Synopsis: The Ice Giant planets provide some of the most interesting natural laboratories for studying the influence of large obliquities, rapid rotation, and highly asymmetric magnetic fields on magnetospheric processes. The geometries of the solar wind-magnetosphere interaction at the Ice Giants vary dramatically on diurnal timescales due to large tilt of the magnetic axis relative to each planet’s rotational axis and due to the ‘off-centered’ nature of the magnetic field. There is also a seasonal effect on this interaction geometry due to the large obliquity of each planet (especially Uranus!). With existing in situ observations at Uranus and Neptune limited to a single encounter by the Voyager 2 spacecraft, a growing number of analytical and numerical models have been put forward to characterize these unique magnetospheres and test hypothesis related to the magnetic structures and the distribution of plasma observed. Yet many questions regarding the magnetospheres, magnetospheric coupling to the ionosphere and atmosphere, and potential interactions with orbiting satellites remain unanswered. Continuing to study and explore Ice Giant magnetospheres is important for comparative planetology as they represent critical benchmarks on a broad spectrum of planetary magnetospheric interactions and provide insight into exoplanet magnetospheres and magnetic reversals. We will discuss the state of the science in terms of our understanding of these exciting planets, and future plans to revisit our distant neighbors.
The importance was of such research was reinforced by the recent National Academies of Science Study: Origins, Worlds, and Life: A Decadal Strategy for Planetary Science and Astrobiology 2023-2032 which prioritizes Uranus as the target for NASA’s next flagship mission.
Bio sketch: Carol Paty, University of Oregon
Dr. Paty is a planetary and space physicist specializing in studying moon-magnetosphere interactions and icy moon interiors with simulations and spacecraft observations. She received her BA in Physics and Astronomy from Bryn Mawr College, and her PhD from the University of Washington in Earth and Space Science. She is a co-investigator on NASA’s Europa Clipper mission and is actively developing new mission strategies to explore the Uranus system. Previously she worked on developing mission strategies to the Neptune-Triton system as part of the Trident Discovery mission team and the Neptune Odyssey Planetary Mission Concept Study. She currently sits on the steering committee of the Outer Planets Assessment Group and recently served on the National Academies Ocean Worlds and Dwarf Planet panel for the Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey. Dr. Paty has an appointment in the University of Oregon’s Clark Honors College where she worked on the recent curriculum revision and implementation, and her research home is in the Earth Sciences department where she teaches and mentors students in planetary and space science. Prior to arriving at the University of Oregon, she spent 10 years at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences developing a planetary sciences’ focus and the Center for Space Technology and Research which bridged space research interests between the College of Science and College of Engineering. Her postdoc was spent working with the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer team while at the Southwest Research Institute.
Meeting Details: Don Knabb is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: January CCAS meeting
Time: Jan 10, 2023 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 814 1393 9752
The YouTube address remains the same as our previous meetings - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmghKmoSBhrVchGo_AbsxUA