Seminars for Scientists

Fall 2017 Schedule:

Flux Transfer Events and Kelvin-Helmholtz Waves at Earth’s Magnetopause

Speaker:   Jimmy Raeder (University of New Hampshire)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Aug 17, 2017 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


Flux Transfer Events (FTEs) occur as the result of transient reconnection at the magnetopause. Numerous models have been proposed to explain the formation and subsequent motion of FTEs. Here, we use OpenGGCM simulations of the magnetosphere to show that (a) FTEs form by sequential multiple X-line reconnection, i.e., as a FTE forms, a new X-line… Read more »

Martian Mesospheric Clouds Observed by MAVEN/IUVS: Thermal Tides Coupled to the Upper Atmosphere

Speaker:   Michael H. Stevens (Naval Research Laboratory)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Aug 17, 2017 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


The Martian mesospheric cloud season typically extends for about one Earth year (about half a Martian year) centered around Martian aphelion. Although designed to measure the Martian dayglow, the MAVEN IUVS instrument also scans the limb down to 60 km where solar scattered light indicates the presence of detached mesospheric clouds. Over 100 scans containing mesospheric clouds are identified from October to December 2015, near the middle of the mesospheric cloud season. The clouds are preferentially distributed to the equator and their longitudinal distribution shows a strong wave three component suggesting forcing from a non-migrating tide. Preliminary observations from the current (2017) cloud season complementing the 2015 results will also be shown.

Akatsuki Rises from the Dead to Explore the Depths of Hell

Speaker:   Kevin McGouldrick (LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Sep 07, 2017 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


In a first for robotic planetary exploration, the Akatsuki spacecraft successfully achieved Venus Orbit Insertion on its second attempt on 7 December 2015, using only its attitude control thrusters. The Akatsuki spacecraft was designed and built by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and Institute for Space and Astrophysical Science to answer key questions about the Venusian atmosphere. In this talk, I will present some of the early results from the Akatsuki mission, as well as provide my own personal view of what the success of this mission means for the future of planetary astronomy.

Building the GOES-R Series Satellites and Images from GOES-16 On-Orbit Operations

Speaker:   Sue Linch (Lockheed Martin Space Systems)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Sep 14, 2017 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


The GOES-R series of satellites is a giant leap forward in our nation’s weather prediction capabilities.  With GOES-16 in orbit for almost a year, GOES-S launch coming in spring of 2018, and GOES-T almost built and ready for environments, we reflect on the difficulties in building a large, complex communications bird cleverly disguised as a science satellite.  While the capabilities of this spacecraft were well advertised, the imagery has stunned us all.  Please join us to see how GOES-16 was built and launched and images from the first 9 months in orbit.

The Martian Upper Atmosphere as Seen by Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS) Onboard MAVEN

Speaker:   Sonal Jain (LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Sep 28, 2017 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


The Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS) on board MAVEN observes Mars in far and mid ultraviolet (110-340 nm) with unique scanning and pointing capabilities, which are optimized for airglow studies. The ultraviolet airglow emissions observed on Mars are a perfect tracer for the processes occurring in the emitting region of the atmosphere (100-200 km) and provide basic information about atmospheric composition (and its structure), and give insight into the dynamics, energetics, and physics and chemistry of the thermosphere. In this presentation, I will talk about an overview of scientific results obtained by IUVS dayglow measurements, including (1) spatial/temporal distribution of major MUV and FUV emissions and their seasonal variability; (2) the seasonal variation of thermosphere temperatures inferred from dayglow measurements; (3) the effect of solar EUV flux (including the ~27-day solar rotation) and heliocentric distance on upper atmosphere temperature structure (4) Effect of transient events (e.g., flares and dust storms) on the Martian thermosphere.

Cloud, Dust and Ozone Retrieval Using SPICAM/UV Nadir

Speaker:   Yannick Williame (Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Oct 05, 2017 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


We have developed a retrieval method in order to analyse nadir measurements of the SPICAM/UV instrument on board the Mars-Express orbiter. The UV spectrometer has provided measurements during 11 years with a near pole-to-pole orbit that allows to cover latitudes up to 86°. We have used the 220-290 nm range to deduce the quantities of… Read more »

The role of electrostatic dust transport in shaping the surfaces of airless bodies

Speaker:   Xu Wang (LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Oct 12, 2017 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


Airless bodies, unlike our Earth, are directly exposed to solar UV radiation and solar wind plasma. Fine dust particles on their regolith are charged and may be mobilized due to electrostatic forces. Electrostatic dust transport is a long-standing problem and has been hypothesized to explain a number of unusual planetary phenomena, for example the so-called… Read more »

Study of plasmaspheric dynamics using data-driven empirical models: a neural network approach

Speaker:   Xiangning Chu (UCLA)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Oct 19, 2017 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


The plasmasphere is a region of cold dense plasma in the inner magnetosphere, extending from Earth’s upper atmosphere to the plasmapause. It is constantly in a dynamic state, with erosion and refilling occurring during geomagnetic storms. The plasmaspheric dynamics are important in understanding radiation belt physics because plasmaspheric density strongly influences energetic particle scattering, as… Read more »

Global fully kinetic simulations of space plasma: Yes we can!

Speaker:   Jan Deca (LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Oct 26, 2017 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


Long before the advent of spaceflight, it was realized that space is not empty. The Universe hosts a harsh plasma environment and understanding the complex interactions of bodies immersed in it is therefore indispensable to make progress in space science. Not so long ago, parallel computing was looked upon as an exotic business, practiced only… Read more »

From Phenomena to Model: The impact of evolving solar activity observations on solar irradiance estimates

Speaker:   Odele Coddington (LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Nov 02, 2017 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


Records of solar activity that describe a Sun “covered with spots” began almost 3000 years ago. The frequency of these “sunspot” observations was greatly enhanced beginning in the early 1600’s with the discovery of the telescope and its subsequent rapid spread throughout Europe. By the 1700 and 1800’s, key scientific discoveries about the physical characteristics… Read more »

Probing Atmospheres with EUV Irradiance, from the Solar Corona to the Thermospheres of Earth and Mars

Speaker:   Ed Thiemann (LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Nov 09, 2017 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC N100



Large-scale ionospheric and magnetospheric effects by Mars crustal magnetic anomalies

Speaker:   Xiaohua Fang (LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Nov 16, 2017 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


Today’s Mars has no intrinsic dipole magnetic field but locally concentrated magnetic anomalies in the crust particularly in the southern hemisphere. This fact makes the Mars-solar wind interaction unique, not only different from the interaction of the solar wind with planets that have strong magnetic fields (like Earth, Jupiter), but also different from the solar… Read more »

Stratéole 2: Detailed Measurements of the Tropical Tropopause Layer from Constellations of Long Duration Super Pressure Balloons

Speaker:   Lars Kalnajs (LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Nov 30, 2017 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


The Tropical Tropopause Layer (TTL) is the gateway for air to enter the global upper atmosphere, thorough a gradual upwelling from the tropical troposphere, punctuated by deep convection. The conditions in the TTL set the boundary conditions for the global distribution of stratospheric water vapor, aerosols and ozone, all of which have a significant impact… Read more »

GIC research in New Zealand: Modeling plus analysis of 17 years of observations

Speaker:   Tim Divett and Daniel H. Mac Manus (University of Otago, New Zealand)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Dec 07, 2017 ,  2:00 PM Location: SPSC N248


This joint New Zealand-United Kingdom project aims to investigate the risk posed by Geomagnetically Induced Currents (GIC) to New Zealand’s South Island electrical transmission network. GIC in New Zealand’s electrical network are caused by space weather storms. During very large space weather storms GIC can cause significant damage to electrical transformers. As an example, after… Read more »