▼]

Context. The Gaia spacecraft of the European Space Agency (ESA) has been securing observations of solar system objects (SSOs) since the beginning of its operations. Data Release 2 (DR2) contains the observations of a selected sample of 14,099 SSOs. These asteroids have been already identified and have been numbered by the Minor Planet Center repository. Positions are provided for each Gaia observation at CCD level. As additional information, complementary to astrometry, the apparent brightness of SSOs in the unfiltered G band is also provided for selected observations. <BR /> Aims: We explain the processing of SSO data, and describe the criteria we used to select the sample published in Gaia DR2. We then explore the data set to assess its quality. <BR /> Methods: To exploit the main data product for the solar system in Gaia DR2, which is the epoch astrometry of asteroids, it is necessary to take into account the unusual properties of the uncertainty, as the position information is nearly one-dimensional. When this aspect is handled appropriately, an orbit fit can be obtained with post-fit residuals that are overall consistent with the a-priori error model that was used to define individual values of the astrometric uncertainty. The role of both random and systematic errors is described. The distribution of residuals allowed us to identify possible contaminants in the data set (such as stars). Photometry in the G band was compared to computed values from reference asteroid shapes and to the flux registered at the corresponding epochs by the red and blue photometers (RP and BP). <BR /> Results: The overall astrometric performance is close to the expectations, with an optimal range of brightness G 12 - 17. In this range, the typical transit-level accuracy is well below 1 mas. For fainter asteroids, the growing photon noise deteriorates the performance. Asteroids brighter than G 12 are affected by a lower performance of the processing of their signals. The dramatic improvement brought by Gaia DR2 astrometry of SSOs is demonstrated by comparisons to the archive data and by preliminary tests on the detection of subtle non-gravitational effects. [less ▲]

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See detailGaia Data Release 2. Kinematics of globular clusters and dwarf galaxies around the Milky Way
Gaia Collaboration; Helmi, A.; van Leeuwen, F. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2018), 616(A), 12

Context. <BR /> Aims: The goal of this paper is to demonstrate the outstanding quality of the second data release of the Gaia mission and its power for constraining many different aspects of the dynamics ... [more ▼]

Context. <BR /> Aims: The goal of this paper is to demonstrate the outstanding quality of the second data release of the Gaia mission and its power for constraining many different aspects of the dynamics of the satellites of the Milky Way. We focus here on determining the proper motions of 75 Galactic globular clusters, nine dwarf spheroidal galaxies, one ultra-faint system, and the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. <BR /> Methods: Using data extracted from the Gaia archive, we derived the proper motions and parallaxes for these systems, as well as their uncertainties. We demonstrate that the errors, statistical and systematic, are relatively well understood. We integrated the orbits of these objects in three different Galactic potentials, and characterised their properties. We present the derived proper motions, space velocities, and characteristic orbital parameters in various tables to facilitate their use by the astronomical community. <BR /> Results: Our limited and straightforward analyses have allowed us for example to (i) determine absolute and very precise proper motions for globular clusters; (ii) detect clear rotation signatures in the proper motions of at least five globular clusters; (iii) show that the satellites of the Milky Way are all on high-inclination orbits, but that they do not share a single plane of motion; (iv) derive a lower limit for the mass of the Milky Way of 9.1[SUB]-2.6[/SUB][SUP]+6.2[/SUP] × 10[SUP]11[/SUP] M[SUB]☉[/SUB] based on the assumption that the Leo I dwarf spheroidal is bound; (v) derive a rotation curve for the Large Magellanic Cloud based solely on proper motions that is competitive with line-of-sight velocity curves, now using many orders of magnitude more sources; and (vi) unveil the dynamical effect of the bar on the motions of stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud. <BR /> Conclusions: All these results highlight the incredible power of the Gaia astrometric mission, and in particular of its second data release. Full Table D.3 is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr</A> (<A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr">http://130.79.128.5</A>) or via <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz- bin/qcat?J/A+A/616/A12">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz- bin/qcat?J/A+A/616/A12</A> [less ▲]

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See detailGaia Data Release 2. Mapping the Milky Way disc kinematics
Gaia Collaboration; Katz, D.; Antoja, T. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2018), 616(A), 11

