The diurnal variation of HOCl and the related species ClO, HO2 and HCl measured by satellites has been compared with the results of a one-dimensional photochemical model. The study compares the data from various limb-viewing instruments with model simulations from the middle stratosphere to the lower mesosphere. Data from three sub-millimetre instruments and two infrared spectrometers are used, namely from the Sub-Millimetre Radiometer (SMR) on board Odin, the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) on board Aura, the Superconducting Submillimeter-wave Limb-Emission Sounder (SMILES) on the International Space Station, the Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS) on board ENVISAT, and the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment Fourier Transform Spectrometer (ACE-FTS) on board SCISAT. Inter-comparison of the measurements from instruments on sun-synchronous satellites (SMR, MLS, MIPAS) and measurements from solar occultation instruments (ACE-FTS) is challenging since the measurements correspond to different solar zenith angles (or local times). However, using a model which covers all solar zenith angles and data from the SMILES instrument which measured at all local times over a period of several months provides the possibility to verify the model and to indirectly compare the diurnally variable species. The satellite data were averaged for latitudes of 20° S to 20° N for the SMILES observation period from November 2009 to April 2010 and were compared at three altitudes: 35, 45 and 55 km. Besides presenting the SMILES data, the study also shows a first comparison of the latest MLS data (version 3.3) of HOCl, ClO, and HO2 with other satellite observations, as well as a first evaluation of HO2 observations made by Odin/SMR. The MISU-1D model has been carefully initialised and run for conditions and locations of the observations. The diurnal cycle features for the species investigated here are generally well reproduced by the model. The satellite observations and the model agree well in terms of absolute mixing ratios. The differences between the day and night values of the model are in good agreement with the observations although the amplitude of the HO2 diurnal variation is 10–20% lower in the model than in the observations. In particular, the data offered the opportunity to study the reaction ClO+HO2 → HOCl+O2 in the lower mesosphere at 55 km. At this altitude the HOCl night-time variation depends only on this reaction. The result of this analysis points towards a value of the rate constant within the range of the JPL 2006 recommendation and the upper uncertainty limit of the JPL 2011 recommendation at 55 km.
The Superconducting Submillimeter-Wave Limb-Emission Sounder (SMILES) was successfully launched and attached to the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) on the International Space Station (ISS) on 25 September 2009. It has been making atmospheric observations since 12 October 2009 with the aid of a 4 K mechanical cooler and superconducting mixers for submillimeter limb-emission sounding in the frequency bands of 624.32–626.32 GHz and 649.12–650.32 GHz . On the basis of the observed spectra, the data processing has been retrieving vertical profiles for the atmospheric minor constituents in the middle atmosphere, such as O3 with isotopes, HCl, ClO, HO2, BrO, and HNO3. Results from SMILES have demonstrated its high potential to observe atmospheric minor constituents in the middle atmosphere. Unfortunately, SMILES observations have been suspended since 21 April 2010 owing to the failure of a critical component.
Development of Science Data-Handling Unit (SHU) for Global Lightning and Sprite Measurements (GLIMS) Onboard Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) of ISS
A project to observe lightning and sprites from the International Space Station (ISS), with altitude of 407 km and inclination of 51.6°, is planned for 2012. GLIMS (global lightning and sprite measurements) is an instrument designed for this project, and it includes a CMOS camera, photomultipliers, a VLF receiver, and a VHF interferometer. This is the first project for simultaneous measurements of lightning, sprites, and radiowaves from lightning simultaneously. The sensors used for GLIMS were developed based on previous satellite projects. However, for this project, the sensors used needed to be synchronized, and controlled through the Japanese experiment module (JEM) interface. A science data-handling unit (SHU) was newly developed for this purpose; it included a function for suppressing data traffic using a high-speed lossless compression code (HIREW).
We present here an observation of the Cygnus Superbubble (CSB) using the Solid-state slit camera (SSC) aboard the Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI). The CSB is a large diffuse structure in the Cygnus region with enhanced soft X-ray emission. By utilizing the CCD spectral resolution of the SSC, we detected Fe, Ne, Mg emission lines from the CSB for the first time. The best-fit model implies a thin hot plasma of kT ≈ 0.3 keV with a depleted abundance of 0.26 ± 0.1 solar. Joint spectrum fittings of the ROSAT/PSPC data and MAXI/SSC data enabled us to measure precise values of NH and the temperature inside the CSB. The results show that all of the regions in the CSB have a similar NH and temperature, indicating that the CSB is a single unity. An energy budgets calculation suggests that (2–3) × 106 yr of stellar wind from the Cyg OB2 is sufficient to power up the CSB, whereas due to its off-center position, the origin of the CSB is most likely to be a Hypernova.
