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Posts by ivy

Abigail Fraeman (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

February 26th, 2016: Phobos and Deimos: What we know, what we don’t know, and why we care

Posted on Jan 14, 2016 in Seminars

The moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, are high priority targets for future exploration by both robotic and human missions. Despite decades of study by ground and Mars-orbiting spacecraft, key questions about the moons’ origin, geologic evolution, and potential to provide in situ resources for future manned missions remain unresolved. Phobos and Deimos either formed in situ around Mars through co-accretion or giant impact, or they are captured asteroids that originated from elsewhere in the solar system. One key to unlocking this mystery will be to determine whether the moons are composed...

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January 29th, 2016: Seeing Through the Clouds: The Thermal Emission and Reflected Light of Super-Earths with Flat Transmission Spectra

Posted on Jan 13, 2016 in Seminars

Vast resources have been dedicated to characterizing the handful of planets with radii between Earth’s and Neptune’s that are accessible to current telescopes. Observations of their transmission spectra have been inconclusive and do not constrain the atmospheric composition. Of the small planets studied to date, all have radii in the near-IR consistent with being constant in wavelength, likely showing that these small planets are consistently enshrouded in thick hazes and clouds. I will explore the types of clouds and hazes that can completely obscure transmission spectra. I will then...

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March 4th, 2016: Ensemble Physical Properties of Comets

Posted on Jan 11, 2016 in Seminars

With the advent of powerful space-based infrared telescope facilities, we are seeing a surge in the number of cometary nuclei whose thermal emissions are being measured. This work has the potential to provide insight into the ensemble structural and thermophysical properties of comets and, ultimately, the circumstances of their formation and evolution. Moreover, these studies are now happening while the Rosetta spacecraft continues its detailed and lengthy study of comet 67P, giving us excellent context with which to try to understand the wealth of remote observations of other comets. This is...

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UCLA Astronomer Gives TED Talk

Posted on Jan 11, 2016 in News

UCLA Astronomer Gives TED Talk

UC President’s Postdoctoral Program Fellow Dr. Aomawa Shields was awarded a TED Fellowship, which included giving a TED talk about how she searches for clues that life might exist elsewhere in the universe by examining the atmospheres of distant exoplanets. The classically trained actress-turned-astronomer also discusses her passion for engaging young women in the sciences through theater and art.

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UCLA scientists attend the 47th annual American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Science meeting

Posted on Nov 20, 2015 in News

UCLA scientists attend the 47th annual American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Science meeting

Direct from the 2015 Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) Meeting in National Harbor, Maryland, pictured is a small fraction of UCLA’s EPSS students and researchers from the Jewitt and Margot Research Groups; (left to right) Man-To Hui, Ariel Graykowski, Danielle Hastings, Ashok Verma, Dave Milewski, Oliver Bowman, and Adam Greenberg, with 3 posters and 2 talks: –107.05. Mercury’s gravity field, tidal Love number k2, and spin axis orientation revealed with MESSENGER radio tracking data –307.04. Improved Algorithms for Radar-Based Reconstruction of Asteroid Spin States and...

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iPLEX and space scientists featured in UCLA’s Prime Magazine

Posted on Nov 17, 2015 in Featured, News

iPLEX and space scientists featured in UCLA’s Prime Magazine

The Institute for Planets and Exoplanets (iPLEX) is currently featured in UCLA’s Prime Magazine. The article, written by UCLA student Allison Ong recaps the efforts of the institute and individuals to promote planetary and space science at UCLA and within the broader community over the past four years, from hosting conferences to building a public outreach program. The article is available at newsstands on the UCLA Campus and online...

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UCLA Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences Distinguished Alumni Lecture

Posted on Oct 29, 2015 in News

UCLA Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences Distinguished Alumni Lecture

From the Sun to the Edge of the Solar System Dr. David J. McComas, ’86 Assistant Vice President, Space Science & Engineering, Southwest Research Institute Professor of Physics, University of Texas San Antonio The Sun produces a million mile per hour wind of hot ionized gas that flows out all directions in space all of the time. This solar wind interacts with the planets and other objects in the solar system and, at Earth, produces both beautiful aurora and dangerous space weather that can kill orbiting satellites. Further out, the solar wind inflates a bubble in the local...

