Browsing by Subject "MESSENGER"

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  • Moestl, C.; Amerstorfer, T.; Palmerio, E.; Isavnin, A.; Farrugia, C. J.; Lowder, C.; Winslow, R. M.; Donnerer, J. M.; Kilpua, E. K. J.; Boakes, P. D. (2018)
    Forecasting the geomagnetic effects of solar storms, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), is currently severely limited by our inability to predict the magnetic field configuration in the CME magnetic core and by observational effects of a single spacecraft trajectory through its 3-D structure. CME magnetic flux ropes can lead to continuous forcing of the energy input to the Earth's magnetosphere by strong and steady southward-pointing magnetic fields. Here we demonstrate in a proof-of-concept way a new approach to predict the southward field B-z in a CME flux rope. It combines a novel semiempirical model of CME flux rope magnetic fields (Three-Dimensional Coronal ROpe Ejection) with solar observations and in situ magnetic field data from along the Sun-Earth line. These are provided here by the MESSENGER spacecraft for a CME event on 9-13 July 2013. Three-Dimensional Coronal ROpe Ejection is the first such model that contains the interplanetary propagation and evolution of a 3-D flux rope magnetic field, the observation by a synthetic spacecraft, and the prediction of an index of geomagnetic activity. A counterclockwise rotation of the left-handed erupting CME flux rope in the corona of 30 degrees and a deflection angle of 20 degrees is evident from comparison of solar and coronal observations. The calculated Dst matches reasonably the observed Dst minimum and its time evolution, but the results are highly sensitive to the CME axis orientation. We discuss assumptions and limitations of the method prototype and its potential for real time space weather forecasting and heliospheric data interpretation.
  • Janvier, Miho; Winslow, Reka; Good, Simon; Bonhomme, Elise; Démoulin, Pascal; Dasso, Sergio; Möstl, Christian; Lugaz, Noé; Amerstorfer, Tanja; Soubrié, Elie; Boakes, Peter D. (2019)
    We study interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs) measured by probes at different heliocentric distances (0.3-1 AU) to investigate the propagation of ICMEs in the inner heliosphere and determine how the generic features of ICMEs change with heliospheric distance. Using data from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER), Venus Express and ACE spacecraft, we analyze with the superposed epoch technique the profiles of ICME substructures, namely, the sheath and the magnetic ejecta. We determine that the median magnetic field magnitude in the sheath correlates well with ICME speeds at 1 AU, and we use this proxy to order the ICMEs at all spacecraft. We then investigate the typical ICME profiles for three categories equivalent to slow, intermediate, and fast ICMEs. Contrary to fast ICMEs, slow ICMEs have a weaker solar wind field at the front and a more symmetric magnetic field profile. We find the asymmetry to be less pronounced at Earth than at Mercury, indicating a relaxation taking place as ICMEs propagate. We also find that the magnetic field intensities in the wake region of the ICMEs do not go back to the pre-ICME solar wind intensities, suggesting that the effects of ICMEs on the ambient solar wind last longer than the duration of the transient event. Such results provide an indication of physical processes that need to be reproduced by numerical simulations of ICME propagation. The samples studied here will be greatly improved by future missions dedicated to the exploration of the inner heliosphere, such as Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter.
  • Möstl, C.; Isavnin, A.; Boakes, P. D.; Kilpua, E. K. J.; Davies, J. A.; Harrison, R. A.; Barnes, D.; Krupar, V.; Eastwood, J. P.; Good, S. W.; Forsyth, R. J.; Bothmer, V.; Reiss, M. A.; Amerstorfer, T.; Winslow, R. M.; Anderson, B. J.; Philpott, L. C.; Rodriguez, L.; Rouillard, A. P.; Gallagher, P.; Nieves-Chinchilla, T.; Zhang, T. L. (2017)
    We present an advance toward accurately predicting the arrivals of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) at the terrestrial planets, including Earth. For the first time, we are able to assess a CME prediction model using data over two thirds of a solar cycle of observations with the Heliophysics System Observatory. We validate modeling results of 1337 CMEs observed with the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) heliospheric imagers (HI) (science data) from 8 years of observations by five in situ observing spacecraft. We use the self-similar expansion model for CME fronts assuming 60 degrees longitudinal width, constant speed, and constant propagation direction. With these assumptions we find that 23%-35% of all CMEs that were predicted to hit a certain spacecraft lead to clear in situ signatures, so that for one correct prediction, two to three false alarms would have been issued. In addition, we find that the prediction accuracy does not degrade with the HI longitudinal separation from Earth. Predicted arrival times are on average within 2.6 +/- 16.6 h difference of the in situ arrival time, similar to analytical and numerical modeling, and a true skill statistic of 0.21. We also discuss various factors that may improve the accuracy of space weather forecasting using wide-angle heliospheric imager observations. These results form a first-order approximated baseline of the prediction accuracy that is possible with HI and other methods used for data by an operational space weather mission at the Sun-Earth L5 point. Plain Language Summary Solar storms are formed by incredibly powerful explosions on the Sun and travel as clouds of plasma threaded by magnetic fields through the solar system. Depending on their propagation direction, they may impact planets such as Earth, where they elicit colorful aurorae or, in very seldom cases, can lead to power failures with potentially tremendous economical and societal effects, thus posing a serious natural hazard. In this work, we have shown how well the solar storm impact can be forecasted when using a special type of instrument that can actually image the solar storms as they propagate toward the planets and even as they sweep over them. Our analysis includes two thirds of a solar cycle with 8 years of data, and spacecraft at Mercury, Venus, Earth, and in the solar wind to check on the correctness of our predictions. We could forecast the arrival time within +/- 16 h, and for one correct impact there are two to three false alarms. This forms a new baseline for the science of space weather prediction. Clearly, the modeling should be further improved to be used on a daily basis for a space weather mission to the Sun-Earth L5 point.
