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Description: A 26-Myr periodicity has recently been seen in the fossil record of extinction in the geological past. At least two of these extinctions are known to be associated with the impact on the Earth of a comet or asteroid with a diameter of a few kilometres. We propose that the periodic events are triggered by an unseen companion to the Sun, travelling in a moderately eccentric orbit, which at its closest approach (perihelion) passes through the 'Oort cloud' of comets which surrounds the Sun. During each passage this unseen solar companion perturbs the orbits of these comets, sending a large number of them (over 1 x 10{sup 9}) into paths which reach the inner Solar System. Several of these hit the Earth, on average, in the following million years. At present the unseen companion should be approximately at its maximum distance from the Sun, {approx}2.4 light yr, and it will present no danger to the Earth until approximately AD 15,000,000.
Date: January 1, 1984
Creator: Davis, M.; Hut, P. & Muller, R.A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Discovery of a Jupiter/Saturn Analog with Gravitational Microlensing

Description: Searches for extrasolar planets have uncovered an astonishing diversity of planetary systems, yet the frequency of solar system analogs remains unknown. The gravitational microlensing planet search method is potentially sensitive to multiple-planet systems containing analogs of all the solar system planets except Mercury. We report the first detection of a multiple-planet system with microlensing. We identify two planets with masses of {approx} 0.71 and {approx} 0.27 times the mass of Jupiter and orbital separations of {approx} 2.3 and {approx} 4.6 astronomical units orbiting a primary of mass {approx} 0.50 solar masses. This system resembles a scaled version of our solar system in that the mass ratio, separation ratio, and equilibrium temperatures of the planets are similar to those of Jupiter and Saturn. These planets could not have been detected with other techniques; their discovery from only 6 confirmed microlensing planet detections suggests that solar system analogs may be common.
Date: November 8, 2007
Creator: Gaudi, B; Bennett, D; Udalski, A; Gould, A; Christie, G; Maoz, D et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Nebular mixing constrained by the Stardust samples

Description: Using X-ray microprobe analysis of samples from comet Wild 2 returned by the Stardust mission, we determine that the crystalline Fe-bearing silicate fraction in this Jupiter-family comet is greater than 0.5. Assuming this mixture is a composite of crystalline inner solar system material and amorphous cold molecular cloud material, we deduce that more than half of Wild 2 has been processed in the inner solar system. Several models exist that explain the presence of crystalline materials in comets. We explore some of these models in light of our results.
Date: March 22, 2010
Creator: OGLIORE, R. C.; WESTPHAL, A. J.; GAINSFORTH, Z.; BUTTERWORTH, A. L.; FAKRA, S. C. & Marcus, Matthew A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Mass Estinctions Caused by Large Bolide Impacts

Description: In this talk, I will describe the wealth of evidence that has forced my colleagues and me to conclude that the great mass extinctions, 65 million years ago, were caused by a large bolide impact on the earth. Bolide is a new word to most people, and it means any piece of solar system debris, such as a meteorite, asteroid, or comet nucleus. As I will show, the bolide responsible for the extinction of most of the then existing species, including the dinosaurs, was about 10 kilometers in diameter.
Date: January 1, 1987
Creator: Lavarez, Luis W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Ultrafast growth of wadsleyite in shock-produced melts and its implications for early solar system impact processes

Description: We observed micrometer-sized grains of wadsleyite, a high-pressure phase of (Mg,Fe)2SiO4, in the recovery products of a shock experiment. We infer these grains crystallized from shock-generated melt over a time interval of <1 fs, the maximum time over which our experiment reached and sustained pressure sufficient to stabilize this phase. This rapid crystal growth rate (=1 m/s) suggests that, contrary to the conclusions of previous studies of the occurrence of high-pressure phases in shock-melt veins in strongly shocked meteorites, the growth of high-pressure phases from the melt during shock events is not diffusion-controlled. Another process, such as microturbulent transport, must be active in the crystal growth process. This result implies that the times necessary to crystallize the high-pressure phases in shocked meteorites may correspond to shock pressure durations achieved on impacts between objects 1-5 m in diameter and not, as previously inferred, =1-5 km in diameter. These results may also provide another pathway for syntheses, via shock recovery, of some high-value, high-pressure phases.
Date: December 1, 2009
Creator: Tschauner, Oliver; Asimow, Paul; Kostandova, Natalia; Ahrens, Thomas; Ma, Chi; Sinogeikin, Stanislav et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Experimental constraints on the chemical evolution of icy satellites

