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During the night between Tuesday March 4 and Wednesday, the Wise Observatory of Tel Aviv University that operates near Mizpe Ramon in the Negev observed a rare astronomical event: the occultation of a star some 50 light-years away by a Solar System object that belongs to the Pluto family. This kind of events is similar to a solar eclipse when the Sun is blocked by the Moon and a narrow shadow falls on a small part of the Earth. The difference is that in this case the "Sun" was a distant star and the "Moon" was a tiny dwarf planet, an asteroid. The occultation was predicted by the French astronomer Jean Lecacheux within the international collaboration PLANOCCULT, but the low accuracy in the knowledge of the asteroid trajectory and in the location of the star caused the predicted area from which the event could have been seen to range from the western end of Europe to the border of Iran.

The asteroid that caused the brief eclipse circles the Sun every 246 years and is known only by its catalog number: 2003 VS2. When it gets closest to the Sun it is about 36 times more distant than the Earth from the Sun. 2003 VS2 belongs to the family of small bodies called "Plutinos", since their orbit around the Sun is similar to that of the dwarf planet Pluto. Measurements by the HERSCHEL satellite indicate that the asteroid has an average diameter of some 520-km. It spins around itself every 7.5 hours, but its exact shape (round, flattened, or elongated) is not known.

At the Wise Observatory of Tel Aviv University the scientists prepared to operate for the first time two telescopes to observe the occultation. One is the large telescope of the observatory that operates since 1971 and has a primary mirror one meter in diameter. The other is a new telescope that is still being commissioned for regular and routine operations. This telescope, called "The Jay Baum Rich telescope" is equipped with a primary mirror of 0.7-meter diameter. Both telescopes image the sky with modern, large-format CCD cameras that are orders of magnitude more sensitive than the human eye.

In the night of the event the occultation was predicted to take place at about 22:00 and the observations were started some ten minutes before. While the large telescope imaged the sky every four seconds, the new telescope took images every five seconds; this tactic increases the accuracy of determining the start and the end of the occultation. The two astronomers, Dr. Shai Kaspi and Dr. Noah Brosch, observed the computer screens on which the sky images were shown. At one instant one of the stars in the field disappeared; it was clear that the occultation had begun. In the same moment the star disappeared also in the images from the other telescope. Some 40 seconds after the disappearance, the star reappeared on the screen.
The occultation data were quickly analyzed and showed that the period when the star was not visible lasted some 43 seconds. Since the speed at which the asteroid shadow moved over the Earth's surface was 8.9 km/sec, this duration indicates an asteroid size of about 380-km, smaller than the one known. The difference might indicate that the asteroid is not round but maybe oblate or prolate, or that the observatory was not located exactly at the center of the body's shadow.

The data from the Wise Observatory are now being analyzed together with the
data from a similar event observed in December 2013 from the French island La Réunion in the Indian Ocean. Such observations allow the derivation of the three-dimensional shape of the body and can indicate the existence of moons. This specific observation indicates the importance of the Wise Observatory, the only one in the world from which this occultation was observed, and moreover simultaneously with two telescopes.

Three .jpg images created by combining images before the occultation, during the occultation, and after the occultation.




São Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, 4 March, 2014 - Elbit Systems demonstrated for the first time, during the traditional Carnival in São Salvador da Bahia, a new breakthrough wide-area, persistent surveillance ground system, which generates real-time intelligence imagery in high resolution enabling the security forces to enhance the safety and security of the thousands participating in the Carnival celebrations.

GroundEye was developed by Elbit Systems as a solution to the growing demand of security forces and decision makers to achieve continuous intelligence imagery covering a wide area-of-interest in high resolution and in real-time for situational awareness purposes, especially during large scale events.

GroundEye is a highly sophisticated wide-area, persistent surveillance ground system that covers extremely wide areas providing comprehensive situational awareness for multiple users. With GroundEye, security forces can monitor and deal with multiple events simultaneously in the area-of-interest under their responsibility. In addition, the system detects and issues alerts upon the occurrence of pre-programmed events, thereby complementing and enhancing human detection capacity.

