Adventures in the outer solar system

PIA21046: Saturn, Approaching Northern Summer (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

PIA21046: Saturn, Approaching Northern Summer (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

The March talk will be given by Dr. Caitriona Jackman, Associate Professor of Space Physics at the University of Southampton. Caitriona will be talking about research into the outer solar system.

In this talk I will take you on a tour of the outer solar system, highlighting the key discoveries that have been made and the biggest questions for future exploration. Results from missions such as Galileo at Jupiter and Cassini at Saturn will highlight the diversity of planetary dynamics as well as the zoo of moons, some of which indicate that they may have the conditions to harbour life.

The final portion of the talk will focus on current and future plans for solar system exploration. One short-term highlight is the NASA mission Juno which has been in orbit around Jupiter since summer 2016. Other longer-term ambitions centre around the ice giants, Uranus and Neptune, which challenge our understanding of how the Sun influences planetary systems.

Dr. Caitriona Jackman is an Associate Professor of Space Physics at the University of Southampton. She is a particular fan of planets with large-scale magnetic fields, and specialises in the study of the magnetic environments of the gas giant planets Jupiter and Saturn, as well as the terrestrial planets Earth and Mercury. She holds a Science and Technology Facilities Council Ernest Rutherford Fellowship and is keen to communicate solar system science to as wide an audience as possible. She has taken part in public outreach events as diverse as the Pint of Science pub-based festival, and the Royal Society Summer Exhibition.

The picture used for this post is one of Saturn, taken by the Cassini mission: “This view shows Saturn’s northern hemisphere in 2016, as that part of the planet nears its northern hemisphere summer solstice in May 2017. Saturn’s year is nearly 30 Earth years long, and during its long time there, Cassini has observed winter and spring in the north, and summer and fall in the south. The spacecraft will complete its mission just after northern summer solstice, having observed long-term changes in the planet’s winds, temperatures, clouds and chemistry.” For more information, please visit the NASA website where more images taken from this and other missions are available as part of the online photojournal with the best collections captured by the Cassini spacecraft published in the mission Hall of Fame.