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Open Access Publications from the University of California

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Cover page of Asteroid 1566 Icarus's size, shape, orbit, and Yarkovsky drift from radar

Asteroid 1566 Icarus's size, shape, orbit, and Yarkovsky drift from radar observations


Near-Earth asteroid (NEA) 1566 Icarus ($a=1.08$ au, $e=0.83$, $i=22.8^{\circ}$) made a close approach to Earth in June 2015 at 22 lunar distances (LD). Its detection during the 1968 approach (16 LD) was the first in the history of asteroid radar astronomy. A subsequent approach in 1996 (40 LD) did not yield radar images. We describe analyses of our 2015 radar observations of Icarus obtained at the Arecibo Observatory and the DSS-14 antenna at Goldstone. These data show that the asteroid has an equivalent diameter of 1.44 km with 18\% uncertainties, resolving long-standing questions about the asteroid size. We also solve for Icarus' spin axis orientation ($\lambda=270^{\circ}\pm10^{\circ}, \beta=-81^{\circ}\pm10^{\circ}$), which is not consistent with the estimates based on the 1968 lightcurve observations. Icarus has a strongly specular scattering behavior, among the highest ever measured in asteroid radar observations, and a radar albedo of $\sim$2\%, among the lowest ever measured in asteroid radar observations. The low cross-section suggests a high-porosity surface, presumably related to Icarus' cratering, spin, and thermal histories. Finally, we present the first use of our orbit determination software for the generation of observational ephemerides, and we demonstrate its ability to determine subtle perturbations on NEA orbits by measuring Icarus' orbit-averaged drift in semi-major axis ($(-4.62\pm0.48) \times 10^{-4}$ au/My, or $\sim$60 m per revolution). Our Yarkovsky rate measurement resolves a discrepancy between two published rates that did not include the 2015 radar astrometry.

Cover page of Expected precision of Europa Clipper gravity measurements

Expected precision of Europa Clipper gravity measurements


The primary gravity science objective of NASA's Clipper mission to Europa is to confirm the presence or absence of a global subsurface ocean beneath Europa's Icy crust. Gravity field measurements obtained with a radio science investigation can reveal much about Europa's interior structure. Here, we conduct extensive simulations of the radio science measurements with the anticipated spacecraft trajectory and attitude (17F12v2) and assets on the spacecraft and the ground, including antenna orientations and beam patterns, transmitter characteristics, and receiver noise figures. In addition to two-way Doppler measurements, we also include radar altimeter crossover range measurements. We concentrate on +/-2 hour intervals centered on the closest approach of each of the 46 flybys. Our covariance analyses reveal the precision with which the tidal Love number k2, second-degree gravity coefficients C20 and C22, and higher-order gravity coefficients can be determined. The results depend on the Deep Space Network (DSN) assets that are deployed to track the spacecraft. We find that some DSN allocations are sufficient to conclusively confirm the presence or absence of a global ocean. Given adequate crossover range performance, it is also possible to evaluate whether the ice shell is hydrostatic.

Cover page of Physical, spectral, and dynamical properties of asteroid (107) Camilla and its satellites

Physical, spectral, and dynamical properties of asteroid (107) Camilla and its satellites