Description: The inferred internal structure of large icy satellites hinges on the degree to which their rock component has been hydrated: this is due to the low density of hydrated silicates relative to anhydrous silicates. Accordingly, interior models of icy satellites have varied greatly in their estimates of ice thickness due to uncertainties in the density of the underlying rock. Furthermore, as both H{sub 2}O (potentially liquid) and organic materials are likely to be present, icy moons have been postulated to be possible hosts for extraterrestrial life; therefore, the stability of organic material under relevant hydrothermal conditions is an important issue. For example, Ganymede, Titan, and Triton are similar in that high pressure hydrothermal processing of silicates has likely been important in their chemical evolution. With mean densities between 1.8 and 2.1 g/cm{sup 3}, compositional models of these bodies incorporate approximately 50--80% silicate minerals by weight, with ices constituting the remaining mass. Moment of inertia constraints on the internal structure of Ganymede demonstrate that differentiation between rock and ice has occurred: such differentiation has also likely occurred in Titan and Triton. During accretion and differentiation (which could be ongoing), the silicate fraction of their interiors would have interacted with aqueous fluids at moderate to high temperatures and pressures. Indeed, a strong magnetic field appears to be generated by Ganymede implying that interior temperatures are high enough (in excess of 1,000 K) to maintain a liquid iron alloy in this satellite. High temperature/pressure hydrothermal processing at rock-water interfaces would profoundly influence the bulk mineralogy and internal structure of these bodies: the degree of hydration of the rocky fraction of these bodies has been a source of ongoing uncertainty. Surprisingly few phase equilibria data exist for compositions of relevance to hydrothermal interactions on icy satellites, and thermodynamic calculations have provided the best insights ...
Date: January 18, 2000
Creator: Scott, H P; Williams, Q & Ryerson, F J
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Regional elemental abundances within South Pole-Aitken basin as measured with lunar prospector gamma-ray spectrometer data.

Description: South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin has been a target of intense study since it is one of the largest impact basins in the solar system. It is thought that SPA basin excavated deep into the lunar crust and possibly even the mantle. Such conclusions have been supported by the observed mafic and thorium composition anomalies seen across the entire basin. One of the major goals of lunar and planetary science has been to measure and understand the composition of the non-mare materials within SPA basin. It is expected that this information will help to increase our understanding of the formation and differentiation processes that occurred early on the Moon.
Date: January 1, 2003
Creator: Lawrence, David J. (David Jeffery),; Pieters, Carlé M.; Elphic, R. C. (Richard C.); Gasnault, O. M. (Olivier M.); Prettyman, T. H. (Thomas H.) & Feldman, W. C. (William C.)
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Formation of short-lived radionuclides in the protoplanetary disk during late-stage irradiation of a volatile-rich reservoir

Description: The origin of short-lived (t{sub 1/2} < 5 Myr) and now extinct radionuclides ({sup 10}Be, {sup 26}Al, {sup 36}Cl, {sup 41}Ca, {sup 53}Mn, {sup 60}Fe; hereafter SLRs) is fundamental to understanding the formation of the early solar system. Two distinct classes of models have been proposed to explain the origin of SLRs: (1) injection from a nearby stellar source (e.g., supernova, asymptotic giant branch star or Wolf-Rayet star) and (2) solar energetic particle irradiation of dust and gas near the proto-Sun. Recent studies have demonstrated that {sup 36}Cl was extant in the early solar system. However, its presence, initial abundance and the noticeable decoupling from {sup 26}Al raise serious questions about the origin of SLRs. Here we report {sup 36}Cl-{sup 36}S and {sup 26}Al-{sup 26}Mg systematics for wadalite and grossular, secondary minerals in a calcium-aluminum-rich inclusion (CAI) from the CV chondrite Allende that allow us to reassess the origin of SLRs. The inferred abundance of {sup 36}Cl in wadalite, corresponding to a {sup 36}Cl/{sup 35}Cl ratio of (1.81 {+-} 0.13) x 10{sup -5}, is the highest {sup 36}Cl abundance reported in any early solar system material. The high level of {sup 36}Cl in wadalite and the absence of {sup 26}Al ({sup 26}Al/{sup 27}Al {le} 3.9 x 10{sup -6}) in co-existing grossular indicates that (1) {sup 36}Cl formed by late-stage solar energetic particle irradiation and (2) the production of {sup 36}Cl, recorded by secondary minerals, is unrelated to the origin of {sup 26}Al and other SLRs ({sup 10}Be, {sup 53}Mn) recorded by primary minerals of CAIs and chondrules. We conclude that 36Cl was produced by solar energetic particle irradiation of a volatile-rich reservoir in an optically thin protoplanetary disk adjacent to the accretion region of the CV chondrite parent asteroid.
Date: November 30, 2010
Creator: Jacobsen, B; Matzel, J; Hutcheon, I D; Krot, A N; Yin, Q -; Nagashima, K et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Exploring the Outer Solar System with the ESSENCE Supernova Survey