Context. The second Gaia data release (Gaia DR2) contains high-precision positions, parallaxes, and proper motions for 1.3 billion sources as well as line-of-sight velocities for 7.2 million stars ... [more ▼]

Context. The second Gaia data release (Gaia DR2) contains high-precision positions, parallaxes, and proper motions for 1.3 billion sources as well as line-of-sight velocities for 7.2 million stars brighter than G[SUB]RVS[/SUB] = 12 mag. Both samples provide a full sky coverage. <BR /> Aims: To illustrate the potential of Gaia DR2, we provide a first look at the kinematics of the Milky Way disc, within a radius of several kiloparsecs around the Sun. <BR /> Methods: We benefit for the first time from a sample of 6.4 million F-G-K stars with full 6D phase-space coordinates, precise parallaxes (σ[SUB]ϖ[/SUB]/ϖ ≤ 20%), and precise Galactic cylindrical velocities (median uncertainties of 0.9-1.4 km s[SUP]-1[/SUP] and 20% of the stars with uncertainties smaller than 1 km s[SUP]-1[/SUP] on all three components). From this sample, we extracted a sub-sample of 3.2 million giant stars to map the velocity field of the Galactic disc from 5 kpc to 13 kpc from the Galactic centre and up to 2 kpc above and below the plane. We also study the distribution of 0.3 million solar neighbourhood stars (r < 200 pc), with median velocity uncertainties of 0.4 km s[SUP]-1[/SUP], in velocity space and use the full sample to examine how the over-densities evolve in more distant regions. <BR /> Results: Gaia DR2 allows us to draw 3D maps of the Galactocentric median velocities and velocity dispersions with unprecedented accuracy, precision, and spatial resolution. The maps show the complexity and richness of the velocity field of the galactic disc. We observe streaming motions in all the components of the velocities as well as patterns in the velocity dispersions. For example, we confirm the previously reported negative and positive galactocentric radial velocity gradients in the inner and outer disc, respectively. Here, we see them as part of a non-axisymmetric kinematic oscillation, and we map its azimuthal and vertical behaviour. We also witness a new global arrangement of stars in the velocity plane of the solar neighbourhood and in distant regions in which stars are organised in thin substructures with the shape of circular arches that are oriented approximately along the horizontal direction in the U - V plane. Moreover, in distant regions, we see variations in the velocity substructures more clearly than ever before, in particular, variations in the velocity of the Hercules stream. <BR /> Conclusions: Gaia DR2 provides the largest existing full 6D phase-space coordinates catalogue. It also vastly increases the number of available distances and transverse velocities with respect to Gaia DR1. Gaia DR2 offers a great wealth of information on the Milky Way and reveals clear non- axisymmetric kinematic signatures within the Galactic disc, for instance. It is now up to the astronomical community to explore its full potential. [less ▲]

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See detailGaia Data Release 2. Observational Hertzsprung-Russell diagrams
Gaia Collaboration; Babusiaux, C.; van Leeuwen, F. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2018), 616(A), 10

Context. Gaia Data Release 2 provides high-precision astrometry and three-band photometry for about 1.3 billion sources over the full sky. The precision, accuracy, and homogeneity of both astrometry and ... [more ▼]

