# Tartu Observatory

• Tartu, Estonia
Recent publications
The development of attitude control systems in recent years have increasingly focused on Fault Tolerant Control (FTC) capabilities to deal with sensor and actuator faults as well as actuator saturation. The FTC capabilities could either be active or passive with the former involving real-time fault detection and isolation schemes. A detailed integrated architecture for FTC is presented for the ESTCube-2 nanosatellite mission. The design involves centralized and decentralized Anti-Windup (AW) compensator and an Adaptive Neuro-Fuzzy Inference System (ANFIS) controller structure for different attitude control modes. The ANFIS controller switches to implementing an AW compensator in case of specific reaction wheel actuation saturation. A Proportional Derivative (PD)-like controller is designed to ensure it satisfies the requirement under nominal conditions thereby allowing the proposed integrated FTC architecture to be implemented. The system is designed with the ESTCube-2 nanosatellite model with magnetorquers, reaction wheels and thrusters as actuators. Numerical and simulation results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method in efficiently addressing attitude control faults and actuator saturation.
Lava tubes on Mars hold exciting potential for the preservation of biosignatures, which may survive on geological timescales in these isolated, stable environments. To support the development of future astrobiological mission concepts, we turn to terrestrial lava tubes, host to a variety of microbial communities and secondary minerals. Following a multidisciplinary sampling protocol, we retrieved biological, molecular, and mineralogical data from several lava tubes in Iceland. We report on blue‐colored copper‐rich secondary minerals and their associated bacterial communities using a multi‐method approach, and an amalgam of 16S rRNA gene sequencing, Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and energy‐dispersive X‐ray spectroscopy data sets. We found numerous bacterial genera known for their high metal resistance and ability to survive in low‐nutrient environments. Both are characteristics to be expected for any potential life in Martian lava tubes, and should be considered when checking for contaminants in Mars mission preparations. Associated with the microbial mats, we identified several types of copper‐rich secondary minerals, indicating localized copper enrichments in the groundwater, possibly stemming from overlying ash deposits and nearby hyaloclastite formations. Molecular analysis revealed carotenoid signals preserved within the copper speleothems. If found in Martian lava tubes, blue copper‐rich mineral precipitates would be deserving of astrobiological investigation, as they have potential to preserve biosignatures and harbor life.
• Conifers often occur along steep gradients of diverse climates throughout their natural ranges, which is expected to result in spatially varying selection to local climate conditions. However, signals of climatic adaptation can often be confounded, because unraveled clines covary with signals caused by neutral evolutionary processes such as gene flow and genetic drift. Consequently, our understanding of how selection and gene flow have shaped phenotypic and genotypic differentiation in trees is still limited. • A 40‐year‐old common garden experiment comprising 16 Douglas‐fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) provenances from a north‐to‐south gradient of approx. 1,000 km was analyzed, and genomic information was obtained from exome capture, which resulted in an initial genomic dataset of >90,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms. We used a restrictive and conservative filtering approach, which permitted us to include only SNPs and individuals in environmental association analysis (EAA) that were free of potentially confounding effects (LD, relatedness among trees, heterozygosity deficiency, and deviations from Hardy–Weinberg proportions). We used four conceptually different genome scan methods based on FST outlier detection and gene–environment association in order to disentangle truly adaptive SNPs from neutral SNPs. • We found that a relatively small proportion of the exome showed a truly adaptive signal (0.01%–0.17%) when population substructuring and multiple testing was accounted for. Nevertheless, the unraveled SNP candidates showed significant relationships with climate at provenance origins, which strongly suggests that they have featured adaptation in Douglas‐fir along a climatic gradient. Two SNPs were independently found by three of the employed algorithms, and one of them is in close proximity to an annotated gene involved in circadian clock control and photoperiodism as was similarly found in Populus balsamifera. Synthesis. We conclude that despite neutral evolutionary processes, phenotypic and genomic signals of adaptation to climate are responsible for differentiation, which in particular explain disparity between the well‐known coastal and interior varieties of Douglas‐fir.