The system used during the Salvador Carnival is designed for both civilian and military applications, including border protection, perimeter control of infrastructure and critical sites, military operations, Safe City programs and large scale events.

Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis, President and CEO of Elbit Systems said: We are grateful for the opportunity provided to us by the Governor of São Salvador da Bahia to demonstrate the capabilities of this new innovative system which is intended to provide enhanced safety and protection to participants in the Carnival in Brazil. The successful demonstration of GroundEye attests to our ability to develop solutions for civilian applications, based on Elbit Systems' existing knowledge and experience, positioning us as leaders in the growing field of homeland security".

Background information:

GroundEye is an innovative, high resolution, wide-area, persistent surveillance ground system, which provides real-time, comprehensive situational awareness for multiple users. With GroundEye, security commanders can now truly dominate the area under their responsibility. Multiple events can now be simultaneously dealt with in real time, or, if missed in real time, as soon as an operator is available. In addition, the system detects and issues alerts upon the occurrence of pre-programmed events , thereby complementing and enhancing human detection capacity. GroundEye retains in its memory both the Area and Time dimensions in their entirety, allowing precise comprehension of activities in the area and generation of high-quality and comprehensive intelligence data.

In contrast to current surveillance systems, which typically provide a single user with a single video stream covering a small area, GroundEye allows several simultaneous users to independently probe any region of interest anywhere in the entire sector. It also facilitates immediate and convenient access to pre-recorded imagery, providing forensic capability in real time.

GroundEye's main components are a mast-top, non-rotating panoramic sensor head, a processing and storage unit and several operator stations. GroundEye enables the following:
Covering a wide sector-of-interest in its entirety, at high resolution;
Operation of several full-resolution windows by several operators in parallel;
Re-play scenarios recorded recently or in the past and to play these scenarios backward or forward automatically to receive alerts on specific occurrences.

GroundEye implements "monitoring and recording of everything" and does not let any event go unnoticed. Every event can be investigated, in real time or after the fact. This concept of monitoring and recording everything facilitates situational awareness control over the entire area.

GroundEye can be operated either in a Stand-Alone mode or in a Command & Control (C&C) Network Integrated mode, meshing with the customer's existing command and control networks. GroundEye features Wide Area Persistent Surveillance, an advanced way of looking at the world. It employs the technology and building blocks of the SkEye system, Elbit Systems' Airborne Wide Area Persistent Surveillance system. GroundEye employs several high resolution sensors which operate in parallel, coupled with fast and parallel specialized electronics/software, for processing and controlling the imagery. Located at the foot of the mast is a large storage device used to store the vast volume of imagery flowing from the mast-top sensors, at the same time it is being viewed. This multiple random-read access, allows several users to examine, in parallel, several events which occurred at different times and in different locations. Built into the system are powerful image processing capabilities, aimed at providing users with rigorous investigation and alert tools.

With GroundEye technology, the whole sector covered by the sensors is being recorded continuously, regardless of the specific areas being examined by the operators in real time. This enables off-line examination of areas not previously monitored by a human observer. In other words, if an event is missed in real time by an operator, it is not lost forever – the operator can find the event in the recorded imagery at the proper place and time, re-play it and examine it.

GroundEye provides:

On-going high resolution video capture and recording of large areas;
High resolution video of a selected area displayed in real time to multiple users, with image-map registration and graphics layers;
Multiple, simultaneous user access, to both real-time and recorded events – including past events occurring in areas not monitored in real time;
Concurrent monitoring of events at both close and long range;
Video processing capabilities such as video motion detection (VMD) and smart alerts;
Video archive of ongoing and past missions, allowing video queries by time, location and event; and
Data distribution and reports – with event details, still images and clips.