Context. Gaia Data Release 2 provides high-precision astrometry and three-band photometry for about 1.3 billion sources over the full sky. The precision, accuracy, and homogeneity of both astrometry and photometry are unprecedented. <BR /> Aims: We highlight the power of the Gaia DR2 in studying many fine structures of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram (HRD). Gaia allows us to present many different HRDs, depending in particular on stellar population selections. We do not aim here for completeness in terms of types of stars or stellar evolutionary aspects. Instead, we have chosen several illustrative examples. <BR /> Methods: We describe some of the selections that can be made in Gaia DR2 to highlight the main structures of the Gaia HRDs. We select both field and cluster (open and globular) stars, compare the observations with previous classifications and with stellar evolutionary tracks, and we present variations of the Gaia HRD with age, metallicity, and kinematics. Late stages of stellar evolution such as hot subdwarfs, post-AGB stars, planetary nebulae, and white dwarfs are also analysed, as well as low-mass brown dwarf objects. <BR /> Results: The Gaia HRDs are unprecedented in both precision and coverage of the various Milky Way stellar populations and stellar evolutionary phases. Many fine structures of the HRDs are presented. The clear split of the white dwarf sequence into hydrogen and helium white dwarfs is presented for the first time in an HRD. The relation between kinematics and the HRD is nicely illustrated. Two different populations in a classical kinematic selection of the halo are unambiguously identified in the HRD. Membership and mean parameters for a selected list of open clusters are provided. They allow drawing very detailed cluster sequences, highlighting fine structures, and providing extremely precise empirical isochrones that will lead to more insight in stellar physics. <BR /> Conclusions: Gaia DR2 demonstrates the potential of combining precise astrometry and photometry for large samples for studies in stellar evolution and stellar population and opens an entire new area for HRD- based studies. The full Table A.1 is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr</A> (<A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr">http://130.79.128.5</A>) or via <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz- bin/qcat?J/A+A/616/A10">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz- bin/qcat?J/A+A/616/A10</A> [less ▲]

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See detailGaia Data Release 2. Summary of the contents and survey properties
Gaia Collaboration; Brown, A. G. A.; Vallenari, A. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2018), 616(A1), 1-22

Context. We present the second Gaia data release, Gaia DR2, consisting of astrometry, photometry, radial velocities, and information on astrophysical parameters and variability, for sources brighter than ... [more ▼]

Context. We present the second Gaia data release, Gaia DR2, consisting of astrometry, photometry, radial velocities, and information on astrophysical parameters and variability, for sources brighter than magnitude 21. In addition epoch astrometry and photometry are provided for a modest sample of minor planets in the solar system. <BR /> Aims: A summary of the contents of Gaia DR2 is presented, accompanied by a discussion on the differences with respect to Gaia DR1 and an overview of the main limitations which are still present in the survey. Recommendations are made on the responsible use of Gaia DR2 results. <BR /> Methods: The raw data collected with the Gaia instruments during the first 22 months of the mission have been processed by the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC) and turned into this second data release, which represents a major advance with respect to Gaia DR1 in terms of completeness, performance, and richness of the data products. <BR /> Results: Gaia DR2 contains celestial positions and the apparent brightness in G for approximately 1.7 billion sources. For 1.3 billion of those sources, parallaxes and proper motions are in addition available. The sample of sources for which variability information is provided is expanded to 0.5 million stars. This data release contains four new elements: broad-band colour information in the form of the apparent brightness in the G[SUB]BP[/SUB] (330-680 nm) and G[SUB]RP[/SUB] (630-1050 nm) bands is available for 1.4 billion sources; median radial velocities for some 7 million sources are presented; for between 77 and 161 million sources estimates are provided of the stellar effective temperature, extinction, reddening, and radius and luminosity; and for a pre-selected list of 14 000 minor planets in the solar system epoch astrometry and photometry are presented. Finally, Gaia DR2 also represents a new materialisation of the celestial reference frame in the optical, the Gaia-CRF2, which is the first optical reference frame based solely on extragalactic sources. There are notable changes in the photometric system and the catalogue source list with respect to Gaia DR1, and we stress the need to consider the two data releases as independent. <BR /> Conclusions: Gaia DR2 represents a major achievement for the Gaia mission, delivering on the long standing promise to provide parallaxes and proper motions for over 1 billion stars, and representing a first step in the availability of complementary radial velocity and source astrophysical information for a sample of stars in the Gaia survey which covers a very substantial fraction of the volume of our galaxy. [less ▲]

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See detailNew polarimetric and spectroscopic evidence of anomalous enrichment in spinel-bearing calcium-aluminium-rich inclusions among L-type asteroids
Devogele, Maxime ULiege; Tanga, P.; Cellino, A. et al

in Icarus (2018), 304

Asteroids can be classified into several groups based on their spectral reflectance. Among these groups, the one belonging to the L-class in the taxonomic classification based on visible and near-infrared ... [more ▼]

