Larry Esposito

Professor, Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences and Principal Investigator, UVIS Instrument, Cassini Mission to Saturn


  • Phone: 303-492-5990
  • Fax: 303-492-1132
  • Office: SPSC-N228


Dr. Esposito is the principal investigator of the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) experiment on the Cassini space mission to Saturn. He was chair of the Voyager Rings Working Group. As a member of the Pioneer Saturn imaging team, he discovered Saturn’s F ring. He has been a participant in numerous US, Russian and European space missions and used the Hubble Space Telescope for its first observations of the planet Venus. He was awarded the Harold C. Urey Prize from the American Astronomical Society, The NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, and the Richtmyer Lecture Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Physical Society.

Dr. Esposito has written his numerous publications on the topic of planetary rings. and continues to actively research the nature and history of planetary rings at the CU, where he has been since 1977. He is now Professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences and a member of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP).


Massachusetts Institute of Technology — Cambridge
S.B. in Mathematics, 1973

University of Massachusetts — Amherst
Ph.D. in Astronomy, 1977


Observational and theoretical studies of planetary atmospheres and rings.


Principal Investigator, Cassini UV Imaging Spectrometer, 1990–present


Esposito, L. W., and E. R. Harrison. 1975. Properties of the Hulse-Taylor binary pulsar system. Astrophys. J. (Letters) 196, Ll–L2. LASP reprint 901.

Esposito, L. W. 1976. Computation of the polarization of light scattered by the solar corona in Balmer Alpha, in Fellowship Program in Scientific Computing; Internship Program for Minority Students, ed. J. C. Adams and R. K. Rew, pp. 49–59. National Center for Atmospheric Research Technical Note. NCAR/TN/114 + PROC. LASP reprint 902.

Esposito, L. W. 1977. The two-stream approximation (or Shuster-Schwarzschild method), in Standard Procedures to Compute Atmospheric Radiative Transfer in a Scattering Atmosphere, ed. J. Lenoble, pp. 52–54. Boulder, Colorado: NCAR, Radiation Commission of the International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics (IAMAP). LASP reprint 903.

Esposito, L. W., and K. Lumme. 1977. The tilt effect for Saturn's rings. Icarus 31, 157–167. LASP reprint 407.

Lumme, K., [...]

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Division for Planetary Sciences AAS (Committee, 1983–1986)
American Geophysical Union, European Geophysical Union, International Astronomical Union
COSPAR Commissions B and C
Main Scientific Organizer, COSPAR Symposium “Planetary Atmospheres”, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012
Convenor, AGU Chapman Conference on “Exploring Venus as a terrestrial planet”, 2004-2006
Convenor, “Planetary Rings” AGU Fall Meeting, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012
Co-Convenor, International Saturn Symposium, Saturn after Cassini-Huygens, 2006–2009
Convenor, IUGG Symposium on Planetary and Heliospheric Geophysics, 2007
Editor, “Exploring Venus as a Terrestrial Planet” AGU monograph, 2007
Guest Editor, Icarus Special Issue “Cassini at Saturn”, 2008 - 2010
Scientific Advisory Committee (Fachbeirat) Max Planck Institut for Solar System Research, 2009-present

Honors and awards

NASA Group Achievement Awards: Pioneer Venus Orbiter Science Team 1980; Voyager PPS Team 1982, 1986; Galileo UVS Development 1991, Galileo Asteroid Encounters 1993, 1995; Cassini UVIS Development and Operations 1998, Cassini UVIS Science Investigation 2009
Division for Planetary Sciences, Harold C. Urey Prize, 1985
NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, 1986
AAPT Richtmyer Memorial Lecture Award, 1991
National Academy of Sciences National Associate, 2002–
JPL Distinguished Visiting Scientist 2004–
American Geophysical Union, Fellow, 2006–

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