Description: We report the discovery and orbital determination of 14 trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) from the ESSENCE Supernova Survey difference imaging data set. Two additional objects discovered in a similar search of the SDSS-II Supernova Survey database were recovered in this effort. ESSENCE repeatedly observed fields far from the solar system ecliptic (-21{sup o} < {beta} < -5{sup o}), reaching limiting magnitudes per observation of I {approx} 23.1 and R {approx} 23.7. We examine several of the newly detected objects in detail, including 2003 UC{sub 414}, which orbits entirely between Uranus and Neptune and lies very close to a dynamical region that would make it stable for the lifetime of the solar system. 2003 SS{sub 422} and 2007 TA{sub 418} have high eccentricities and large perihelia, making them candidate members of an outer class of TNOs. We also report a new member of the 'extended' or 'detached' scattered disk, 2004 VN{sub 112}, and verify the stability of its orbit using numerical simulations. This object would have been visible to ESSENCE for only {approx}2% of its orbit, suggesting a vast number of similar objects across the sky. We emphasize that off-ecliptic surveys are optimal for uncovering the diversity of such objects, which in turn will constrain the history of gravitational influences that shaped our early solar system.
Date: November 10, 2011
Creator: Becker, A. C.; Arraki, K.; Kaib, N. A.; Wood-Vasey, W. M.; Aguilera, C.; Blackman, J. W. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Constraining inverse curvature gravity with supernovae

Description: We show that the current accelerated expansion of the Universe can be explained without resorting to dark energy. Models of generalized modified gravity, with inverse powers of the curvature can have late time accelerating attractors without conflicting with solar system experiments. We have solved the Friedman equations for the full dynamical range of the evolution of the Universe. This allows us to perform a detailed analysis of Supernovae data in the context of such models that results in an excellent fit. Hence, inverse curvature gravity models represent an example of phenomenologically viable models in which the current acceleration of the Universe is driven by curvature instead of dark energy. If we further include constraints on the current expansion rate of the Universe from the Hubble Space Telescope and on the age of the Universe from globular clusters, we obtain that the matter content of the Universe is 0.07 {le} {omega}{sub m} {le} 0.21 (95% Confidence). Hence the inverse curvature gravity models considered can not explain the dynamics of the Universe just with a baryonic matter component.
Date: October 1, 2005
Creator: Mena, Olga; Santiago, Jose & Weller, Jochen
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Design of a Novel Survey for Small Objects in the Solar System

Description: We evaluated several concepts for a new survey for small objects in the Solar System. We designed a highly novel survey for comets in the outer region of the Solar System, which exploits the occultations of relatively bright stars to infer the presence of otherwise extremely faint objects. The populations and distributions of these objects are not known; the uncertainties span orders of magnitude! These objects are important scientifically as probes of the primordial solar system, and programmatically now that major investments may be made in the possible mitigation of the hazard of asteroid or comet collisions with the Earth.
Date: August 21, 2000
Creator: Alcock, C.; Chen, W.P.; de Pater, I.; Lee, T.; Lissauer, J.; Rice, J. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Impact origin of the Moon

Description: A few years after the Apollo flights to the Moon, it became clear that all of the existing theories on the origin of the Moon would not satisfy the growing body of constraints which appeared with the data gathered by the Apollo flights. About the same time, researchers began to realize that the inner (terrestrial) planets were not born quietly -- all had evidences of impacts on their surfaces. This fact reinforced the idea that the planets had formed by the accumulation of planetesimals. Since the Earth`s moon is unique among the terrestrial planets, a few researchers realized that perhaps the Moon originated in a singular event; an event that was quite probable, but not so probable that one would expect all the terrestrial planets to have a large moon. And thus was born the idea that a giant impact formed the Moon. Impacts would be common in the early solar system; perhaps a really large impact of two almost fully formed planets of disparate sizes would lead to material orbiting the proto-earth, a proto-moon. This idea remained to be tested. Using a relatively new, but robust, method of doing the hydrodynamics of the collision (Smoothed-Particle Hydrodynamics), the author and his colleagues (W. Benz, Univ. of Arizona, and A.G.W. Cameron, Harvard College Obs.) did a large number of collision simulations on a supercomputer. The author found two major scenarios which would result in the formation of the Moon. The first was direct formation; a moon-sized object is boosted into orbit by gravitational torques. The second is when the orbiting material forms a disk, which, with subsequent evolution can form the Moon. In either case the physical and chemical properties of the newly formed Moon would very neatly satisfy the physical and chemical constraints of the current Moon. Also, in both ...
Date: December 31, 1998
Creator: Slattery, W.L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

A brief review of dusty plasma effects in the solar system

Description: Dusty plasmas are commonly found in the solar system and in the rest of space. In this paper we briefly describe some of the more common dusty plasmas: the rings of Saturn, dust tails of comets, dust streams from Jupiter, and noctilucent clouds in the upper atmosphere. We also discuss some of the theoretical issues related to grain charging, dust particle dynamics, waves in dusty plasmas, and dusty plasma crystals.
Date: August 1, 1997
Creator: Winske, D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Long-range weather prediction and prevention of climate catastrophes: a status report

Description: As the human population of Earth continues to expand and to demand an ever-higher quality-of-life, requirements for ever-greater knowledge--and then control--of the future of the state of the terrestrial biosphere grow apace. Convenience of living--and, indeed, reliability of life itself--become ever more highly ''tuned'' to the future physical condition of the biosphere being knowable and not markedly different than the present one, Two years ago, we reported at a quantitative albeit conceptual level on technical ways-and-means of forestalling large-scale changes in the present climate, employing practical means of modulating insolation and/or the Earth's mean albedo. Last year, we reported on early work aimed at developing means for creating detailed, high-fidelity, all-Earth weather forecasts of two weeks duration, exploiting recent and anticipated advances in extremely high-performance digital computing and in atmosphere-observing Earth satellites bearing high-technology instrumentation. This year, we report on recent progress in both of these areas of endeavor. Preventing the commencement of large-scale changes in the current climate presently appears to be a considerably more interesting prospect than initially realized, as modest insolation reductions are model-predicted to offset the anticipated impacts of ''global warming'' surprisingly precisely, in both space and time. Also, continued study has not revealed any fundamental difficulties in any of the means proposed for insolation modulation and, indeed, applicability of some of these techniques to other planets in the inner Solar system seems promising. Implementation of the high-fidelity, long-range weather-forecasting capability presently appears substantially easier with respect to required populations of Earth satellites and atmospheric transponders and data-processing systems, and more complicated with respect to transponder lifetimes in the actual atmosphere; overall, the enterprise seems more technically feasible than originally anticipated.
Date: August 18, 1999
Creator: Caldeira, K; Caravan, G; Govindasamy, B; Grossman, A; Hyde, R; Ishikawa, M et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department


Description: Encounters with interstellar clouds (IC) have been proposed by Rampino and Stothers as a cause of quasi-periodic intense comet showers leading to earth impacts, in order to explain the periodicity in marine mass extinctions found by Raup and Sepkoski. The model was described further, criticized and defended. The debate has centered on the question of whether the scale height of the clouds is small enough (in comparison to the amplitude of the oscillation of the solar system about the plane of the Galaxy) to produce a modulation in the rate of encounters. We wish to point out another serious, we believe fatal, defect in this model - the tidal fields of ICs are not strong enough to produce intense comet showers leading to earth impacts by bringing comets of the postulated inner Oort cloud into earth crossing orbits, except possibly during very rare encounters with very dense clouds. We will show that encounters with abundant clouds of low density cannot produce comet showers; cloud density N > 10{sup 3} atoms cm{sup -3} is needed to produce an intense comet shower leading to earth impacts. Furthermore, the tidal field of a dense cloud during a distant encounter is too weak to produce such showers. As a consequence, comet showers induced by ICs will be far less frequent than showers caused by passing stars. This conclusion is independent of assumptions about the radial distribution of comets in the inner Oort cloud.
Date: November 1, 1985
Creator: Morris, D.E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Bexar County Parking Garage Photovoltaic Panels

Description: The main objective of the Bexar County Parking Garage Photovoltaic (PV) Panel project is to install a PV System that will promote the use of renewable energy. This project will also help sustain Bexar County ongoing greenhouse gas emissions reduction and energy efficiency goals. The scope of this project includes the installation of a 100-kW system on the top level of a new 236,285 square feet parking garage. The PV system consists of 420 solar panels that covers 7,200 square feet and is tied into the electric-grid. It provides electricity to the office area located within the garage. The estimated annual electricity production of the PV system is 147,000 kWh per year.
Date: January 23, 2012
Creator: Weir, Golda
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Origin and properties of GEMS

