IGPP Seminar Series

Giant Leaps at a Giant Planet

by Fran Bagenal
Professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics


Jupiter is a planet of superlatives: it is the most massive planet in the solar system, rotates the fastest, has the strongest magnetic field, and has the most massive satellite system of any planet. These unique properties lead to active volcanoes on Io, a ton per second of sulfur and oxygen being spewed out of the moon, a vast population of energetic plasma trapped in the planet's strong magnetic field, and intense auroral emissions in Jupiter's polar atmosphere. The giant magnetosphere of Jupiter has been explored by telescopes on Earth, Hubble Space Telescope, several spacecraft flying past the planet plus the Galileo spacecraft that spent seven years in orbit. This talk will discuss our current understanding of this huge, dynamic structure and present what we learned from the New Horizons spacecraft as flew down Jupiter's magnetotail on its way to Pluto (spring 2007) and from the Juno mission (launch due in 2011) that will skim over Jupiter's poles.
Tuesday, 03 March 2009
3853 Slichter Hall
Refreshments at 3:45 PM
Lecture at 4:00 PM