  • Scolini, C.; Rodriguez, L.; Mierla, M.; Pomoell, J.; Poedts, S. (2019)
    Context. Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are the primary source of strong space weather disturbances at Earth. Their geo-effectiveness is largely determined by their dynamic pressure and internal magnetic fields, for which reliable predictions at Earth are not possible with traditional cone CME models. Aims. We study two well-observed Earth-directed CMEs using the EUropean Heliospheric FORecasting Information Asset (EUH-FORIA) model, testing for the first time the predictive capabilities of a linear force-free spheromak CME model initialised using parameters derived from remote-sensing observations. Methods. Using observation-based CME input parameters, we performed magnetohydrodynamic simulations of the events with EU-HFORIA, using the cone and spheromak CME models. Results. Simulations show that spheromak CMEs propagate faster than cone CMEs when initialised with the same kinematic parameters. We interpret these differences as the result of different Lorentz forces acting within cone and spheromak CMEs, which lead to different CME expansions in the heliosphere. Such discrepancies can be mitigated by initialising spheromak CMEs with a reduced speed corresponding to the radial speed only. Results at Earth provide evidence that the spheromak model improves the predictions of B (B-z) by up to 12-60 (22-40) percentage points compared to a cone model. Considering virtual spacecraft located within +/- 10 degrees around Earth, B (Bz) predictions reach 45-70% (58-78%) of the observed peak values. The spheromak model shows inaccurate predictions of the magnetic field parameters at Earth for CMEs propagating away from the Sun-Earth line. Conclusions. The spheromak model successfully predicts the CME properties and arrival time in the case of strictly Earth-directed events, while modelling CMEs propagating away from the Sun-Earth line requires extra care due to limitations related to the assumed spherical shape. The spatial variability of modelling results and the typical uncertainties in the reconstructed CME direction advocate the need to consider predictions at Earth and at virtual spacecraft located around it.
  • Good, S.W.; Kilpua, E.K.J.; LaMoury, A.T.; Forsyth, R.J.; Eastwood, J.P.; Möstl, C. (2019)
    Abstract Interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs) are a significant feature of the heliospheric environment and the primary cause of adverse space weather at the Earth. ICME propagation, and the evolution of ICME magnetic field structure during propagation, are still not fully understood. We analyze the magnetic field structures of 18 ICME magnetic flux ropes observed by radially aligned spacecraft in the inner heliosphere. Similarity in the underlying flux rope structures is determined through the application of a simple technique that maps the magnetic field profile from one spacecraft to the other. In many cases, the flux ropes show very strong underlying similarities at the different spacecraft. The mapping technique reveals similarities that are not readily apparent in the unmapped data and is a useful tool when determining whether magnetic field time series observed at different spacecraft are associated with the same ICME. Lundquist fitting has been applied to the flux ropes and the rope orientations have been determined; macroscale differences in the profiles at the aligned spacecraft may be ascribed to differences in flux rope orientation. Assuming that the same region of the ICME was observed by the aligned spacecraft in each case, the fitting indicates some weak tendency for the rope axes to reduce in inclination relative to the solar equatorial plane and to align with the solar east-west direction with heliocentric distance.