Asteroids can be classified into several groups based on their spectral reflectance. Among these groups, the one belonging to the L-class in the taxonomic classification based on visible and near-infrared spectra exhibit several peculiar properties. First, their near-infrared spectrum is characterized by a strong absorption band interpreted as the diagnostic of a high content of the FeO bearing spinel mineral. This mineral is one of the main constituents of Calcium-Aluminum-rich Inclusions (CAI) the oldest mineral compounds found in the solar system. In polarimetry, they possess an uncommonly large value of the inversion angle incompatible with all known asteroid belonging to other taxonomical classes. Asteroids found to possess such a high inversion angle are commonly called Barbarians based on the first asteroid on which this property was first identified, (234) Barbara. In this paper we present the results of an extensive campaign of polarimetric and spectroscopic observations of L-class objects. We have derived phase-polarization curves for a sample of 7 Barbarians, finding a variety of inversion angles ranging between 25 and 30°. Spectral reflectance data exhibit variations in terms of spectral slope and absorption features in the near-infrared. We analyzed these data using a Hapke model to obtain some inferences about the relative abundance of CAI and other mineral compounds. By combining spectroscopic and polarimetric results, we find evidence that the polarimetric inversion angle is directly correlated with the presence of CAI, and the peculiar polarimetric properties of Barbarians are primarily a consequence of their anomalous composition. © 2017. [less ▲]

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See detailThe impact crater at the origin of the Julia family detected with VLT/SPHERE?
Vernazza, Pierre; Brož, M.; Drouard, A. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2018)

Context. The vast majority of the geophysical and geological constraints (e.g., internal structure, cratering history) for main belt asteroids have so far been obtained via dedicated interplanetary ... [more ▼]

Context. The vast majority of the geophysical and geological constraints (e.g., internal structure, cratering history) for main belt asteroids have so far been obtained via dedicated interplanetary missions (e.g., ESA Rosetta, NASA Dawn). The high angular resolution of SPHERE/ZIMPOL, the new-generation visible adaptive-optics camera at ESO VLT, implies that these science objectives can now be investigated from the ground for a large fraction of D 100 km main-belt asteroids. The sharp images acquired by this instrument can be used to constrain accurately the shape and thus volume of these bodies (hence density when combined with mass estimates) and to characterize the distribution and topography of D 30 km craters across their surfaces. Aims. Here, we evaluated - via several complementary approaches - the recently proposed hypothesis that S-type asteroid (89) Julia is the parent body of a small compact asteroid family that formed via a cratering collisional event. Methods. We observed (89) Julia with VLT/SPHERE/ZIMPOL throughout its rotation (these observations were taken as part of an ESO Large Program; ID: 199.C-0074), derived its 3D shape and performed a reconnaissance and characterization of the largest craters. We also performed numerical simulations to first confirm the existence of the Julia family and to determine its age as well as the size of the impact crater at its origin. Finally, we utilized the images/3D shape to attempt identifying the origin location of the small collisional family. Results. On the one hand, our VLT/SPHERE observations reveal the presence of a large crater (D~75 km) in Julia’s southern hemisphere. On the other hand, our numerical simulations suggest that (89) Julia was impacted 30 to 120 Myrs ago by a D~8km asteroid, thereby creating a D~60 km impact crater at the surface of Julia. Given the small size of the impactor, the obliquity of Julia and the particular orientation of the family in the (a,i) space, the imaged impact crater is likely the one at the origin of the family. Conclusions. New doors of ground-based asteroid exploration, namely geophysics and geology, are getting opened thanks to VLT/SPHERE’s unique capabilities. Also, the present work may represent the beginning of a new era of asteroid-family studies. In those fields (geophysics, geology and asteroid family studies), the future will only get brighter with the forthcoming arrival of 30-40m class telescopes (ELT, TMT, GMT). [less ▲]

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See detailThe 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko observation campaign in support of the Rosetta mission
Snodgrass, C.; A'Hearn, M. F.; Aceituno, F. et al

in Philosophical Transactions. Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences (2017), 375

We present a summary of the campaign of remote observations that supported the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission. Telescopes across the globe (and in space) followed comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko ... [more ▼]