About Elbit Systems
Elbit Systems Ltd. is an international defense electronics company engaged in a wide range of programs throughout the world. The Company, which includes Elbit Systems and its subsidiaries, operates in the areas of aerospace, land and naval systems, command, control, communications, computers, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance ("C4ISR"), unmanned aircraft systems ("UAS"), advanced electro-optics, electro-optic space systems, EW suites, signal intelligence ("SIGINT") systems, data links and communications systems and radios. The Company also focuses on the upgrading of existing military platforms, developing new technologies for defense, homeland security and commercial aviation applications and providing a range of support services, including training and simulation systems.
For additional information, visit: www.elbitsystems.com or follow us on Twitter.

 Photo Elbit Systems

Prof. Reisner was awarded a $60,000 prize for his groundbreaking contribution in the study of bone marrow transplant therapy and Dr. Nahmias was awarded a $40,000 prize for  identifying a small molecule, naringenin, derived from grapefruit, capable of blocking viral production. The prizes will be given in Tel Aviv on March 17


Rappaport Prizes for Excellence in Biomedical Research in 2014 will be granted by the Rappaport Family Foundation to Prof. Yair Reisner of the Weizmann Institute of Science and to Dr. Yaakov Nahmias of the Hebrew University. The prizes will be granted in a ceremony to take place at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art on March 17, 2014. The prize for excellence was established in order to promote visionary, groundbreaking and innovative research with therapeutic repercussions that are unique and significant to promoting human health.


photo Prof Reisner  ( PR)


Innovative approach to bone marrow transplant


Worldwide, more than 30,000 patients benefit from bone marrow transplant therapy every year. The success of these procedures largely relies on genetic compatibility between the donor and recipient. Unfortunately, only a minority of eligible patients find a compatible match.  Prof. Reisner’s research paved the way for implementing bone marrow transplantation in patients without a matched donor.


Insights from Prof. Reisner’s basic research initially led to a successful treatment for ‘bubble’ children who are born with a severely defective immune system and his approach was adopted by many centers throughout the world, resulting in impressive cures.  Subsequently, Prof. Reisner’s continued discoveries paved the way for the successful transplantation of mismatched bone marrow in leukemia patients.   More recently, he has described a novel approach for bone marrow transplantation in leukemia patients who cannot tolerate strong irradiation.


Prof. Yair Reisner is an outstanding example of an independent thinker and a highly creative researcher. He has painstakingly, over the past 30+ years, contributed fundamental insights to the field of transplant biology and developed methods, translating them from the bench to the clinic, which have greatly improved standards of patient care. For these important scientific breakthroughs, which have given many patients a new lease on life, the Rappaport Prize Committee unanimously agreed that Prof. Reisner is worthy of the Rappaport Prize for Excellence in Biomedical Research in the category of “Established Investigators.”




Grapefruit against viral and nanotechnology for diabetes



Complex problems in biology and medicine can only be addressed using an integrated multidisciplinary approach. By combining an in-depth understanding of physics, engineering and biology, Dr. Yaakov Nahmias exemplifies this paradigm, achieving many accomplishments in his nascent career. His work on liver tissue engineering and the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) lifecycle has been recognized by the leading journals of the field. Dr Nahmias identified a small molecule, naringenin, derived from grapefruit, capable of blocking viral production. He then created a nanotechnology-based complex that dramatically increases the bioavailability of naringenin, leading to a clinical trial at Massachusetts General Hospital that was completed with excellent results. Dr. Nahmias was able to take his discovery from the lab to a successful clinical trial in an astonishing short period of time of less than three years and without industrial support.


 Photo Dr Nahmias ( PR)

Utilizing his knowledge in nanotechnology, Dr. Nahmias also developed advanced treatments for diabetes, ranging from nano-encapsulated insulin that can replace current injections, to robotic nanoparticles for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. The technologies hold significant promise in blocking the progression of diabetes and its many complications.


