Sauf exception, les séminaires ont lieu sur le site de Meudon, dans la salle de conférence du bâtiment 17.

Séminaires passés

  • Lundi 6 mai 2019 à 11h00 (Salle de réunion du bâtiment 16)

    The Faraday effect in Saturn Kilometric Radiation observed by Cassini/RPWS

    Ulrich Taubenschuss (Department of Space Physics, IAP, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic)

    Unstable particle distributions in the auroral regions of Saturn’s magnetosphere produce a powerful planetary radio emission known as Saturn Kilometric Radiation (SKR). SKR has been continuously monitored by the High Frequency Receiver (built at LESIA) of the RPWS instrument onboard the Cassini spacecraft from 2003 to 2017. While SKR is known to be circularly polarized when observed near the equator, it turned out to be elliptically polarized when observed from high latitudes and fully linearly polarized within its source region. Linear/elliptical wave polarization provide the conditions for the well known “Faraday rotation” effect to occur, which is a rotation of the axis of linear polarization as a function of frequency and the plasma conditions encountered along the ray path. We will present the basic theory of Faraday rotation and comment on the possibility to derive information about the wave propagation medium. Examples of Faraday rotation from Cassini/RPWS will be shown from a preliminary search through the dataset of the first 6 years of the Cassini mission.


  • Jeudi 25 avril 2019 à 15h00 (Salle de réunion du bâtiment 14)

    Computation, visualization, and applications of relative magnetic helicity in the Sun

    Kostas Moraitis (LESIA)

    This talk summarizes three recent works regarding magnetic helicity, which is a measure of the geometrical complexity of a 3D magnetic field and a conserved quantity of ideal MHD. The first work is about an accurate method to compute relative magnetic helicity, the appropriate helicity for most natural plasmas, in spherical geometry, and especially in finite volumes. The second work deals with a method to visualize relative magnetic helicity through a density proxy called field line helicity. In the third work, after studying the evolution of relative magnetic helicity in a solar active region, we discuss the possibility of indicating AR eruptivity with helicity-related quantities.


  • Jeudi 18 avril 2019 à 16h00 (Salle de conférence du bâtiment 17)

    Possible Challenges to the Standard Model of Cosmology

    Behnam Javanmardi (LESIA)

    The Lambda-Cold-Dark-Matter (ΛCDM) model has been understood to be successful in explaining many cosmological observations, therefore widely accepted as the standard model of cosmology. Nevertheless, it is faced with some interesting challenges with yet no solutions. In my talk, after giving a brief and simple review of the current status of ΛCDM, I will present some of the challenges to this model and my research related to them. In particular, I will talk about an unexpected observed correlation between bulge mass of disk galaxies and the number of their dwarf satellites, and also the significant tension between local and cosmic measurements of the current expansion rate of the Universe.


  • Mardi 16 avril 2019 à 14h00 (Salle de réunion du bâtiment 14)

    Space Weather experiment at Oukaimeden Observatory in Morocco

    Aziza Bounhir (LPHEA, Université Cadi Ayyad, Maroc)

    Oukaimeden Observatory (31.2 N ; 8 W ; magnetic latitude 22.7 N ; altitude 3700 m), in the Atlas mountain in Morocco hosts an experiment dedicated to space weather and especially the study of the thermosphere/ionosphere coupling. The equipment consists of a Fabry-Perrot Interferometer (FPI), a wide-angle camera and a GPS station. Thermospheric winds and temperature as well as ionospheric structures that develop at an altitude of 250 km are produced along with the total electronic content of the ionosphere.

    Space weather is a new research field in our laboratory LPHEA (Laboratoire de Physique des Hautes Energies Astronomie et Astrophysique) at Cadi Ayyad university of Marrakech, since approximately 2014, when we dedicated a school to this topic. In 2010 an ISWI delegation came to Morocco in order to implement in the African continent experiments dedicated to space weather as it is not covered with in situ data. As a result, a collaboration between Cadi Ayyad university and the university of Illinois took place through the implementation of the camera and the FPI that belong to a network in the American sector.