We present a summary of the campaign of remote observations that supported the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission. Telescopes across the globe (and in space) followed comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from before Rosetta's arrival until nearly the end of the mission in September 2016. These provided essential data for mission planning, large-scale context information for the coma and tails beyond the spacecraft and a way to directly compare 67P with other comets. The observations revealed 67P to be a relatively `well-behaved' comet, typical of Jupiter family comets and with activity patterns that repeat from orbit to orbit. Comparison between this large collection of telescopic observations and the in situ results from Rosetta will allow us to better understand comet coma chemistry and structure. This work is just beginning as the mission ends-in this paper, we present a summary of the ground-based observations and early results, and point to many questions that will be addressed in future studies. This article is part of the themed issue 'Cometary science after Rosetta'. [less ▲]

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See detail3D shape of asteroid (6)~Hebe from VLT/SPHERE imaging: Implications for the origin of ordinary H chondrites
Marsset, M.; Carry, B.; Dumas, C. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2017), 604

Context. The high-angular-resolution capability of the new-generation ground-based adaptive-optics camera SPHERE at ESO VLT allows us to assess, for the very first time, the cratering record of medium ... [more ▼]

Context. The high-angular-resolution capability of the new-generation ground-based adaptive-optics camera SPHERE at ESO VLT allows us to assess, for the very first time, the cratering record of medium-sized (D~100-200 km) asteroids from the ground, opening the prospect of a new era of investigation of the asteroid belt's collisional history. Aims. We investigate here the collisional history of asteroid (6) Hebe and challenge the idea that Hebe may be the parent body of ordinary H chondrites, the most common type of meteorites found on Earth (~34% of the falls). Methods. We observed Hebe with SPHERE as part of the science verification of the instrument. Combined with earlier adaptive-optics images and optical light curves, we model the spin and three-dimensional (3D) shape of Hebe and check the consistency of the derived model against available stellar occultations and thermal measurements. Results. Our 3D shape model fits the images with sub-pixel residuals and the light curves to 0.02 mag. The rotation period (7.274 47 h), spin (343 deg,+47 deg), and volume-equivalent diameter (193 +/- 6km) are consistent with previous determinations and thermophysical modeling. Hebe's inferred density is 3.48 +/- 0.64 g.cm-3 , in agreement with an intact interior based on its H-chondrite composition. Using the 3D shape model to derive the volume of the largest depression (likely impact crater), it appears that the latter is significantly smaller than the total volume of close-by S-type H-chondrite-like asteroid families. Conclusions. Our results imply that (6) Hebe is not the most likely source of H chondrites. Over the coming years, our team will collect similar high-precision shape measurements with VLT/SPHERE for ~40 asteroids covering the main compositional classes, thus providing an unprecedented dataset to investigate the origin and collisional evolution of the asteroid belt. [less ▲]

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See detailGaia Data Release 1. Open cluster astrometry: performance, limitations, and future prospects
Gaia Collaboration; van Leeuwen, F.; Vallenari, A. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2017), 601

Context. The first Gaia Data Release contains the Tycho-Gaia Astrometric Solution (TGAS). This is a subset of about 2 million stars for which, besides the position and photometry, the proper motion and ... [more ▼]

Context. The first Gaia Data Release contains the Tycho-Gaia Astrometric Solution (TGAS). This is a subset of about 2 million stars for which, besides the position and photometry, the proper motion and parallax are calculated using Hipparcos and Tycho-2 positions in 1991.25 as prior information. <BR /> Aims: We investigate the scientific potential and limitations of the TGAS component by means of the astrometric data for open clusters. <BR /> Methods: Mean cluster parallax and proper motion values are derived taking into account the error correlations within the astrometric solutions for individual stars, an estimate of the internal velocity dispersion in the cluster, and, where relevant, the effects of the depth of the cluster along the line of sight. Internal consistency of the TGAS data is assessed. <BR /> Results: Values given for standard uncertainties are still inaccurate and may lead to unrealistic unit-weight standard deviations of least squares solutions for cluster parameters. Reconstructed mean cluster parallax and proper motion values are generally in very good agreement with earlier Hipparcos-based determination, although the Gaia mean parallax for the Pleiades is a significant exception. We have no current explanation for that discrepancy. Most clusters are observed to extend to nearly 15 pc from the cluster centre, and it will be up to future Gaia releases to establish whether those potential cluster-member stars are still dynamically bound to the clusters. <BR /> Conclusions: The Gaia DR1 provides the means to examine open clusters far beyond their more easily visible cores, and can provide membership assessments based on proper motions and parallaxes. A combined HR diagram shows the same features as observed before using the Hipparcos data, with clearly increased luminosities for older A and F dwarfs. Tables D.1 to D.19 are also available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr</A> (<A href="http://130.79.128.5">http://130.79.128.5</A>) or via <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/601/A19">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/601/A19</A> [less ▲]

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See detailSPECTROSCOPIC AND POLARIMETRIC SURVEY OF L-TYPE ASTEROIDS
Devogele, Maxime ULiege; Tanga, P; Cellino, A et al

Conference (2017, April 14)

Introduction: Spectroscopic and polarimetric observations are of fundamental importance in order to derive information about the surface properties of asteroids. In 2006, the asteroid (234) Barbara was ... [more ▼]

Introduction: Spectroscopic and polarimetric observations are of fundamental importance in order to derive information about the surface properties of asteroids. In 2006, the asteroid (234) Barbara was found to possess a pecular polarimetric response characterized by an abnormaly large value of the inversion angle. Later on, several other similar asteroids were discovered. They were called Barbarian asteroids in reference to (234) Barbara. Spectroscopically, all the Barbarian asteroids belong to the L, Ld and in a few cases K types in the Bus and Binzel visible taxonomy. When a classification extended to near-infrared is considered, all those known to date group into the L class. The most commonly accepted explanation for the polarimetric anomaly is the high abundance of Spinel-bearing, fluffy (type A) CAIs (Calcium-Aluminium rich Inclusion) whose optical properties could reproduce the observed polarimetry. If this hypothesis is confirmed, Barbarian asteroids could contain an anomalous amount of the first minerals condensed after the formation of the Solar system. Based on these motivations, we organized a systematic campaign of spectroscopy and polarimetry of Barbarians/L-type asteroids. Observations: 35 asteroids were observed using spectroscopy or polarimetry, or both. These asteroids include members of Watsonia, Henan and Klumpkea families which are known to be made of Barbarian and/or L type asteroids. The polarimetric data were obtained with the ToPol instrument at the Calern station of the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur. The spectroscopic data were obtained at the IRTF NASA facility. Data analysis: The phase-polarization curve of the polarimetric data was analysed to derive the inversion angle of the asteroids. The spectroscopic data were analysed using a Hapke spectral mixing model. This method combines end-member spectra in order to fit the asteroid spectrum and derive its composition. The end-members used are the Allende matrix from which CAIs were removed, MgO rich olivine, and fluffy type A CAI. A Hapke space-weathering model was used in order to simulate the space-weathering effect on the spectra of asteroids. Results: The polarimetric data allowed us to discover 3 new Barbarian asteroids and to remove 4 asteroids from the Barbarian candidate list. We found that the inversion angle of Barbarian asteroids ranges from 26° to 30°. High CAI abundances ranging from 5 to 50% were found in L type asteroid spectra. We find for the first time a link between the abundance of CAIs and the polarimetric response. Spaceweathering also appears to play a role in polarimetry, showing an aging effect on the granularity of the surface regolith. [less ▲]

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See detailGaia Data Release 1: Testing parallaxes with local Cepheids and RR Lyrae stars
Clementini, G.; Eyer, L.; Ripepi, V. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2017), 605

Context. Parallaxes for 331 classical Cepheids, 31 Type II Cepheids, and 364 RR Lyrae stars in common between Gaia and the Hipparcos and Tycho-2 catalogues are published in Gaia Data Release 1 (DR1) as ... [more ▼]