  • Cremonese, G.; Capaccioni, F.; Capria, M. T.; Doressoundiram, A.; Palumbo, P.; Vincendon, M.; Massironi, M.; Debei, S.; Zusi, M.; Altieri, F.; Amoroso, M.; Aroldi, G.; Baroni, M.; Barucci, A.; Bellucci, G.; Benkhoff, J.; Besse, S.; Bettanini, C.; Blecka, M.; Borrelli, D.; Brucato, J. R.; Carli, C.; Carlier, Elodie; Cerroni, P.; Cicchetti, A.; Colangeli, L.; Dami, M.; Da Deppo, V.; Della Corte,; De Sanctis, M. C.; Erard, S.; Esposito, F.; Fantinel, D.; Ferranti, L.; Ferri, F.; Veltroni, I. Ficai; Filacchione, G.; Flamini, E.; Forlani, G.; Fornasier, S.; Forni, O.; Fulchignoni, M.; Galluzzi, Lorenzo; Gwinner, K.; Ip, W.; Jorda, L.; Langevin, Y.; Lara, L.; Leblanc, F.; Leyrat, C.; Li, Y.; Marchi, S.; Marinangeli, L.; Marzari, F.; Epifani, E. Mazzotta; Mendillom, M.; Mennella, A.; Mugnuolo, R.; Muinonen, K.; Naletto, G.; Noschese, R.; Palomba, E.; Paolinetti, R.; Perna, D.; Piccioni, G.; Politi, R.; Poulet, F.; Ragazzoni, R.; Re, C.; Rossi, M.; Rotundi, A.; Salemi, G.; Sgavetti, M.; Simioni, E.; Thomas, N.; Tommasi, L.; Turella, A.; Van Hoolst, T.; Wilson, L.; Zambon, F.; Aboudan, A.; Barraud, O.; Bott, N.; Borin, P.; Colombatti, G.; El Yazidi, M.; Ferrari, S.; Flahaut, J.; Giacomini, L.; Guzzetta, L.; Lucchetti, A.; Martellato, E.; Pajola, M.; Slemer, A.; Tognon, G.; Turrini, D. (2020)
    The SIMBIO-SYS (Spectrometer and Imaging for MPO BepiColombo Integrated Observatory SYStem) is a complex instrument suite part of the scientific payload of the Mercury Planetary Orbiter for the BepiColombo mission, the last of the cornerstone missions of the European Space Agency (ESA) Horizon + science program. The SIMBIO-SYS instrument will provide all the science imaging capability of the BepiColombo MPO spacecraft. It consists of three channels: the STereo imaging Channel (STC), with a broad spectral band in the 400-950 nm range and medium spatial resolution (at best 58 m/px), that will provide Digital Terrain Model of the entire surface of the planet with an accuracy better than 80 m; the High Resolution Imaging Channel (HRIC), with broad spectral bands in the 400-900 nm range and high spatial resolution (at best 6 m/px), that will provide high-resolution images of about 20% of the surface, and the Visible and near-Infrared Hyperspectral Imaging channel (VIHI), with high spectral resolution (6 nm at finest) in the 400-2000 nm range and spatial resolution reaching 120 m/px, it will provide global coverage at 480 m/px with the spectral information, assuming the first orbit around Mercury with periherm at 480 km from the surface. SIMBIO-SYS will provide high-resolution images, the Digital Terrain Model of the entire surface, and the surface composition using a wide spectral range, as for instance detecting sulphides or material derived by sulphur and carbon oxidation, at resolutions and coverage higher than the MESSENGER mission with a full co-alignment of the three channels. All the data that will be acquired will allow to cover a wide range of scientific objectives, from the surface processes and cartography up to the internal structure, contributing to the libration experiment, and the surface-exosphere interaction. The global 3D and spectral mapping will allow to study the morphology and the composition of any surface feature. In this work, we describe the on-ground calibrations and the results obtained, providing an important overview of the instrument performances. The calibrations have been performed at channel and at system levels, utilizing specific setup in most of the cases realized for SIMBIO-SYS. In the case of the stereo camera (STC), it has been necessary to have a validation of the new stereo concept adopted, based on the push-frame. This work describes also the results of the Near-Earth Commissioning Phase performed few weeks after the Launch (20 October 2018). According to the calibration results and the first commissioning the three channels are working very well.
  • Quirin, Tania; Chen, Yu; Pietilä, Maija K.; Guo, Deyin; Ahola, Tero (2018)
    The nodavirus flock house virus (FHV) and the alphavirus Semliki Forest virus (SFV) show evolutionarily intriguing similarities in their replication complexes and RNA capping enzymes. In this study, we first established an efficient FHV trans-replication system in mammalian cells, which disjoins protein expression from viral RNA synthesis. Following transfection, FHV replicase protein A was associated with mitochondria, whose outer surface displayed pouch-like invaginations with a ‘neck’ structure opening towards the cytoplasm. In mitochondrial pellets from transfected cells, high-level synthesis of both genomic and subgenomic RNA was detected in vitro and the newly synthesized RNA was of positive polarity. Secondly, we initiated the study of the putative RNA capping enzyme domain in protein A by mutating the conserved amino acids H93, R100, D141, and W215. RNA replication was abolished for all mutants inside cells and in vitro except for W215A, which showed reduced replication. Transfection of capped RNA template did not rescue the replication activity of the mutants. Comparing the efficiency of SFV and FHV trans-replication systems, the FHV system appeared to produce more RNA. Using fluorescent marker proteins, we demonstrated that both systems could replicate in the same cell. This work may facilitate the comparative analysis of FHV and SFV replication.