Eastbourne BN20 9HT
Title: The Cassini legacy: Saturn, its Rings and its Moons from close-up
Synopsis: The Cassini mission to Saturn ended on 15th September 2017 when the spacecraft burnt up in the planet’s atmosphere. Launched in 1997 as part of the NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini–Huygens mission, the spacecraft had been in orbit about the ringed planet since 2004, sending back a wealth of data about the planet, its moons and its vast ring system. The talk will highlight some of the discoveries made by Cassini during its 13-year study of the ringed planet. These include observations of giant storms on Saturn, changing weather and surface features on Saturn’s largest moon Titan, the discovery of plumes of ice particles emanating from a source of liquid water beneath the surface of the moon Enceladus, and the discovery of several new moons. The presence of a spacecraft in orbit for more than a decade has given scientists the opportunity to study how the ring system has changed over time. The last part of the talk will focus on this. This is a ‘special’ 90-minute presentation with a refreshments break half way through.
Prof. Carl Murray (professor of Mathematics and Astronomy, School of Physics and Astronomy, Queen Mary, University of London)
Carl Murray did his BSc and PhD at Queen Mary before taking up a postdoctoral position at Cornell University in upstate New York in 1980. He returned to Queen Mary in 1982 and has remained there ever since. Carl has been a member of the Cassini Imaging Team since he was first selected in 1990 and he is the team’s only UK member. His main research interest is Solar System dynamics and he has co-authored a best-selling textbook on the subject. Carl’s work on Cassini has concentrated on the dynamics of the rings, particularly Saturn’s highly unusual F ring and the edge of the A ring, as well as the gravitational interaction between the rings with the small moons orbiting nearby.