In the experiment set to launch on Jan. 26, if winds are favorable, researchers from the University of Colorado will use a rocket at the top of its arc 200 miles above the ground as a platform to obtain an electronic telescope image of a far-off galaxy.
The rocket carrying the second experiment requires similar weather as the first. Scott Bailey, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Virginia Tech is the principal investigator of a team that will use a NASA sounding rocket to measure nitric oxide, a molecule that destroys ozone, from about 30 to 100 miles above the ground. That team includes Bill McClintock of the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics as well as colleagues from Utah State University's Space Dynamics Lab and Artep Inc. Bailey's team hopes to launch four days after Beasley's Colorado team, possibly Jan. 30 on a night with little to no aurora activity.
Instrument scientist Matt Beasley and project scientist Brennan Gantner of the University of Colorado are at Poker Flat preparing to use a 50-foot, two-stage rocket to help capture an image of star-forming regions within the Whirlpool Galaxy. They designed their rocket-mounted instrument to capture an ultraviolet image from just above where the universe goes black. The Whirlpool Galaxy is 31 million light years from Earth. One light year is the distance light travels within one calendar year; one light year equals 6 trillion miles.
"No one's ever taken a picture of this wavelength," said Beasley. "The only things that emit at this wavelength are the youngest, hottest stars and accretion disks around black holes."
If their experiment is successful, the researchers will obtain an image that they will combine with information from other missions in order to further understand where and how stars form. Unlike in many other Poker Flat rocket missions, the researchers don't need a ripping display of aurora to launch their rocket; they require only darkness and winds that will assure the rocket stages fall to the ground in safe places.
In the second experiment, Bailey, who formerly worked at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, chose Poker Flat for the study because the energetic electrons within the aurora create nitric oxide while sunlight destroys it. A far-north rocket range in winter allows him to measure what might be the highest concentrations of nitric oxide in the upper atmosphere.
"The weather in the stratosphere and mesosphere can pull things from the upper to lower atmosphere," Bailey said. "How much (nitric oxide) is up there to be pulled down? We have an idea of how to measure it."
Bailey and his colleagues will use an ultraviolet spectrograph designed by McClintock and mounted on a two-stage rocket to estimate the amount of nitric oxide in the upper atmosphere. They will point the instrument at a star of known brightness. Because the presence of nitric oxide affects the spectrograph's ability to register the starlight, the instrument's readings should allow them to calculate the amount of nitric oxide detected as the payload arcs above northern Alaska. All this will happen during the 15 minutes it will take from the ignition of the first rocket motor to the parachute-softened impact of the rocket payload.
"For us, it all comes down to about 100 seconds," Bailey said.
Personnel from Poker Flat will retrieve with a helicopter the instruments from both missions.
While the public is not permitted on Poker Flat Research Range during rocket launches, people may view rocket launches and activity from several vantage points near the range.
Poker Flat Research Range is the largest land-based sounding rocket range in the world. It's located 30 miles north of Fairbanks on the Steese Highway. The UAF Geophysical Institute operates the range under contract to NASA. More than 300 major scientific sounding rockets have launched from the facility since it was founded in 1969.
ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Poker Flat Research Range at 907-455-2110. Marmian Grimes, UAF public information officer, at 907-474-7902 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ON THE WEB: http://www.gi.alaska.edu/pfrr
An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics
25.09.2017 | Universität Kassel
Highest-energy cosmic rays have extragalactic origin
25.09.2017 | CNRS
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine
25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy