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PLATO selected by ESA
On February 19th ESA announced that for M3 slot of Cosmic Vision PLATO 2.0 (PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars) was selected. PLATO 2.0 launch is foreseen by 2022-2024.
The main scientific objective of the mission is the discovery and characterization of extrasolar planetary systems.
PLATO 2.0 will observe up to 1,000,000 stars and will detect and characterize hundreds of small planets, thousands of giant planets, performing for each of them accurate measurements of radius, mass, mean density and age.
The final catalog will include Earth-like, potentially habitable planets.
The number of stars that Plato can follow is limited by telemetry bandwidth, and it is considerably smaller than the total number of stars in Plato's field of view, therefore the selection of the optimal targets (i.e. the preparation on the Plato Input Catalogue) is a fundamental task for the mission. (...read more).
NuSTAR: third release of public data and on-line analysis at ASDC
Starting from February 6th, 2014 the third release of NuSTAR scientific data archive (Data Release 3, DR3) is available at the ASDC. This new release contains 104 new data sets of 21 distinct targets observed up to June 30, 2013. More data releases are expected in the coming months.
We are pleased to announce that all the NuSTAR public data at ASDC are now fully integrated in the ASDC Multi-Mission Interactive Archive (MMIA). Through the MMIA the user can perform on-line analysis of all NuSTAR public observations, without the need to download any software. This includes the extraction of high-level scientific products such as cleaned event files, sky images, energy spectra, light-curves, ARFs and RMFs.
A new version (v.1.3.1) of the NuSTAR Data Analysis Software (NuSTARDAS), the official package to process the NuSTAR scientific data, has been distributed as a sub-package in the HEASARC's HEASoft multi-mission software (v.6.15.1 release).
The updated NuSTARDAS data analysis software guide is also available. (...read more).
A new version of the MATISSE tool and the Solar System web pages at ASDC
After its first year of existence, the ASDC webtool to access and visualize planetary exploration data MATISSE (Multi-purpose Advanced Tool for the Instruments for the Solar System Exploration), has been deeply upgraded.
A new version (V. 0.6) provides:
• searchable database, including observations from the three instruments of the International Rosetta Mission (that recently woken up) with strong Italian participation: the visible camera OSIRIS, the infrared imaging spectrometer VIRTIS-M and the dust analyzer GIADA;
• multi-observation by means of which both averages (i.e., mosaics) and ratios between observations can be performed;
• user privileges functionalities to enable the use of proprietary data, accessible only to users belonging to specific groups.
Thanks to its modular structure the tool is ready to be further upgraded with other types of data and missions (i.e., NASA Dawn to asteroid Vesta and Ceres), without changing the code behind it.
To access MATISSE go to https://tools.asdc.asi.it/matisse.jsp and click “Login”: after the user set-up has been completed please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list of user that can access the tool. In the same email please also specify if you belong to one of the scientific teams, requiring access to proprietary data. (...read more).
AGILE Mission status and latest AGILE top results
• AGILE scientific operations in stand-by since Jan 1st, 2014. On January 1st, 2014 scientific in-orbit operations of the AGILE satellite have been temporarily interrupted. The payload is currently in a "stand-by" state, with only housekeeping telemetry being downlinked on alternate days.
A petition supporting the protraction of the AGILE Mission was started by a Princeton physicist, Franco Paoletti and by Bruno Coppi, Prof. Emeritus at MIT, working in the area of Plasma Physics. AGILE is now waiting for future ASI decisions about the mission funding. Positive on-going developments may lead to a restart of the scientific operations in the coming weeks.
• Unidentified AGILE gamma-ray source AGL J2241+4454 leads to the discovery of the first ever known Be-BH binary system. On July 2010 the ASI AGILE gamma-ray satellite recorded intense and sporadic gamma-ray emission above 100 MeV from a new unidentified source, AGL J2241+4454 (Lucarelli F. et al., ATel #2761).
• Interactive webpage of the AGILE Terrestrial Gamma-ray catalog below 30 MeV detected by the AGILE-MCAL instrument. The AGILE Data Center and of the AGILE TGF Science Team are glad to inform that on-line access to the AGILE Terrestrial Gamma-ray (TGF) catalog below 30 MeV detected by the Minicalorimeter (MCAL) instrument (M. Marisaldi et al., JGR 2013) is now available from the ASDC webpage: www.asdc.asi.it/mcaltgfcat/ . (...read more).
Fermi LAT P7REP data release at ASDC and the next 3FGL Catalog
The Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) Collaboration has reprocessed its entire Pass 7 dataset with up to date instrument calibrations. The P7 reprocessed data (referred to as P7REP data) is available from December 2013 also at the ASDC LAT photon data query page with the updated online data analysis interface running on them.
A third Fermi LAT source catalog (3FGL) based on four years of reprocessed data is in preparation togheter with the Third LAT AGN Catalog (3LAC). The 3LAC Catalog being constructed through the work and co-leading of the Fermi team at ASDC, makes use of ASDC source-association software and multifrequency SED data and tools. The preliminary results have been presented at the 223rd AAS Meeting in Washington DC and the latest LAT Collaboration meeting held at SLAC, Stanford in February 2014.
The last top news of 2014 by Fermi include stories from the first-ever gamma-ray measurements of a signal from a gravitationally lensed gamma-ray blazar (corresponding ASDC news), from black widow pulsars consuming their mates and the Fermi and other NASA satellites looking at supernova SN 2014J in galaxy M 82. (...read more).
The ASDC SED Builder tool: an update
The ASDC SED Builder tool V3.0 (tools.asdc.asi.it/SED/ see also the ASDC newsletter #8) is now an established and widely used tool for handling multi-frequency astronomical data in the energy and time domain. This brief note announces the availabilility of additional data such as the AllWISE IR catalog (including 747 million sources) the ARGO YBJ list of upper limits at 1 TeV of all northern sources of the Fermi 2LAC catalog (Bartoli et al. 2013 ApJ, 779, 27), and other VHE measurements taken from a variety of publications presenting HESS, MAGIC and VERITAS data. In an effort to provide additional capabilities we are working on a new version that will support polarization data at any frequency. We expect that this version (V4.0) will be released later this year. (...read more).