Retrieval of aquatic biogeochemical variables, such as the near-surface concentration of chlorophyll-a (Chla) in inland and coastal waters via remote observations, has long been regarded as a challenging task. This manuscript applies Mixture Density Networks (MDN) that use the visible spectral bands available by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) aboard Landsat-8 to estimate Chla. We utilize a database of co-located in situ radiometric and Chla measurements (N 4,354), referred to as Type A data, to train and test an MDN model (MDN A). This algorithm's performance, having been proven for other satellite missions, is further evaluated against other widely used machine learning models (e.g., support vector machines), as well as other domain-specific solutions (OC3), and shown to offer significant advancements in the field. Our performance assessment using a held-out test data set suggests that a 49% (median) accuracy with near-zero bias can be achieved via the MDN A model, offering improvements of 20 to 100% in retrievals with respect to other models. The sensitivity of the MDN A model and benchmarking methods to uncertainties from atmospheric correction (AC) methods, is further quantified through a semi-global matchup dataset (N 3,337), referred to as Type B data. To tackle the increased uncertainties, alternative MDN models (MDN B) are developed through various features of the Type B data (e.g., Rayleigh-corrected reflectance spectra ρ s). Using held-out data, along with spatial and temporal analyses, we demonstrate that these alternative models show promise in enhancing the retrieval accuracy adversely influenced by the AC process. Results lend support for the adoption of MDN B models for regional and potentially global processing of OLI imagery, until a more robust AC method is developed. Index Terms-Chlorophyll-a, coastal water, inland water, Landsat-8, machine learning, ocean color, aquatic remote sensing.
One of the challenging tasks in modern aquatic remote sensing is the retrieval of near-surface concentrations of Total Suspended Solids (TSS). This study aims to present a Statistical, inherent Optical property (IOP) -based, and muLti-conditional Inversion proceDure (SOLID) for enhanced retrievals of satellite-derived TSS under a wide range of in-water bio-optical conditions in rivers, lakes, estuaries, and coastal waters. In this study, using a large in situ database (N > 3500), the SOLID model is devised using a three-step procedure: (a) water-type classification of the input remote sensing reflectance (Rrs), (b) retrieval of particulate backscattering (bbp) in the red or near-infrared (NIR) regions using semi-analytical, machine-learning, and empirical models, and (c) estimation of TSS from bbp via water-type-specific empirical models. Using an independent subset of our in situ data (N = 2729) with TSS ranging from 0.1 to 2626.8 [g/m³], the SOLID model is thoroughly examined and compared against several state-of-the-art algorithms (Miller and McKee, 2004; Nechad et al., 2010; Novoa et al., 2017; Ondrusek et al., 2012; Petus et al., 2010). We show that SOLID outperforms all the other models to varying degrees, i.e.,from 10 to >100%, depending on the statistical attributes (e.g., global versus water-type-specific metrics). For demonstration purposes, the model is implemented for images acquired by the MultiSpectral Imager aboard Sentinel-2A/B over the Chesapeake Bay, San-Francisco-Bay-Delta Estuary, Lake Okeechobee, and Lake Taihu. To enable generating consistent, multimission TSS products, its performance is further extended to, and evaluated for, other missions, such as the Ocean and Land Color Instrument (OLCI), Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), and Operational Land Imager (OLI). Sensitivity analyses on uncertainties induced by the atmospheric correction indicate that 10% uncertainty in Rrs leads to <20% uncertainty in TSS retrievals from SOLID. While this study suggests that SOLID has a potential for producing TSS products in global coastal and inland waters, our statistical analysis certainly verifies that there is still a need for improving retrievals across a wide spectrum of particle loads.
Today, the near‐Earth space is facing a paradigm change as the number of new spacecraft is literally skyrocketing. Increasing numbers of small satellites threaten the sustainable use of space, as without removal, space debris will eventually make certain critical orbits unusable. A central factor affecting small spacecraft health and leading to debris is the radiation environment, which is unpredictable due to an incomplete understanding of the near‐Earth radiation environment itself and its variability driven by the solar wind and outer magnetosphere. This paper presents the FORESAIL‐1 nanosatellite mission, having two scientific and one technological objectives. The first scientific objective is to measure the energy and flux of energetic particle loss to the atmosphere with a representative energy and pitch angle resolution over a wide range of magnetic local times. To pave the way to novel model‐in situ data comparisons, we also show preliminary results on precipitating electron fluxes obtained with the new global hybrid‐Vlasov simulation Vlasiator. The second scientific objective of the FORESAIL‐1 mission is to measure energetic neutral atoms of solar origin. The solar energetic neutral atom flux has the potential to contribute importantly to the knowledge of solar eruption energy budget estimations. The technological objective is to demonstrate a satellite deorbiting technology, and for the first time, make an orbit maneuver with a propellantless nanosatellite. FORESAIL‐1 will demonstrate the potential for nanosatellites to make important scientific contributions as well as promote the sustainable utilization of space by using a cost‐efficient deorbiting technology.
