Seminars for Scientists

Fall 2015 Schedule:

10/1/2015- Emirates Mars Mission

Speaker:   David Brain (LASP)
Date & Time:   10/1 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


In August 2014 LASP officially kicked off its involvement in a new kind of spacecraft mission development effort. Working with engineers and scientists from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), LASP is the lead academic partner helping to send a spacecraft to Mars in 2020, for the 50th anniversary of the UAE. The programmatic and scientific… Read more »

10/8/2015 – Heavy ion energization and outflow from Earth

Speaker:   Andrew Yau (Univ. of Calgary)
Date & Time:   10/8 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


The discovery of precipitating energetic oxygen ions from the magnetosphere in the 1970’s [Shelley et al., 1972] prompted a fundamental paradigm shift in our perception of the compositional origin of the Earth’s magnetosphere. The discovery also heralded an extensive body of studies of heavy ion energization and outflows based on satellite, rocket and radar observations… Read more »

10/14/2015- Atmospheric optics & radiative transfer : Genesis and Evolution

Speaker:   Ping Yang (Texas A&M)
Date & Time:   10/14 ,  3:15 PM Location: SPSC W120


We will first trace the history of atmospheric optics from cradle to adolescence with emphasis on the contributions by Clebsch, Lorenz, Mie, Debye, and van de Hulst to the early development of the theory of light scattering by a sphere, and some newly developed light-scattering computational capabilities (e.g., the invariant embedding T-matrix method) for solving… Read more »

10/15/2015- Starshades and the Search for Life in the Universe

Speaker:   Webster Cash (CU)
Date & Time:   10/15 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


The discovery of life outside the Solar System is the premier piece of exploration that can actually be addressed in the near future. The astronomy community, in just the past few years, has established that planetary environments suitable for life are common in the Universe, so we now know how and where to look for… Read more »

10/22/2015 – The Role of Flux Tube Entropy in Earth’s Plasma Sheet

Speaker:   Richard Wolf (Rice Univ.)
Date & Time:   10/22 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


The plasma sheet is a crucial region of Earth’s magnetosphere, providing a source of the aurora, the substorm, and the storm-time ring current, as well as a seed population for the outer radiation belts. I will argue that flux-tube entropy, interchange instability, and reconnection all play crucial roles in plasma-sheet structure and dynamics. In the… Read more »

10/29/2015 – MinXSS CubeSat – Science, Students, and System Development

Speaker:   James Mason (LASP)
Date & Time:   10/29 ,  4:00 PM Location: LSTB A200


The Miniature X-ray Solar Spectrometer (MinXSS) CubeSat is a loaf-of-bread sized spacecraft that, early next year, will begin taking measurements of the highly-variable solar soft X-ray (SXR) spectrum. The energy distribution of SXRs is an important input into Earth’s ionosphere and is where the greatest emission enhancement from solar flares is expected. The MinXSS project… Read more »

11/5/2015 – Unusual impact-related processes revealed by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

Speaker:   Josh Bandfield (SSI)
Date & Time:   11/5 ,  4:00 PM Location: LSTR 299


The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera and Diviner Radiometer have collected a systematic set of high-quality images and thermal infrared measurements of the Moon. These data have been used to characterize regolith and rock distributions that have revealed an unusual series of properties associated with lunar impact craters. Two separate studies will be described: 1) granular… Read more »

11/12/2015 – Glasses and Poorly Crystalline Materials on Mars

Speaker:   Bill Farrand (SSI)
Date & Time:   11/12 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


Recent results from the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity and its CheMin X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) instrument have consistently shown an X-ray amorphous component in Gale crater soils and clastic rocks ranging from 27 to 49% of the measured samples. Earlier linear deconvolution analysis of thermal infrared emissivity spectra of a number of rock classes observed… Read more »

11/16/2015 – Europa’s atmospheric escape: importance of symmetrical O2 charge exchanges.

Speaker:   Vincent Dols
Date & Time:   11/16 ,  12 PM Location: SPSC W120


Europa, the smallest of the Galilean moons of Jupiter was thought to be a passive rocky moon as late as the mid fifties. Voyager flybys in the late 70’s revealed a flat fractured surface almost free of craters, which hints at a dynamic thermal history. Galileo flybys in the 90’s provided strong evidences of a… Read more »

11/19/2015 – Discovery of alunite in Cross Crater using MRO CRISM: Evidence for Steam-Heated Hydrothermal Deposits on Mars

Speaker:   Gregg Swayze (USGS)
Date & Time:   11/19 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


Cross Crater is a 65-km impact crater, formed about 3.8 Ga in the Noachian highlands of the Terra Sirenum region of Mars, and it hosts abundant Al-phyllosilicate and sulfate deposits. High spatial resolution data from MRO’s CRISM, HiRISE, and CTX instruments and from Mar Express’ OMEGA and HRSC instruments were used to examine the distribution… Read more »

12/3/2015 – Long-term Measurements of Solar Spectral Irradiance: Lessons learned and the Path Forward (Canceled to be rescheduled Spring 2016)

Speaker:   Erik Richard (LASP)
Date & Time:   12/3 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


Accurate, long-term solar spectral irradiance (SSI) measurements are vital for interpreting how solar variability affects the balance of the Earth’s total energy budget and for validating climate model sensitivities to spectrally varying solar forcing. Ultimately, understanding these effects requires continuous measurements of SSI that meet the stringent requirements of climate-quality accuracy and stability over time…. Read more »

12/9/2015- When it Rains on Titan, it Pours; and then it Evaporates.

Speaker:   Scot Rafkin (SwRI)
Date & Time:   12/9 ,  3:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


Titan has an active methane cycle that is analogous in many ways to the water cycle on Earth. For these cycles to be stable, the net precipitation to the surface must balance the net evaporation from the surface. This talk focuses on one of Titan’s major precipitation mechanisms and one of Titan’s important evaporation processes…. Read more »

12/11/2015- Towards a deeper understanding of solar spectra through forward modelling

Speaker:   Tiago M. D. Pereira (Univ. of Oslo)
Date & Time:   12/11 ,  11:00 AM Location: SPSC N100


Most of our knowledge of the Sun is derived from light emitted in its thin, outer atmospheric layers, from where most photons can reach us unimpeded. Yet extracting physical information from images and spectra is a task far from simple. One needs a model of the solar atmosphere to calculate synthetic spectra that can be… Read more »

9/16/2015 – Title: TBD

Speaker:   Kalevi Mursula
Date & Time:   September 16, 2010 ,  4:00 PM Location: LSTB-299


The heliospheric magnetic field (HMF) is hemispherically asymmetric so that the field dominant in the northern hemisphere is weaker but has a larger area than in the south. As a consequence, the heliospheric current sheet (HCS) is shifted southwards. This asymmetry, also called the bashful ballerina, typically persists during three-year intervals in the late declining… Read more »