Planetary observations

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  • The distinction between geophysics and astronomy was once clear. Events on Earth constituted the realm of geophysics, while astronomy encompassed objects that are located many light years from the Sun and Earth. Interstellar clouds were “out there”, where they could be observed from isolated observatories nestled under the starry skies of the world’s deserts. Geology relied on shovels and drill bits to obtain samples of mud and ice that contained clues to the paleoclimate.

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  • The steps needed to define a successful space science mission are numerous. The science drivers, the unique advantages this mission provides over past missions or earth-based experiments, and the payload that it includes are the key factors to guarantee its success. Finding the required information on such topics is not so straightforward, especially as they are usually outside the scope of undergraduate courses. The 2003 Canary Islands Winter School of Astrophysics aimed at providing a focused framework that helps fill this need.

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  • Since their discovery was first announced in 1973, gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) have been among the most fascination objects in the universe. While the initial mystery has gone, the fascination continues, sustained by the close connection linking GRBs with some of the most fundamental topics in modern astrophysics and cosmology. Both authors have been active in GRB observations for over two decades and have produced an outstanding account on both the history and the perspectives of GRB research.

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  • Abstract The year 2008 marked the one hundredth anniversary of the observational discovery by George Ellery Hale of magnetic field in sunspots (Hale in Astrophys. J. 28:315–343, 1908). This observation, the first to suggest a direct link between the best-known variable features on the Sun and magnetism, started a line of research that has widened considerably over the last 100 years and is continuing today. Knowledge about all aspects of the Sun has increased in a remarkable way over the past few decades....

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  • Humankind’s fascination with Mars predates recorded history. The bright planet with the reddish tint is unique among the other celestial objects. Tycho Brahe’s observations of its unpredictable motion were deciphered by Johannes Kepler in the early 17th century as he developed his laws of planetary motion. Galileo trained his telescope on Mars and saw it as a disk in 1610. Later in the 1600s, Christiaan Huygens and Gian Cassini drew the first maps of the Martian surface.

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  • This book gives an account of the modern view of the global circulation of the atmosphere. It brings the observed nature of the circulation together with theories and simple models of the mechanisms which drive it. Early chapters concentrate on the classical view of the global circulation, on the processes which generate atmospheric motions and on the dynamical constraints which modify them. Later chapters develop more recent themes including low frequency variability and the circulation of other planetary atmospheres....

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