This study is based on AOD values from long-term re-analysis of atmospheric composition and air quality performed with SILAM model in Finnish Meteorological Institute. This study uses two spatial scales: global (1.44° Resolution, ERA-Interim re-analysis meteo data) and Northern Europe (0.1°, BaltAn65+ meteo). The emission information is compiled from the MACCITY and EDGAR anthropogenic, GEIA lightning and aircraft, MACCity-ACCMIP biomass-burning, and MEGAN biogenic emission inventories. The emission of sea salt and wind-blown dust is computed with embedded SILAM modules. Comparison of AOD from global run for 2008–2014 with 13 Aeronet stations in the Baltic Sea region (54 to 63° N and 8 to 38° E) show underestimation of station-wise average AOD-s by factor of 1.5–2.6, whereas the predicted and measured values are well correlated: linear correlation coefficients based on hourly values in different stations range from 0.46 to 0.85 (average 0.59). Nordic run made for only year 2010 show underestimation by factor of 1.6–4.1 with linear coefficients ranging from 0.33 to 0.73. Thus, the underestimation was a bit lower in the global run. A reason of underestimation may be missing local ground dust emissions and long-term realistic fire emissions that are only available until 2008 Granier et al. (Clim Change 109:163, 2011). Also, AOD measurements made with sun photometer like it is done in Aeronet stations tend to give higher AOD values than actinometric measurements do. The analysis based on longer time series (since 1990) is in progress.
The Major Atmospheric Gamma-ray Imaging Cherenkov (MAGIC) telescopes observed S2 0109+22 in 2015 July during its flaring activity in high-energy gamma-rays observed by Fermi-Large Area Telescope. We analyse the MAGIC data to characterize the very high energy (VHE) gamma-ray emission of S2 0109+22, which belongs to the subclass of intermediate synchrotron peak (ISP) BL Lacertae (BL Lac) objects. We study the multifrequency emission in order to investigate the source classification. Finally, we compare the source longterm behaviour to other VHE gamma-ray emitting (TeV) blazars. We performed a temporal and spectral analysis of the data centred around the MAGIC interval of observation (MJD 57225-57231). Long-term radio and optical data have also been investigated using the discrete correlation function. The redshift of the source is estimated through optical host-galaxy imaging and also using the amount of VHE gamma-ray absorption. The quasi-simultaneous multifrequency spectral energy distribution (SED) is modelled with the conventional one-zone synchrotron self-Compton (SSC) model. MAGIC observations resulted in the detection of the source at a significance level of 5.3s. The VHE gamma-ray emission of S2 0109+22 is variable on a daily time scale. VHE gamma-ray luminosity of the source is lower than the average of TeV BL Lacs. The optical polarization and long-term optical/radio behaviour of the source are different from the general population of TeV blazars. All these findings agree with the classification of the source as an ISP BL Lac object. We estimate the source redshift as z = 0.36 ± 0.07. The SSC parameters describing the SED are rather typical for blazars.
The information about variable components of the atmosphere (aerosol, water vapor, ozone) during acquisition is required for the atmospheric correction of spectral images acquired by shortwave sensors of the Earth observing remote sensing satellites. The procedure to estimate aerosol optical depth and columnar water vapor by the inversion of the atmospheric radiative transfer model 6S using moderate resolution spectra of incident solar radiation is proposed. Comparison to the results obtained by the Aerosol Robotic Network AERONET at an AERONET site at the distance of 50 km on days when both sensors were in the same air mass show systematic overestimation both of aerosol optical depth and columnar water vapor if aerosol optical depth is estimated in the wavelength range of 365--425 nm and columnar water in the range of 895--985 nm using spectra of total irradiance. If more wavelengths and diffuse-to-total spectral irradiance ratio are implemented in the inversion, the bias of estimated water vapor decreases but aerosol optical depth is underestimated. The estimates at 50 km distance are well correlated. The modelled spectral irradiance using estimated atmospheric parameters matches the measured spectra with high accuracy. In the spectral bands of the Sentinel-2 MultiSpectral Instrument (MSI) the differences do not exceed 2%.
