NEWS STEVE spotted over UK skies We are grateful for these recent donations to the RAS Library, AURORA A mysterious auroral mostly written by RAS Fellows: form, often misidentie fi d as a pro ● Chapman A 2017 ton arc but properly called STEVE, The Victorian Amateur has been seen in UK skies, writes Astronomer: Nathan Case of Aurorawatch. Independent The purple arc, known as Astronomical Research strong thermal emission veloc in Britain 1820–1920 ity enhancement (STEVE), was 2nd edn (Gracewing, Leominster) seen from Scotland on the night donated by A Chapman. of 13–14 October 2017. STEVE ● Stooke P 2016 The is sub auroral and can appear International Atlas of higher in the sky than traditional Mars Exploration: aurora. Reports describe STEVE from Spirit to Curiosity: as a narrow band of purple light Volume 2: 2004 to stretching east–west, often seen 2014 (Cambridge for about an hour and clearly University Press, Cambridge) equatorward of the main auroral donated by the BAA. oval. Green picket fence aurora is ● Williams D A, sometimes seen beneath the arc. Hartquist T W, The sightings (see the Daily Rawlings J M C, Record http:/ /bit.ly/2HUs7vF) Cecchi-Pestellini C were the first from the UK since & Viti S 2017 Dynam- STEVE made headlines across the ical Astrochemistry globe early in 2017 (http:/ /nyti. (Royal Society of Chemistry, ms/2CoXZZO). STEVE has been London) donated by D A Williams. seen by aurora chasers for years, ● Murdin P 2017 without detailed analyses. Recent Universe: Exploring the work by MacDonald et al. to be Astronomical World published in Science Advances (Phaidon, London) suggests the arc may be linked donated by to sub auroral ion drifts (SAIDs), P Murdin. though its exact driving forma For more new titles, please see tion is unclear. Please report any the Library catalogue, via sightings to the Aurorasaurus http://www.ras.org.uk/library citizen science project at http://aurorasaurus.org STEVE over Brora, Sutherland, at 19:30 UTC on 13 October 2017. (Melissa MacDonald) NASA budget Iron-rich stars have short-period planets threatens WFIRST EXOPLANETS A chemical survey to discover the link between iron on the orbits of its planets. “The from the Sloan Digital Sky Sur content of stars and their plan amount of iron matters,” said FUNDING The budget proposed vey has shown that iron rich stars etary system characteristics. Robert Wilson, a graduate student for NASA for 2019 provides tend to have planets with orbital Although a previous survey at the University of Virginia, at welcome support for solar system periods of less than eight days. using the Chinese telescope the 231st meeting of the Ameri exploration, notably on and NASA’s Kepler mission has LAMOST also found that iron can Astronomical Society. “A around the Moon with steps provided a resource of stars that rich stars tended to have short 25% change in iron makes a big towards Mars, and proposes a have one or more exoplanets. The period planets, this study found difference, but this is a very subtle transition to commercial fund SDSS’s Apache Point Observatory that an orbital period of eight days change, because iron makes up ing for the International Space Galactic Evolution Experiment divided the planets with high and only 2% of the stellar composition. Station and ending government (APOGEE) collects a spectrum low levels of iron. What is surpris Even small differences in stellar support in 2025. for each star; combining these ing is that it is only a very slight composition can have profound However, it also proposes data with Kepler stars that have increase in the iron content of the impacts on planetary systems.” cancelling the Wide Field exoplanets allowed researchers stars that has such a big inu fl ence http://www.sdss.org Infra Red Space Telescope, and stopping funding for NASA’s Ofc fi e of Education and several Experiment tests o- ff the-shelf computer memory in space Earth observation missions. The proposed budget is now subject MISSION COSTS ESA’s latest Cube memory may bring unpredicta up of commercial a fl sh devices. to discussion and modic fi ation. Sat mission GOMX 4B includes ble responses in space. But if Chi And there are some areas where The focus on the Moon Chimera, an experiment to test the mera shows that cheap computer we simply don’t have any space includes establishing exploration response of off the shelf memory memory is reliable in space, they qualie fi d alternative. The prob infrastructure in the form of a components to space conditions. could be more widely used. lem is that off the shelf parts need Lunar Orbital Platform Gateway, Space qualie fi d components “ESA missions have already to undergo a lot of testing in order launching the Orion spacecraft are considered more reliable, but used a lot of off the shelf parts, to be sure they’ll meet the neces (currently in development) in cost more than off the shelf parts; across the last two decades,” sary performance and reliability, 2020 and sending humans there there is concern that small vari said computer scientist Gianluca which means their per unit cost in 2023. ations in manufacturing process Furano. “All the mass memory of can end up much higher.” http://go.nasa.gov/2F9czFU or raw materials of commercial currently y fl ing missions is made http://bit.ly/2Cr4OKG 2.8 A&G • April 2018 • Vol. 59 • aandg.org Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/astrogeo/article-abstract/59/2/2.8/4935754 by Ed 'DeepDyve' Gillespie user on 16 March 2018
Astronomy & Geophysics – Oxford University Press
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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