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Physics & Astronomy Seminar: Saturn's Atmosphere

  • Tuesday, November 10, 2020
  • 3:45 PM–4:45 PM

The Physics & Astronomy Department welcomes Jess Vriesema to speak on “Modelling Electrodynamics in Saturn's Upper Atmosphere.”

Join the Physics & Astronomy Department department faculty and students on Tuesday, November 10 at 3:45 to hear Calvin graduate Jess Vriesema, who just received his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona, present a talk entitled: “Modelling Electrodynamics in Saturn's Upper Atmosphere.”  This talk will be delivered virtually on Webex.

One of the greatest puzzles of our outer Solar System is why the upper atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are several times hotter than we would expect if they were heated by the Sun alone. Despite almost 50 years of study, this question remains unanswered, partly because scientists have not had enough data to test their ideas. The recent Cassini mission gave us a treasure trove of data and discoveries that could help us address this mystery and others like it in the context of Saturn. For example, recent observations from the Cassini spacecraft indicated the presence of significant currents at low latitudes that could alter the circulation and energy balance of Saturn’s upper atmosphere. 

 Dr. Vriesema writes: “In this talk, I will describe some of Saturn's mysteries in the context of electrodynamics and present some of the results from my doctoral work to investigate the role of electrodynamics in Saturn's thermosphere. By studying how Saturn works, we learn more about how giant planets work. This helps us appreciate and understand both the giant planets in our own Solar System and those beyond.”

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