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Prevalence and Properties of Planets: Discoveries from Kepler and K2

Posted on Oct 27, 2015 in Seminars

As we mark the twentieth anniversary of the discovery of the first planet orbiting another Sun-like star, the study of extrasolar planets is maturing beyond individual discoveries to detailed characterization of the planet population as a whole. No mission has played more of a role in this paradigm shift than NASA’s Kepler mission. Discoveries from the prime Kepler mission demonstrated that small planets (< 3 Earth-radii) are common outcomes of planet formation around G, K, and M stars. While Kepler detected many such planets, all but a handful orbit faint, distant stars, which are not...

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October 23, 2015: Future opportunities for Planetary Sciences studies with the Thirty-Meter-Telescope International Observatory

Posted on Oct 20, 2015 in Seminars

I’ll present a brief overview of the Thirty-Meter-Telescope project, whose construction on top of Mauna Kea is scheduled to take about eight years, with first-light currently planned for the horizon 2023/24, and start of science operations soon after. I’ll review the expected observing performances of the facility and its first-light instruments, which will combine imaging and spectroscopic capabilities, along with powerful adaptive-optics corrected wavefronts and the use of a laser-guide-star facility in some cases. TMT will enable ground-based exploration of our solar system – and...

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UCLA scientists reset the clock on the beginning of life on Earth

Posted on Oct 19, 2015 in News

UCLA scientists reset the clock on the beginning of life on Earth

UCLA geochemist Beth Ann Bell and her colleagues have dug deep into the annals of Earth’s history and turned up the result that life may have begun much earlier than previously thought. In the study, recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they examined microscopic graphite inside tiny, ancient zircon grains from the Jack Hills in Western Australia. The graphite samples, which are made of carbon, contain information about the chemistry of the planet during the time they were formed. This chemistry, in turn, can help scientists decipher if biologic...

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October 16th, 2015: The Effects of Magma on the Dynamics of Io’s Interior

Posted on Oct 12, 2015 in Seminars

Most planets in the solar system lose their internal heat through convection beneath a stagnant lid. However on Io, tidal heating is so intense that its mantle is partially molten. This magma migrates through Io’s mantle and erupts onto its surface. This is thought to be the main mechanism through which heat is removed from Io’s interior. Previous studies have only considered either solid-state mantle convection or magma migration, but magma generation and migration is not independent from mantle convection. Thus understanding the structure of Io’s mantle and how it loses its internal...

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September 25, 2015: Recent Observations of Pluto and its Moons from New Horizons

Posted on Sep 29, 2015 in Seminars

The New Horizons mission to the outer solar system has returned beautiful and intriguing images of Pluto and Charon which raise many new questions about the outer solar system and the formation of icy worlds. I will present background information about New Horizons and our current understanding of the Pluto-Charon system, followed by the new images and data returned by the spacecraft. The images and data will be presented so as to encourage discussion amongst the...

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October 2, 2015: Saturn Ring Seismology: Complex Interactions Between the Planet, the Rings, and the Moons

Posted on Sep 28, 2015 in Seminars

The rich dynamics of the Saturn ring and moon systems offer unique opportunities to study the evolution of the planet and its surrounding bodies. For instance, seismology of Saturn is made possible by the gravitational interaction between Saturn and its rings, in which density waves in the rings are excited at Lindblad resonances with Saturn’s oscillation modes. The seismic signatures in the rings suggest the existence of stable stratification in the deep interior of the planet, likely created by composition gradients between the core and envelope due to helium sedimentation and/or core...

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Recap of International Observe the Moon Night at UCLA

Posted on Sep 21, 2015 in News

Recap of International Observe the Moon Night at UCLA

International Observe the Moon Night at UCLA was held on September 19th, 2015 at the UCLA Planetarium on the roof of the Math Sciences Building. The crowd of attendees was treated to two outstanding talks given in the planetarium by UCLA and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) scientist Dr. Jean-Pierre Williams and UCLA graduate student and lunar scientist, Raquel Nuno. Attendees learned about the newest science results from NASA’s LRO mission and participated in hands-on activities describing the relative size and distance of the Moon and Earth, how the phases of the Moon occur, and...

