Seminars for Scientists

Fall 2019 Schedule:

A Violin Sonata for Reconnection: Different Fluctuation Spectra and Turbulence Around a Reconnecting Region

Speaker:   Giovanni Lapenta (KU Leuven, Belgium)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Jul 18, 2019 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


Reconnection converts magnetic energy to kinetic energy in the form of local  heating and acceleration. The state produced by reconnection includes strong sheared flows, pressure densities and anisotropies of the particle distributions. These are all sources of instability that can grow nonlinearly and lead to a state with fluctuations that result in turbulence. I will… Read more »

New Open-Access, Multi-Disciplinary and High-Impact Journal

Speaker:   Margaret Moerchen (AGU Journals)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Aug 15, 2019 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


The vision of the American Geophysical Union is to galvanize a community of Earth and space scientists that collaboratively advances and communicates science and its power to ensure a sustainable future. In this informal talk and Q&A, I’ll share updates on several initiatives that AGU is undertaking with this community: the AGU Ethics & Equity… Read more »

Predator-Prey Models to Explain Saturn Ring Textures

Speaker:   Larry Esposito (CU/LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Sep 05, 2019 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


We use a simple dynamic model for the balance between accretion and disruption to explain the variety of textures seen in Saturn’s rings by the Cassini mission. Textures seen in the highest resolution Cassini ring images may arise from the same processes that give rise to self-gravity wakes, gaps and ghosts in the Cassini UVIS occultations. We model these non-linear dynamics with an ecological analogy.

The Starchive: An Open Access, Open Source Stellar Database and Web App

Speaker:   Angelle Tanner (Mississippi State University)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Sep 19, 2019 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120A


The Starchive ( is an open access, open source stellar database and web application. Currently, the database contains all stars within 30pc, all known brown dwarfs and white dwarfs, stars with planets and circumstellar disks and stars in young stellar associations. The web app allows users to search the database using coordinates, names or an… Read more »

Insights from Dawn into Ceres’ Mysterious Exosphere

Speaker:   Margaret Landis (CU/LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Sep 26, 2019 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


During Dawn’s operations at Ceres, which concluded late last year, a wealth of additional data was collected that provides significant constraints on the quantity and frequency of water vapor release from Ceres’ near sub-surface. This talk will summarize data-driven modeling efforts to understand how much water-ice-driven activity could have occurred on Ceres in the recent past, and what that implies for the long-term geophysical history of the only dwarf planet in the inner solar system.

MU69: Exploration of an Ancient and Distant World

Speaker:   Carly Howett (SWRI)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Oct 03, 2019 ,  3:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


On the 1st of January 2019 NASA’s New Horizons’ spacecraft made its closest approach of 2014 MU69 (sometimes nicknamed simply MU69, or Ultima Thule). MU69 is a cold classical Kuiper Belt object, residing at 44.6 AU from the Sun, making it both the most distant object ever explored and also the most primitive. The images… Read more »

Flare Irradiance Spectral Model – Version 2 (FISM2): Taking Advantage of Over 15 Years of CU/LASP Solar Ultraviolet Spectral Irradiance Measurements

Speaker:   Phil Chamberlin (CU/LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Oct 10, 2019 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


The Flare Irradiance Spectral Model (FISM) was released in 2005 to estimate the solar ultraviolet spectral irradiance from 0-190 nm, and was the first empirical model to estimate solar irradiance variations due to solar flares. Since its initial release, the next generation of instruments have compiled a more complete and accurate dataset of solar spectral irradiance variations on solar cycle, solar rotation, and solar flare timescales. All of these missions have contributed to improving FISM to the newly released Version 2, FISM2. This talk will present new results from FISM2, including some initial results from studies utilizing FISM2 to drive I/T systems.

Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) Mission and Initial Science Results

Speaker:   Richard Eastes (CU/LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Oct 17, 2019 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


An unprecedented NASA mission, Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD), began observing the Earth’s T-I system at “weather” time scales in October 2018. Observations by this imager provide synoptic, global-scale views of the evolution of the thermosphere to geomagnetic storms and of large-scale atmospheric gravity waves in the daytime thermosphere. Nighttime observations are providing new insights into the evolution of F2 peak electron densities (NmF2) in the Equatorial Ionization Anomaly (EIA) as well as the prevalence of ionospheric density depletions within the EIA and to magnetic conjugate effects at higher latitudes.

Identifying the Magnetospheric Driver of STEVE, a New Type Aurora and Airglow

Speaker:   Xiangning Chu (LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Oct 24, 2019 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


The aurora usually occurs in the auroral oval where charged particles impact the Earth’s atmosphere. Though the aurora is relatively well studied, it still holds surprises. A new type of emission, STEVE (Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement), has been recently reported by the scientific community although it has been documented by citizen scientists for decades…. Read more »

Earth’s Van Allen Radiation Belts: From Discovery to the Van Allen Probes Era

Speaker:   Mary Hudson (HAO)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Oct 31, 2019 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


Discovery of the Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts by instruments flown on Explorer 1 in 1958 was the first major discovery of the Space Age. The observation of distinct inner and outer zones of trapped MeV particles, primarily protons at low altitude and electrons at high altitude, led to early models for source and loss… Read more »

The Extended Atmospheres of Hot Exoplanets

Speaker:   Wilson Cauley (LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Nov 07, 2019 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC N248


As the search for Earth-like exoplanets continues to accelerate, giant planets in short-period orbits, or “hot” planets, remain the best systems for atmospheric characterization. Furthermore, these objects represent a class of planets for which we have no solar system analogs and are exciting laboratories for extreme planetary physics. Although they are some of the best-studied… Read more »

Exploring our Closest Star with Parker Solar Probe

Speaker:   David Malaspina (LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


In August 2018, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe embarked on a mission of discovery to explore the corona and stellar wind of our closest star, the Sun. By measuring particles, photons, electric fields, and magnetic fields, Parker Solar Probe strives to answer open long-standing questions about the sources, variability, heating, and acceleration of the solar wind,… Read more »

Exoplanet Science at the University of Wyoming

Speaker:   Hannah Jang-Condell (University of Wyoming)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


The University of Wyoming is home to the 2.3-m Wyoming Infrared Observatory (WIRO) and the 0.6-m Red Buttes Observatory (RBO). In this talk I will discuss some of the research projects on exoplanet science that are carried out on these facilities. Much of our observational efforts focus on follow-up of exoplanet candidates discovered by TESS…. Read more »

Cool Dwarf Magnetism at the Intersection of Coronal and Auroral Activity

Speaker:   J. Sebastian Pineda (CU/LASP)
Date & Time:   Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


The continued search for habitable worlds beyond the solar system has generated great interest in the study of low-mass red dwarfs, which will host many of the best planetary targets for atmospheric characterization with the James Webb Space Telescope. The discovery of the TRAPPIST-1 seven terrestrial planet system, has further focused attention on the lowest-mass… Read more »

Akatsuki’s IR2 nightside data Restoration-by-Deconvolution (RD) and Scientific Outcomes

Speaker:   Choon Wei (Anthony) Vun (Sokendai University and ISAS/JAXA)
Date & Time:   Tuesday, Dec 17, 2019 ,  2:00 PM Location: SPSC N100


The nightside infrared observations (1.735µm, 2.26µm, 2.32µm) obtained by Akatsuki’s IR2 camera experiences contaminations and optical properties that lower the data quality. In order to restore the data quality for accurate data analysis, we developed Restoration-by-Deconvolution (RD) method. Our process aims to recover true photometry and contrasts at highest possible accuracy. Hence, careful procedures were… Read more »