Clues to the physical conditions in radio cores of blazars come from measurements of brightness temperatures as well as effects produced by intrinsic opacity. We study the properties of the ultra compact blazar AO 0235+164 with RadioAstron ground-space radio interferometer, multi-frequency VLBA, EVN and single-dish radio observations. We employ visibility modeling and image stacking for deriving structure and kinematics of the source, and use Gaussian process regression to find the relative multi-band time delays of the flares. The multi-frequency core size and time lags support prevailing synchrotron self absorption. The intrinsic brightness temperature of the core derived from ground-based VLBI is close to the equipartition regime value. In the same time, there is evidence for ultra-compact features of the size of less than 10 $\mu$as in the source, which might be responsible for the extreme apparent brightness temperatures of up to $10^{14}$ K as measured by RadioAstron. In 2007--2016 the VLBI components in the source at 43 GHz are found predominantly in two directions, suggesting a bend of the outflow from southern to northern direction. The apparent opening angle of the jet seen in the stacked image at 43 GHz is two times wider than that at 15 GHz, indicating a collimation of the flow within the central 1.5 mas. We estimate the Lorentz factor $\Gamma = 14$, the Doppler factor $\delta=21$, and the viewing angle $\theta = 1.7^\circ$ of the apparent jet base, derive the gradients of magnetic field strength and electron density in the outflow, and the distance between jet apex and the core at each frequency.
Blazar emission is dominated by non-thermal radiation from a relativistic jet pointing toward us, therefore undergoing Doppler beaming. This is responsible for flux enhancement and contraction of the variability time scales, so that most blazars appear as luminous sources characterized by noticeable and fast flux changes at all frequencies. The mechanisms producing their unpredictable variability are debated and include injection, acceleration and cooling of particles, with possible intervention of shock waves or turbulence. Changes in the viewing angle of the emitting knots or jet regions have also been suggested to explain flaring events or specific properties such as intraday variability, quasi-periodicities, or the delay of radio flux variations relative to optical changes. However, such a geometric interpretation has not been universally accepted because alternative explanations based on changes of physical conditions can also work in many cases. Here we report the results of optical-to-radio monitoring of the blazar CTA 102 by the Whole Earth Blazar Telescope Collaboration and show that the observed long-term flux and spectral variability is best explained by an inhomogeneous, curved jet that undergoes orientation changes. We propose that magnetohydrodynamic instabilities or rotation of a twisted jet cause different jet regions to change their orientation and hence their relative Doppler factors. In particular, the recent extreme optical outburst (six magnitudes) occurred when the corresponding jet emitting region acquired a minimum viewing angle.
Forest height increment rate is related to the forest growth conditions. Data bases of previous forest inventories contain information about forest heightage relationship on large number of forest stands while repeated measurements of permanent sample plots provide an excellent reference for comparison. Repeated airborne laser scanning of forest stands is an additional source for the estimation of change in forest structure. In this study, height growth of middle-aged and older forest stands for about 10 year period was compared to an algebraic difference model on permanent sample plots (66) and for a sample of forest stands with repeated airborne laser scanning data (61). The model was based on a large dataset of forest inventory records from the period of 1984–1993. Statistically significant increased forest height growth was found in permanent sample plots based on tree height measurements (9 cm yr ⁻¹ ) as well in stands with repeated laser scanning data (4.5 cm yr ⁻¹ ) in South-East Estonia compared to the algebraic difference model. The difference between the two data sets was explained by their mean age and site class, but the increased forest height growth compared to the old forest inventory data indicates improved growth conditions of forests in the test area. The results hint also that empirical data-based forest growth models need to be updated to avoid biased growth estimates.
In this study, Sentinel-1 interferometric wide swath (IW) mode backscatter is analysed with respect to physical parameters of buildings in Tallinn, Estonia. Dependence on height, alignment, density, shape, and material is shown and discussed. Distribution of backscatter was estimated with respect to each of the parameters, and a correlation matrix of all physical parameters and backscatter values was computed. Height has the strongest effect on backscatter values for both polarization bands, while shape and alignment to orbit has weaker effect on the backscatter. Relationship of co-polarized and cross-polarized backscatter with how a building is aligned with respect to the satellite’s look angle indicates that double bounce from wall–ground interactions is still the dominant scattering mechanism detected by Sentinel-1 in IW mode with 20 m resolution. In order to establish possible detection problems related to specifically oriented buildings at different latitudes, dihedral backscatter is modelled for buildings of oblong and square shapes. Results from this study should be used to improve existing and develop new urban area detection methods based on Sentinel-1 data.
The large-scale environment is believed to affect the evolution and intrinsic properties of galaxies. It offers a new perspective on narrow-line Seyfert 1 galaxies (NLS1) which have not been extensively studied in this context before. We study a large and diverse sample of 960 NLS1 galaxies using a luminosity-density field constructed using Sloan Digital Sky Survey. We investigate how the large-scale environment is connected to the properties of NLS1 galaxies, especially their radio loudness. Furthermore, we compare the large-scale environment properties of NLS1 galaxies with other active galactic nuclei (AGN) classes, for example, other jetted AGN and broad-line Seyfert 1 (BLS1) galaxies, to shed light on their possible relations. In general NLS1 galaxies reside in less dense large-scale environments than any of our comparison samples, thus supporting their young age. The average luminosity-density and distribution to different luminosity-density regions of NLS1 sources is significantly different compared to BLS1 galaxies. This contradicts the simple orientation-based unification of NLS1 and BLS1 galaxies, and weakens the hypothesis that BLS1 galaxies are the parent population of NLS1 galaxies. The large-scale environment density also has an impact on the intrinsic properties of NLS1 galaxies; the radio loudness increases with the increasing luminosity-density. However, our results suggest that the NLS1 population is indeed heterogeneous, and that a considerable fraction of them are misclassified. We support a suggested description that the traditional classification based on the radio loudness should be replaced with the division to jetted and non-jetted sources.
Vegetation indices are calculated from reflectance data of discrete spectral bands. The reflectance signal in the visible spectral range is dominated by the optical properties of photosynthetic pigments in plant leaves. Numerous spectral indices have been proposed for the estimation of leaf pigment contents, but the efficacy of different indices for prediction of pigment content and composition for species-rich communities is unknown. Assessing the ability of different vegetation indices to predict leaf pigment content we identify the most suitable spectral indices from an experimental dataset consisting of field-grown high light exposed leaves of 33 angiosperm species collected in two sites in Mallorca (Spain) with contrasting leaf anatomy and pigment composition. Leaf-level reflectance spectra were recorded over the wavelength range of 400 – 900 nm and contents of chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, total carotenoids, and anthocyanins were measured in 33 species from different plant functional types, covering a wide range of leaf structures and pigment content, five-fold to more than 10-fold for different traits. The best spectral region for estimation of leaf total chlorophyll content with least interference from carotenoids and anthocyanins was the beginning of near-infrared plateau well beyond 700 nm. Leaves of parallel-veined monocots and pinnate-veined dicots had different relationships between vegetation indices and pigments. We suggest that the nature and role of “far-red” chlorophylls which absorb light at longer wavelengths than 700 nm constitute a promising target for future remote sensing studies.
A new paradigm in forest management using a streaming input of public participation needs effective online solutions. The process should be real-time, secure, effective and effi cient. People are expected to share their data and thoughts on forest management with forest owners for improving forest management and planning. The participatory approach supports communication within society and can be designed as an interactive web-based solution. Many prerequisites have already been met and society is ready for a successful start of an interactive participatory forest planning system in Estonia. People use digital identifi cation for various purposes and the state already maintains an online public forest register. Motivating people to participate in the planning process is always challenging yet important for the successful implementation of the system. The system should allow simulating the development and management of forest stands following the participatory input and using ecosystem models and economic calculations. The outputs from the system include management alternatives, risk assessments and fi nancial reports. The system requires a reliable financial compensation scheme to ensure overall long-term stability of the system and agreements between interested persons or groups and forest owners.
The comparison between seven reanalyses - ERA-Interim, National Centres for Environmental Predictions (NCEP)-National Center for Atmospheric Research reanalysis, NCEP Department of Energy reanalysis, NCEP-Climate Forecast System Reanalysis, Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Application (MERRA), MERRA-2 and JRA-55 - and assimilated radiosonde measurements was performed for eight radiosonde stations in the Baltic Sea region during 1980-2015 at five levels. In addition to raw radiosonde measurements, data sets corrected for temperature-dependence (TD) and time-lag errors in RS80-A humidity measurements were investigated. While temperature differences between reanalyses and radiosonde stayed below 0.1°C at the higher levels, differences up to 1.2 and 2.3°C were revealed for the 2 m level at 00 UTC and 12 UTC, respectively. At the same time, biases in relative humidity increased with height. The new techniques assimilated in reanalyses were found to be in a disagreement and in unison with radiosonde data, depending on the level, time of the day and reanalysis investigated. The RS80-A TD correction had a significant effect on tropospheric humidity measurements, increasing specific humidity up to 0.3 g kg⁻¹ at the 2 m level. Based on the ranking results, JRA-55 is the most accurate reanalysis in representing the radiosonde measurements.
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45 members
• Cosmology
• Department of remote sensing
• Astrophysics
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