A new type of solar neutron detector (NEM) was launched by the space shuttle Endeavour on 16 July 2009 and it began collecting data on 25 August 2009 at the International Space Station (ISS). In this paper we introduce preliminary results obtained by the NEM.
SMILES zonal and diurnal variation climatology of stratospheric and mesospheric trace gasses: O3, HCl, HNO3, ClO, BrO, HOCl, HO2, and temperature
We present a climatology of the diurnal variation of short-lived atmospheric compounds, such as ClO, BrO, HO2, and HOCl, as well as longer-lived species: O3, the hydrogen chloride isotopes H35Cl and H37Cl, and HNO3. Measurements were taken by the Superconducting Submillimeter-wave Limb-Emission Sounder (SMILES). This spectrally resolving radiometer, with very low observation noise and altitude range from the lower stratosphere to the lower thermosphere (20–100km), was measuring vertical profiles of absorption spectra along a non-sun-synchronous orbit, thus observing at all local times. We used the retrieved volume mixing ratio profiles to compile climatologies that are a function of pressure, a horizontal coordinate (latitude or equivalent latitude), and a temporal coordinate (solar zenith angle or local solar time). The main product presented are climatologies with a high resolution of the temporal coordinate (diurnal variation climatologies). In addition, we provide climatologies with a high resolution of the horizontal coordinate (zonal climatologies).The diurnal variation climatologies are based on data periods of 2 months and the zonal climatologies on monthly data periods. Consideration of the SMILES time-space sampling patterns with respect to the averaging coordinates is a key issue for climatology creation, especially in case of diurnal variation climatologies. Biases induced by inhomogeneous sampling are minimized by carefully choosing the size of averaging bins. The sampling biases of the diurnal variation climatology of ClO and BrO are investigated in a comparison of homogeneously sampled model data versus SMILES-sampled model data from the stratospheric Lagrangian chemistry and transport model Alfred Wegener Institute Lagrangian Chemisrty/Transport System. In most cases, the relative sampling error is in the range of 0–20%. The strongest impact of sampling biases is found where the species' temporal gradients are strongest (mostly at sunrise and sunset), with a relative error of 60–100%. The SMILES climatology data sets are available via the SMILES data distribution home page.
Direct estimation of the rate constant of the reaction ClO + HO2 → HOCl + O2 from SMILES atmospheric observations
Diurnal variations of ClO, HO2, and HOCl were simultaneously observed by the Superconducting Submillimeter-Wave Limb-Emission Sounder (SMILES) between 12 October 2009 and 21 April 2010. These were the first global observations of the diurnal variation of HOCl in the upper atmosphere. A major reaction for the production of HOCl is ClO + HO2 → HOCl + O2 (Reaction (R1)) in extra-polar regions. A model study suggested that in the mesosphere, this is the only reaction influencing the amount of HOCl during the night. The evaluation of the pure reaction period, when only Reaction (R1) occurred in the Cly chemical system, was performed by checking the consistency of the HOCl production rate with the ClO loss rate from SMILES observation data. It turned out that the SMILES data at the pressure level of 0.28 hPa (about 58 km) in the autumn mid-latitude region (20–40°, February–April 2010) during night (between modified local time 18:30 and 04:00) were suitable for the estimation of the rate constant, k1. The rate constant obtained from SMILES observations was k1(245 K) = (7.75 ± 0.25) × 10−12 cm3 molecule−1 s−1. This result is consistent with results from a laboratory experiment and ab initio calculations for similar low-pressure conditions.