    The subject matter of this talk is the presentation of the results obtained, that consist mainly on the thermospheric dynamics in quiet and disturbed conditions above Oukaimeden Obervatory. We have established the climatologies of the thermospheric winds and temperature, their seasonal behavior and their sensitivity to the solar cycle. The effect of geomagnetic storms on FPI data are also presented and a classification of the geomagnetic storms observed. The camera data and TEC measurements are also used to explore a certain aspect of the thermophere/ionophere coupling.


  • Mercredi 20 mars 2019 à 14h00 (Salle de conférence du bâtiment 17)

    Fourier-based WaveFront Sensing at LAM : a quick overview

    Olivier Fauvarque (LAM)

    At the condition to use adequate focal masks, optical Fourier filtering turns out to convert phase fluctuations into intensity variations with a great efficiency. If two wave front sensors in particular - the Pyramid and the Zernike – have, during the last decades, shown very promising performance making them serious candidates for the next AO systems of the Extremely Large Telescopes, a general and theoretical scheme to finely define their behavior was missing.

    This seminar intends to present the latest theoretical results that have been done by the LAM AO team and its partners in this emerging instrumental field of research. In particular, the problem of Optical Gain tracking will be adressed through the powerful Kernel mathematical framework. We will then see how to choose proper phase reconstructor depending on the sensors’ optical characteristics. We will also introduce a new kind of optical device allowing to improve the linearity of Fourier-based WFSs without any loss of sensitivity. Finally, a presentation of the LOOPS test bench (designed to generate and test a large diversity of Fourier-based WFSensors) will serve as conclusion.


  • Mercredi 20 mars 2019 à 11h00 (Salle de conférence du bâtiment 17)

    Recovering thermodynamics from spectral profiles observed by IRIS using machine and deep learning techniques

    Alberto Sainz Dalda (Lockheed-Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory / BAERI, USA)

    We present three novel methods to recover the physical information from spectral profiles suitable to be inverted from an iterative solution of the radiative transfer equation. We combine the meaningful results provided by these traditional methods with machine and deep learning techniques to obtain similar-quality results in a easy-to-use, faster way. We have applied these new methods to Mg II h&k lines observed by IRIS. As a result, we are able to obtain the thermodynamics in the chromosphere and high photosphere in a few CPU-minutes, speeding up the process in a factor of 105-106. The open-source code developed to this aim will allow the community to use IRIS observations to open a new window to a host of solar phenomena.


  • Mardi 19 mars 2019 à 11h00 (Salle de conférence du bâtiment 17)

    What can observations of solar plasma composition tell us about physical processes occurring on the Sun ?

    Deborah Baker (University College London, Mullard Space Science Laboratory, UK)

    Elemental abundance variations are tracers of physical processes throughout the Universe, with the cosmic reference standard being the solar elemental composition. Knowledge of the Sun’s elemental composition underpins our understanding of the flow of mass and energy from deep in the interior, through the outer atmosphere, into the heliosphere. As the Sun’s outer atmosphere originates from the photosphere, it is not trivial that the elemental abundances of the photosphere and corona are different. Recent Hinode/EIS and SDO/EVE results suggest that the observed distribution and evolution of elemental composition are closely linked with the magnetic activity and heating processes in the Sun’s outer atmosphere. I will review the key results and show how variation in elemental composition may be used as a tracer of physical processes on the Sun.


  • Lundi 4 mars 2019 à 14h00 (Amphithéâtre Evry Schatzman, bâtiment 18)

    Deep learning exoplanets and the solar system

    Ingo P. Waldmann (Deputy Director UCL Centre of Space Exoplanet Data, Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, University College London)