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November 20, 2015: Two studies in planetary dynamics: (i) Impact seasons on Mars, (ii) The mass function of planets in the Galaxy

Posted on Sep 21, 2015 in Seminars

I will present results of new calculations of the asteroidal impact flux on Mars.  Mars’ orbit is significantly eccentric and the planet orbits near the inner edge of the asteroid belt where the space density of asteroids has a large radial gradient.  The correlated secular dynamics of Mars and the asteroids plays a significant role in modulating the impact flux on this planet.  At the present epoch, this leads to a large variation — of about a factor of three — in the impact flux when Mars is near aphelion versus perihelion; significantly, the integrated annual impact...

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UCLA-led Dawn Mission provides closest ever look at dwarf planet Ceres

Posted on Sep 14, 2015 in News

UCLA-led Dawn Mission provides closest ever look at dwarf planet Ceres

NASA’s Dawn Mission, which is led by UCLA Professor Chris Russell, reached the dwarf planet Ceres earlier this year after its previous rendezvous with asteroid Vesta. It is now observing Ceres from 2700 miles about the surface and returning the closest images that have ever been taken of the object. A one-minute video animation has been produced with the images, showing the object’s mysterious “bright spots” and its heavily cratered terrain. To read the full article, visit...

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Graduate student Carolyn Crow named recipient of 2015 Gordon McKay Award of the Meteoritical Society

Posted on Sep 10, 2015 in News

Graduate student Carolyn Crow named recipient of 2015 Gordon McKay Award of the Meteoritical Society

UCLA Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences graduate student Carolyn Crow has been named recipient of the 2015 Gordon McKay Award of the Meteoritical Society.  The award honors the memory of experimental petrologist and lunar scientist Gordon A. McKay and is given each year to the student who gives the best oral presentation at the annual meeting of the society.  Carolyn’s talk in Berkeley was entitled “I-Xe degassing ages of terrestrial and lunar impact...

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UCLA Plasma Fest Registration Open!

Posted on Sep 4, 2015 in News

UCLA Plasma Fest Registration Open!

  Registration for Plasma Fest 2015 is open (and FREE!) but required due to limited seating. In case you haven’t done that yet, please register now at: http://psti.ucla.edu/plasmafest/register.html AGENDA 8:30-12:30: Symposium Location: Physics and Astronomy Building (PAB) Room 1-434 After a welcome by Joseph Rudnick, Dean of the Division of Physical Sciences, and opening remarks by Frank Jenko, Director of UCLA’s Plasma Science and Technology Institute (PSTI), there will be several overview talks highlighting the outstanding breadth and depth of UCLA-based plasma research....

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Discovery of “zebra stripes” in space by Yuri Shprits and Chris Russell

Posted on Jul 17, 2015 in News

Discovery of “zebra stripes” in space by Yuri Shprits and Chris Russell

UCLA researcher Yuri Shprits, along with Prof. Chris Russell have observed the structure of plasma waves in the equatorial regions of near-Earth space. The waves, which have until now only been observed as noise, have a highly structured pattern reminiscent of a zebra pattern. The discovery is highly significant for satellites and humans in space, which can be harmed by the high-energy particles. To read the full press release, visit the UCLA...

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Exploring Your Universe 2015!

Posted on Jun 26, 2015 in News

Exploring Your Universe 2015!

This year’s Exploring Your Universe (EYU) event at UCLA will be held on Sunday, November 8th, 2015.  Exploring Your Universe is an annual event held on the UCLA campus that includes science exhibitions, hands-on activities, demonstrations and experiments.  The event is free to the public and promises an exciting time and a great learning experience for kids and adults alike. To read more about previous years’ EYU events and other iPLEX outreach events, please visit our Exploring Your Universe page and stay tuned for more...

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