Bright X-Ray Flares from the BL Lac Object Markarian 421, Detected with MAXI in 2010 January and February
Strong X-ray flares from the blazar Mrk 421 were detected in 2010 January and February through 7-month monitoring with the MAXI GSC. The maximum 2–10 keV flux in the January and February flares was measured to be 120 ± 10 mCrab and 164 ± 17 mCrab, respectively; the latter is the highest among those reported from the object. A comparison of the MAXI and Swift BAT data suggests a convex X-ray spectrum with an approximated photon index of Γ ≳ 2. This spectrum is consistent with a picture that MAXI is observing near the synchrotron peak frequency. The source exhibited a spectral variation during these flares, slightly different from those in previous observations, in which the positive correlation between the flux and hardness was widely reported. By equating the halving decay timescale in the January flare, tmd ∼ 2.5 × 104 s, to the synchrotron cooling time, the magnetic field was evaluated to be B ∼ 4.5 × 10−2 G (δ/10)−1/3, where δ is the jet beaming factor. Assuming that the light crossing time of the emission region is shorter than the doubling rise time, tmr ≲ 2 × 104 s, the region size was roughly estimated as R < 6 × 1015 cm (δ/10). These results are consistent with values previously reported. For the February flare, the rise time, tmr < 1.3 × 105 s, gives a loose upper limit on the size as R < 4 × 1016 cm (δ/10), although the longer decay time, tmd ∼ 1.4 × 105 s, indicates B ∼ 1.5 × 10−2 G (δ/10)−1/3, which is weaker than the previous results. This could be reconciled by invoking a scenario that this flare is a superposition of unresolved events with a shorter timescale.
We describe the results of the first year of a program to localize new Galactic Transient sources discovered by MAXI with NASA's Swift mission. Swift is ideally suited for follow-up of MAXI discovered transients as its X-ray Telescope (XRT) field of view (~0.2 degrees radius) is closely matched to the typical MAXI error circle. The XRT is capable of localizing new sources to an accuracy of up to 1.5 arc-seconds radius (90% confidence), and the Swift Optical/UV Telescope also provides optical imaging of any optical counterpart of the X-ray source. If no optical counterpart is found with Swift (usually due to absorption), the XRT position is good enough to allow for ground based IR telescopes to positively identify the optical counterpart. Although localization and identification of MAXI transients is the main aim of the program, these are often followed up by long term monitoring of the source. We present here results from 2 of these monitoring programs: the black-hole candidate MAXI J1659-152, and the Be/X-ray binary candidate MAXI J1409-619.
Patterns in Crew-Initiated Photography of Earth From ISS — Is Earth Observation a Salutogenic Experience?
Background: To provide for the well-being of crewmembers on future exploration missions, understanding how space station crewmembers handle the inherently stressful isolation and confinement during long-duration missions is important. A recent retrospective survey of previously flown astronauts found that the most commonly reported psychologically enriching aspects of spaceflight had to do with their “Perceptions of Earth.” Crewmembers onboard the International Space Station (ISS) photograph Earth through the station windows. Some of these photographs are in response to requests from scientists on the ground through the Crew Earth Observations (CEO) payload. Other photographs taken by crewmembers have not been in response to these formal requests. The automatically recorded data from the camera provides a dataset that can be used to test hypotheses about factors correlated with self-initiated crewmember photography. The present study used objective in-flight data to corroborate the previous questionnaire finding and to further investigate the nature of voluntary Earth-Observation activity. Methods: We examined the distribution of photographs with respect to time, crew, and subject matter. We also determined whether the frequency fluctuated in conjunction with major mission events such as vehicle dockings, and extra-vehicular activities (EVAs, or spacewalks), relative to the norm for the relevant crew. We also examined the influence of geographic and temporal patterns on frequency of Earth photography activities. We tested the hypotheses that there would be peak photography intensity over locations of personal interest, and on weekends. Results: From December 2001 through October 2005 (Expeditions 4-11) crewmembers took 144,180 photographs of Earth with time and date automatically recorded by the camera. Of the time-stamped photographs, 84.5% were crew-initiated, and not in response to CEO requests. Preliminary analysis indicated some phasing in patterns of photography during the course of a mission (significant quadratic and trimodal models). There was also a small but significant increase in photo activity on the weekends. In contrast, fewer photos were taken during major station events and for a period of time immediately preceding those events. Discussion: Data on photography patterns presented here represent a relatively objective group-level measure of Earth observing activities on ISS. Crew Earth Observations offers a self-initiated positive activity that may be important in salutogenesis (maintenance of well-being) of astronauts on long-duration missions. Consideration should be given to developing substitute activities for crewmembers in future exploration missions where there will not be the opportunity to look at Earth, such as on long-duration transits to Mars.