    The field of exoplanetary spectroscopy is as fast moving as it is new. Analysing currently available observations of exoplanetary atmospheres often invoke large and correlated parameter spaces that can be difficult to map or constrain. This is true for both : the data analysis of observations as well as the theoretical modelling of their atmospheres. Issues of low signal-to-noise data and large, non-linear parameter spaces are nothing new and commonly found in many fields of engineering and the physical sciences. Recent years have seen vast improvements in statistical data analysis and machine learning that have revolutionised fields as diverse as telecommunication, pattern recognition, medical physics and cosmology. In many aspects, data mining and non-linearity challenges encountered in other data intensive fields are directly transferable to the field of extrasolar planets as well as planetary sciences. In this seminar, I will discuss our new deep learning framework, ExoGAN (Tzingales & Waldmann, 2018, AJ), designed to address some of these atmospheric modelling challenges using generative adversarial networks. I will then proceed to discuss our new hyper-spectral image classification code, PlanetNET (Waldmann & Griffith, in press, Nat. Astr.), able to automatically and accurately map Saturn’s clouds using Cassini/VIMS data. As we firmly move into the era of ‘big data’ for both planetary (e.g. Juno) and exoplanetary sciences (e.g. JWST, Ariel), intelligent algorithms will play an important part in facilitating the analysis of these rich data sets in the future.


  • Mardi 26 février 2019 à 11h00 (Salle de réunion du bâtiment 14)

    The strongest magnetic fields in sunspots and their statistical properties

    Joten Okamoto (NAOJ, Japan)

    Sunspots are concentrations of magnetic fields on the solar surface. Then, where is the strongest field in each sunspot ? It is generally located in an umbra, but sometimes stronger fields are found outside umbrae, such as a penumbra and a light bridge. The formation mechanism of such strong fields outside umbrae is still puzzling. Now we have numerous high-quality datasets taken with the Hinode/Spectro-Polarimeter over 10 years, which motivate us to address this question via a statistical analysis of strongest fields in sunspots. Hence, we complied a ranking list of active regions by their largest field strengths and investigated conditions for appearance or formation of strong magnetic fields. In this seminar, we will introduce a sunspot with a field strength of 6250 G as a case study, and then discuss the key features to produce strong fields in a statistical sample.


  • Vendredi 22 février 2019 à 14h00 (Salle de réunion du bâtiment 14)

    WhoSGlAd : A new stellar seismic probing method

    Martin Farnir (University of Liège - STAR Institute, Belgium)

    Most of the information we gather about the Universe emanates from the stellar light. A good understanding of stars is therefore needed to, for instance, trace back the evolution of our Galaxy or of exoplanetary systems. In the last decades, the launch of the space-borne missions CoRoT (2006-2014) and Kepler (2009-2018) enabled a revolution in stellar physics. They provided us with photometric information on thousands of stars with an unprecedented quality. The amount and precision of the data allowed a direct probing of the internal properties of stars through the study of their oscillations, or asteroseismology. This additional piece of information leads to stringent constraints on stellar evolution that were not accessible with ‘classical’ techniques.

    In this talk, I will present my work about the study of acoustic glitches in main-sequence stars. Acoustic glitches represent the small signature in the oscillation frequency pattern resulting from sharp gradients in the stellar structure. Those glitches are essential to our understanding of stellar structure and evolution as, for example, they provide information about the surface helium content in low-mass stars or on the extent of the mixed regions, inaccessible by other means. In order to analyse such signatures and provide significant inferences, methods as precise and accurate as possible are necessary. However, previous works interested in the information carried by acoustic glitches focused only on those signatures and neglected information contained in the oscillation spectrum as a whole. The resulting parameters characterising the stellar structure were correlated with rather important error-bars. Thus, in this presentation, I will introduce a new stellar seismic probing method that we developed, called WhoSGlAd (Whole Spectrum and Glitches Adjustement) which analyses in a comprehensive way stellar oscillation spectra. This leads to smaller error-bars and thus stricter constraints. Our method is precise and fast, and may be used with any minimisation scheme to find best fit models representing seismic data. This provides precise inferences about their structure and access to the surface helium content. As the TESS mission has been launched and PLATO will follow, providing methods able to fully benefit from the wealth of exquisite quality data while reducing at most the uncertainties of the inferences is in order. Therefore, WhoSGlAd should reveal to be of great help in characterising the targets of both missions.


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