The population of large asteroids is thought to be primordial and they are the most direct witnesses of the early history of our Solar System. Those satellites allow study of the mass, and hence density and internal structure. We study here the properties of the triple asteroid (107) Camilla from lightcurves, stellar occultations, optical spectroscopy, and high-contrast and high-angular-resolution images and spectro-images. Using 80 positions over 15 years, we determine the orbit of its larger satellite to be circular, equatorial, and prograde, with RMS residuals of 7.8 mas. From 11 positions in three epochs only, in 2015 and 2016, we determine a preliminary orbit for the second satellite. We find the orbit to be somewhat eccentric and slightly inclined to the primary's equatorial plane, reminiscent of the inner satellites of other asteroid triple systems. Comparison of the near-infrared spectrum of the larger satellite reveals no significant difference with Camilla. Hence, these properties argue for a formation of the satellites by excavation from impact and re-accumulation of ejecta. We determine the spin and 3-D shape of Camilla. The model fits well each data set. We determine Camilla to be larger than reported from modeling of mid-infrared photometry, with a spherical-volume-equivalent diameter of 254 $\pm$ 36 km (3 $\sigma$ uncertainty), in agreement with recent results from shape modeling (Hanus2017+). Combining the mass of (1.12 $\pm$ 0.01) $\times$ 10$^{19}$ kg determined from the dynamics of the satellites and the volume from the 3-D shape model, we determine a density of 1,280 $\pm$ 130 SI. From this density, and considering Camilla's spectral similarities with (24) Themis and (65) Cybele (for which water ice coating on surface grains was reported), we infer a silicate-to-ice mass ratio of 1-6, with a 10-30% macroporosity.

Cover page of Multidisciplinary Constraints on the Abundance of Diamond and Eclogite in the Cratonic Lithosphere

Multidisciplinary Constraints on the Abundance of Diamond and Eclogite in the Cratonic Lithosphere


©2018. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Some seismic models derived from tomographic studies indicate elevated shear-wave velocities (≥4.7 km/s) around 120–150 km depth in cratonic lithospheric mantle. These velocities are higher than those of cratonic peridotites, even assuming a cold cratonic geotherm (i.e., 35 mW/m2surface heat flux) and accounting for compositional heterogeneity in cratonic peridotite xenoliths and the effects of anelasticity. We reviewed various geophysical and petrologic constraints on the nature of cratonic roots (seismic velocities, lithology/mineralogy, electrical conductivity, and gravity) and explored a range of permissible rock and mineral assemblages that can explain the high seismic velocities. These constraints suggest that diamond and eclogite are the most likely high-Vscandidates to explain the observed velocities, but matching the high shear-wave velocities requires either a large proportion of eclogite (>50 vol.%) or the presence of up to 3 vol.% diamond, with the exact values depending on peridotite and eclogite compositions and the geotherm. Both of these estimates are higher than predicted by observations made on natural samples from kimberlites. However, a combination of ≤20 vol.% eclogite and ~2 vol.% diamond may account for high shear-wave velocities, in proportions consistent with multiple geophysical observables, data from natural samples, and within mass balance constraints for global carbon. Our results further show that cratonic thermal structure need not be significantly cooler than determined from xenolith thermobarometry.

Cover page of A Search for Technosignatures from 14 Planetary Systems in the Kepler Field with the Green Bank Telescope at 1.15-1.73GHz

A Search for Technosignatures from 14 Planetary Systems in the Kepler Field with the Green Bank Telescope at 1.15-1.73GHz


Analysis of Kepler mission data suggests that the Milky Way includes billions of Earth-like planets in the habitable zone of their host star. Current technology enables the detection of technosignatures emitted from a large fraction of the Galaxy. We describe a search for technosignatures that is sensitive to Arecibo-class transmitters located within ~420 ly of Earth and transmitters that are 1000 times more effective than Arecibo within ~13 000 ly of Earth. Our observations focused on 14 planetary systems in the Kepler field and used the L-band receiver (1.15-1.73 GHz) of the 100 m diameter Green Bank Telescope. Each source was observed for a total integration time of 5 minutes. We obtained power spectra at a frequency resolution of 3 Hz and examined narrowband signals with Doppler drift rates between +/-9 Hz/s. We flagged any detection with a signal-to-noise ratio in excess of 10 as a candidate signal and identified approximately 850 000 candidates. Most (99%) of these candidate signals were automatically classified as human-generated radio-frequency interference (RFI). A large fraction (>99%) of the remaining candidate signals were also flagged as anthropogenic RFI because they have frequencies that overlap those used by global navigation satellite systems, satellite downlinks, or other interferers detected in heavily polluted regions of the spectrum. All 19 remaining candidate signals were scrutinized and none were attributable to an extraterrestrial source.