Description: GEMS are to the outer solar system what chondrules are to the inner solar system. Ten years after it was first proposed that GEMS are the long-sought interstellar amorphous silicates, ion microprobe measurements have confirmed that some of them are indeed interstellar amorphous silicates. The new challenges are to obtain even higher precision isotope measurements from these submicrometer-sized objects and to clarify how and where they originally formed. Individual GEMS exhibit a strikingly narrow (0.1-0.5 {micro}m diameter) size distribution and they are systematically depleted from solar abundances in S/Si, Mg/Si, Ca/Si and Fe/Si, implying that they formed by a common mechanism. Mineralogical and petrographic evidence suggest that irradiation processing may be that mechanism. Recent nanometer-scale compositional mapping using new-generation transmission electron microscopes reveals that truly pristine GEMS may be relatively rare and new metrics need to be developed to distinguish the primordial properties of GEMS from more recent secondary alteration effects.
Date: April 11, 2006
Creator: Dai, Z R & Bradley, J P
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Oxygen Isotopes in Chondritic Interplanetary Dust: Parent-Bodies and Nebular Oxygen Reservoirs

Description: Planetary objects have preserved various amounts of oxygen issued from isotopically different oxygen reservoirs reflecting their origin and physico-chemical history. An {sup 16}O-rich component is preserved in refractory inclusions (CAIs) whereas meteorites matrices are enriched in an {sup 16}O-poor component. The origin of these components is still unclear. The most recent models are based on isotope selective photodissociation of CO in a {sup 16}O-rich nebula/presolr cloud resulting in a {sup 16}O-poor gas in the outer part of the nebula. However because most meteorite components are thought to be formed in the inner 3AU of the solar nebula, the precise isotopic composition of outer solar system components is yet unknown. In that respect, the oxygen isotopic composition of cometary dust is a key to understand the origin of the solar system. The Stardust mission will bring back to the Earth dust samples from comet Wild2, a short period comet from the Jupiter family. A precise determination of the oxygen isotope composition of Wild2 dust grains is essential to decipher the oxygen reservoirs of the outer solar system. However, Stardust samples may be extremely fragmented upon impact in the collector. In addition, interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) collected in the stratosphere are likely to contain comet samples. Therefore, they started to investigate the oxygen isotopic composition of a suite of chondritic interplanetary dust particles that includes IDPs of potential cometary origin using a refined procedure to increase the lateral resolution for the analysis of Stardust grains or IDP subcomponents down to {approx} 3 {micro}m. High precision data for 4 IDPs were previously reported, here they have measured 6 additional IDPs.
Date: February 14, 2006
Creator: Aleon, J; McKeegan, K D & Leshin, L
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Science & Technology Review April 2007

Description: This month's issue has the following articles: (1) Shaking the Foundations of Solar-System Science--Commentary by William H. Goldstein; (2) Stardust Results Challenge Astronomical Convention--The first samples retrieved from a comet are a treasure trove of surprises to Laboratory researchers; (3) Fire in the Hole--Underground coal gasification may help to meet future energy supply challenges with a production process from the past; (4) Big Physics in Small Spaces--A newly developed computer model successfully simulates particle-laden fluids flowing through complex microfluidic systems; (5) A New Block on the Periodic Table--Livermore and Russian scientists add a new block to the periodic table with the creation of element 118; and (6) A Search for Patterns and Connections--Throughout his career, Edward Teller searched for mathematical solutions to explain the physical world.
Date: February 27, 2007
Creator: Radousky, H B
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

On the Computation of Integral Curves in Adaptive Mesh Refinement Vector Fields

Description: Integral curves, such as streamlines, streaklines, pathlines, and timelines, are an essential tool in the analysis of vector field structures, offering straightforward and intuitive interpretation of visualization results. While such curves have a long-standing tradition in vector field visualization, their application to Adaptive Mesh Refinement (AMR) simulation results poses unique problems. AMR is a highly effective discretization method for a variety of physical simulation problems and has recently been applied to the study of vector fields in flow and magnetohydrodynamic applications. The cell-centered nature of AMR data and discontinuities in the vector field representation arising from AMR level boundaries complicate the application of numerical integration methods to compute integral curves. In this paper, we propose a novel approach to alleviate these problems and show its application to streamline visualization in an AMR model of the magnetic field of the solar system as well as to a simulation of two incompressible viscous vortex rings merging.
Date: June 27, 2011
Creator: Deines, Eduard; Weber, Gunther H.; Garth, Christoph; Van Straalen, Brian; Borovikov, Sergey; Martin, Daniel F. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department