An additional major accomplishment of Dr. Nahmias is the establishment of BioDesign – Israel, a joint effort of the Hadassah Medical Center, the School of Business Administration, and the Alexander Grass Center for Bioengineering at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The program aims to synergize multiple disciplines such as medicine, engineering, and finance, offering an integrated approach to medical innovation. Already, the first class (2012-3) generated four successful projects in various stages of commercialization, drawing a sponsorship agreement from Boston Scientific.


For these innovations, breakthroughs and leadership initiatives, the Rappaport Prize Committee unanimously agreed that Dr. Yaakov Nahmias is worthy of the Rappaport Prize for Excellence in Biomedical Research in the category of “Young Investigators”


Rappaport Prize    


The Rappaport Prize for Excellence in Biomedical Research is given at the same time as the Rappaport Prize for Art, which is granted by the Rappaport Family Foundation in cooperation with the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and the Rappaport Prize for the Change Generating Woman in cooperation with La'Isha Magazine.


Samsung Israel, the main sponsor of the Tel Aviv Samsung Marathon, is proud to present:  SAMSUNG CITY

1200 m2 of electronic innovation in a Kikar Rabin offering a great experience for the whole family.

The Tel Aviv Samsung Marathon 2014 opens with a symbol of contribution to the community and an experience for the whole family. Samsung Israel, the main sponsor of the Marathon, invites the runners and their families to SAMSUNG CITY, first site of its type in Israel, which offers an experience of electronic innovation. This exhibition will be open in Kikar Rabin from Thursday, February 20, until February 27.

Ana Lipnik Levy, the Marketing Manager of Samsung Israel, says: "We, in Samsung, look at technology as a way to live new experiences, and create contents in unique fashions. As an international leader in the technological area, Samsung is proud and excited to lead the Tel Aviv Samsung Marathon to the worlds of most advanced technological contents. We decided to organize the present marathon in the symbol of innovation, quality of life, and an experience for Samsung's clients and their families, and a contribution to the community".

For additional information, see our website link: www.samsung.com.

Photo Silvia Golan






Winners of Technion's prestigious 2014 Harvey Prize are Professor Paul B. Corkum from the University of Ottawa, Canada, and Professor Jon M. Kleinberg from Cornell University, New York, USA.
Professor Paul Corkum, of the Joint Laboratory for Attosecond Science, University of Ottawa, has been a leader and pioneer in the field of ultrafast laser spectroscopy. For two decades he has been the main source of the powerful insights which lie behind many of the recent advances in this field. He is known primarily for his remarkable contributions to the field of high harmonic generation and for his ability to create intuitive models for very complex phenomena which enabled him to make the advances that created the exciting field of attosecond spectroscopy.

The 2014 Harvey Prize will be awarded to Professor Jon M. Kleinberg from Cornell University for his seminal contributions and leadership in the newly emerging science of information networks, including his groundbreaking work on characterizing the structure of the World Wide Web in terms of hubs and authorities, his analysis of the " small-world" phenomena, and his work on influence propagation in networks.
The Harvey Prize was first awarded in 1972 by the Foundation established by the late Leo M. Harvey from Los Angeles, to recognize significant contributions in the advancement of humankind in the areas of science and technology, human health and peace in the Middle East. Each year it awards prizes in the amount of $75,000 to each award winner.
The prestigious Harvey Prize has been awarded to scientists from the United States, Britain, Russia, Sweden, France and Israel, among them Nobel Laureate Mikhail Gorbachev, former leader of the USSR, awarded the Harvey Prize in appreciation of his seminal initiatives and policies to lessen regional tensions; Nobel Laureate in Medicine, Professor Bert Sakmann; Nobel Laureate in Physics, Professor Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Professor Edward Teller for his discoveries in solid state physics, atomic and nuclear energy; and Professor William J. Kolff for his invention of the artificial kidney.
Harvey Prize winners are selected by a council of world-renowned scientists and personalities from Israel and around the world. Award winners are chosen by the Harvey Prize Committee following a rigorous selection process at the Technion.

In the photo: Professor Paul B. Corkum and Professor Jon M. Kleinberg.
Photographed by: The Technion's Spokesperson's Office