Context. Parallaxes for 331 classical Cepheids, 31 Type II Cepheids, and 364 RR Lyrae stars in common between Gaia and the Hipparcos and Tycho-2 catalogues are published in Gaia Data Release 1 (DR1) as part of the Tycho-Gaia Astrometric Solution (TGAS). Aims. In order to test these first parallax measurements of the primary standard candles of the cosmological distance ladder, which involve astrometry collected by Gaia during the initial 14 months of science operation, we compared them with literature estimates and derived new period-luminosity (PL), period-Wesenheit (PW) relations for classical and Type II Cepheids and infrared PL, PL-metallicity (PLZ), and optical luminosity-metallicity (MV-[Fe/H]) relations for the RR Lyrae stars, with zero points based on TGAS. Methods. Classical Cepheids were carefully selected in order to discard known or suspected binary systems. The final sample comprises 102 fundamental mode pulsators with periods ranging from 1.68 to 51.66 days (of which 33 with σΩ/Ω< 0.5). The Type II Cepheids include a total of 26 W Virginis and BL Herculis stars spanning the period range from 1.16 to 30.00 days (of which only 7 with σΩ/Ω< 0.5). The RR Lyrae stars include 200 sources with pulsation period ranging from 0.27 to 0.80 days (of which 112 with σΩ/Ω< 0.5). The new relations were computed using multi-band (V,I,J,Ks) photometry and spectroscopic metal abundances available in the literature, and by applying three alternative approaches: (i) linear least-squares fitting of the absolute magnitudes inferred from direct transformation of the TGAS parallaxes; (ii) adopting astrometry-based luminosities; and (iii) using a Bayesian fitting approach. The last two methods work in parallax space where parallaxes are used directly, thus maintaining symmetrical errors and allowing negative parallaxes to be used. The TGAS-based PL,PW,PLZ, and MV- [Fe/H] relations are discussed by comparing the distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud provided by different types of pulsating stars and alternative fitting methods. Results. Good agreement is found from direct comparison of the parallaxes of RR Lyrae stars for which both TGAS and HST measurements are available. Similarly, very good agreement is found between the TGAS values and the parallaxes inferred from the absolute magnitudes of Cepheids and RR Lyrae stars analysed with the Baade-Wesselink method. TGAS values also compare favourably with the parallaxes inferred by theoretical model fitting of the multi-band light curves for two of the three classical Cepheids and one RR Lyrae star, which were analysed with this technique in our samples. The K-band PL relations show the significant improvement of the TGAS parallaxes for Cepheids and RR Lyrae stars with respect to the Hipparcos measurements. This is particularly true for the RR Lyrae stars for which improvement in quality and statistics is impressive. Conclusions. TGAS parallaxes bring a significant added value to the previous Hipparcos estimates. The relations presented in this paper represent the first Gaia-calibrated relations and form a work-in-progress milestone report in the wait for Gaia-only parallaxes of which a first solution will become available with Gaia Data Release 2 (DR2) in 2018. © ESO, 2017. [less ▲]

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See detailGaia Data Release 1. Summary of the astrometric, photometric, and survey properties
Gaia Collaboration; Brown, A. G. A.; Vallenari, A. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 595

Context. At about 1000 days after the launch of Gaia we present the first Gaia data release, Gaia DR1, consisting of astrometry and photometry for over 1 billion sources brighter than magnitude 20.7. <BR ... [more ▼]

Context. At about 1000 days after the launch of Gaia we present the first Gaia data release, Gaia DR1, consisting of astrometry and photometry for over 1 billion sources brighter than magnitude 20.7. <BR /> Aims: A summary of Gaia DR1 is presented along with illustrations of the scientific quality of the data, followed by a discussion of the limitations due to the preliminary nature of this release. <BR /> Methods: The raw data collected by Gaia during the first 14 months of the mission have been processed by the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC) and turned into an astrometric and photometric catalogue. <BR /> Results: Gaia DR1 consists of three components: a primary astrometric data set which contains the positions, parallaxes, and mean proper motions for about 2 million of the brightest stars in common with the Hipparcos and Tycho-2 catalogues - a realisation of the Tycho-Gaia Astrometric Solution (TGAS) - and a secondary astrometric data set containing the positions for an additional 1.1 billion sources. The second component is the photometric data set, consisting of mean G-band magnitudes for all sources. The G-band light curves and the characteristics of 3000 Cepheid and RR Lyrae stars, observed at high cadence around the south ecliptic pole, form the third component. For the primary astrometric data set the typical uncertainty is about 0.3 mas for the positions and parallaxes, and about 1 mas yr[SUP]-1[/SUP] for the proper motions. A systematic component of 0.3 mas should be added to the parallax uncertainties. For the subset of 94 000 Hipparcos stars in the primary data set, the proper motions are much more precise at about 0.06 mas yr[SUP]-1[/SUP]. For the secondary astrometric data set, the typical uncertainty of the positions is 10 mas. The median uncertainties on the mean G-band magnitudes range from the mmag level to 0.03 mag over the magnitude range 5 to 20.7. <BR /> Conclusions: Gaia DR1 is an important milestone ahead of the next Gaia data release, which will feature five-parameter astrometry for all sources. Extensive validation shows that Gaia DR1 represents a major advance in the mapping of the heavens and the availability of basic stellar data that underpin observational astrophysics. Nevertheless, the very preliminary nature of this first Gaia data release does lead to a number of important limitations to the data quality which should be carefully considered before drawing conclusions from the data. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Gaia mission
Gaia Collaboration; Prusti, T.; de Bruijne, J. H. J. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 595

Gaia is a cornerstone mission in the science programme of the EuropeanSpace Agency (ESA). The spacecraft construction was approved in 2006, following a study in which the original interferometric concept ... [more ▼]

Gaia is a cornerstone mission in the science programme of the EuropeanSpace Agency (ESA). The spacecraft construction was approved in 2006, following a study in which the original interferometric concept was changed to a direct-imaging approach. Both the spacecraft and the payload were built by European industry. The involvement of the scientific community focusses on data processing for which the international Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC) was selected in 2007. Gaia was launched on 19 December 2013 and arrived at its operating point, the second Lagrange point of the Sun-Earth-Moon system, a few weeks later. The commissioning of the spacecraft and payload was completed on 19 July 2014. The nominal five-year mission started with four weeks of special, ecliptic-pole scanning and subsequently transferred into full-sky scanning mode. We recall the scientific goals of Gaia and give a description of the as-built spacecraft that is currently (mid-2016) being operated to achieve these goals. We pay special attention to the payload module, the performance of which is closely related to the scientific performance of the mission. We provide a summary of the commissioning activities and findings, followed by a description of the routine operational mode. We summarise scientific performance estimates on the basis of in-orbit operations. Several intermediate Gaia data releases are planned and the data can be retrieved from the Gaia Archive, which is available through the Gaia home page. <A href="http://www.cosmos.esa.int/gaia">http://www.cosmos.esa.int/gaia</A> [less ▲]

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See detailNew and updated convex shape models of asteroids based on optical data from a large collaboration network
Hanuš, J.; Ďurech, J.; Oszkiewicz, D. A. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 586

Asteroid modeling efforts in the last decade resulted in a comprehensive dataset of almost 400 convex shape models and their rotation states. This amount already provided a deep insight into physical ... [more ▼]

Asteroid modeling efforts in the last decade resulted in a comprehensive dataset of almost 400 convex shape models and their rotation states. This amount already provided a deep insight into physical properties of main-belt asteroids or large collisional families. We aim to increase the number of asteroid shape models and rotation states. Such results are an important input for various further studies such as analysis of asteroid physical properties in different populations, including smaller collisional families, thermophysical modeling, and scaling shape models by disk-resolved images, or stellar occultation data. This provides, in combination with known masses, bulk density estimates, but constrains also theoretical collisional and evolutional models of the Solar System. We use all available disk-integrated optical data (i.e., classical dense-in-time photometry obtained from public databases and through a large collaboration network as well as sparse-in-time individual measurements from a few sky surveys) as an input for the convex inversion method, and derive 3D shape models of asteroids, together with their rotation periods and orientations of rotation axes. The key ingredient is the support of more that one hundred observers who submit their optical data to publicly available databases. We present updated shape models for 36 asteroids, for which mass estimates are currently available in the literature or their masses will be most likely determined from their gravitational influence on smaller bodies, which orbital deflection will be observed by the ESA Gaia astrometric mission. This was achieved by using additional optical data from recent apparitions for the shape optimization. Moreover, we also present new shape model determinations for 250 asteroids, including 13 Hungarias and 3 near-Earth asteroids. [less ▲]

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