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Gas Giants and Ice Giants

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19:00 – 20:00 2 May 2012
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Lecture Theatre D, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH

Speakers: Chris Arridge, University College London

This talk will describe recent results from missions to the giant planets of our solar system and ground/space-based observatories at 1 AU, looking at their interiors, magnetic fields, magnetospheres, and natural satellites.
It will conclude with a discussion about current and future missions, focusing on missions to the poorly studied and understood Ice Giant, Uranus.
The worlds of the giant planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are full of superlatives. Apart from the Sun they are the largest and most massive objects in our solar system and their influence is felt over enormous distances.
The stunning rings around Saturn, and the large number of moons around most of the giant planets lead some people to think of them as miniature solar systems in their own right. Although often grouped together as “Gas Giants”, many planetary scientists make a further distinction and describe Jupiter and Saturn as Gas Giants, and Uranus and Neptune as Ice Giants, reflecting the importance of volatiles (such as water, methane, and ammonia) in the interiors and atmospheres of Uranus and Neptune.
The interiors of the giant planets are also important natural laboratories for studying materials under high pressure and for studying the generation of global magnetic fields.
The magnetic field of Jupiter is reasonably well understood, but the almost axisymmetrical field of Saturn, and the highly asymmetrical fields of Neptune and Uranus are much less well understood. Global planetary magnetic fields provide the cores for giant planetary magnetospheres with very different mass and energy sources compared to the Earth’s magnetosphere.
This talk will describe recent results from missions to the giant planets of our solar system and ground/space-based observatories at 1 AU, looking at their interiors, magnetic fields, magnetospheres, and natural satellites. It will conclude with a discussion about current and future missions, focusing on missions to the poorly studied and understood Ice Giant, Uranus.
Speaker Bio:
Chris Arridge is a planetary scientist at Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London. His professional work is focused on the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and future missions to the outer planets.
His scientific research involves the study of magnetic fields and charged particles in space around giant planets. Originally from Hull, he studied at the University of Wales Aberystwyth, the University of Cambridge, and Imperial College London where he gained his PhD studying some of the first measurements made by the Cassini orbiter at Saturn.
Chris is also active in the engagement of young people in science, mathematics and engineering.

Event type: Lecture/Talk
Organised by: South Central Branch
Contact details: Dr Paul Stevenson
Email: p.stevenson@surrey.ac.uk

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Lecture Theatre D, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH
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19:00 – 20:00 2 May 2012
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