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The iPLEX Winter 2017 Guest Speaker Schedule

Posted on Dec 27, 2016 in Seminars

The iPLEX Winter 2017 Guest Speaker Schedule:

Please join us on Fridays from 12 to 1pm in UCLA Geology Building (Room 3-814), followed by lunch 1 to 2pm.

The first and last days of classes for the Winter 2017 are January 9th 2017 and March 17th 2017, respectively.


Jan 13: No speaker/talk this week

Jan 20: Margaret Pan (MIT) “Eccentric rings and disks”

I’ll describe two observationally-motivated projects on eccentric systems of colliding particles. First, I’ll discuss a derivation for the mass of the rings orbiting the minor planet Chariklo, and some implications for how those rings formed; second, I’ll discuss azimuthal brightness variations in eccentric debris disks in the context of the very well observed Fomalhaut disk.

Jan 27: Quan-Zhi Ye (Caltech) “Probing the comet-asteroid continuum”

The era of modern astronomy is unfortunately not long enough to cover the typical lifetime of comets. However, comets produce dust which is potentially detectable as meteor activity at the Earth. Here I discuss the effort to understand cometary aging by examining different parts of the evolution spectrum of Jupiter-family comets (JFCs) by combining telescopic and meteor observations.

Feb 03: Ian Wong (Caltech) “Characterizing middle and outer solar system minor bodies as probes for Solar System evolution”

Many current theories posit a period of chaotic dynamical alterations throughout the middle and outer Solar System, during which the orbital architecture of the gas and ice giants changed drastically and the remnant planetesimals from planet formation were scattered. Using photometry, spectroscopy, and magnitude distribution analysis to study the present-day minor bodies that occupy this region namely, Jupiter Trojans, Hilda asteroids, Kuiper Belt objects and Centaurs we can compare the properties of the various populations and begin to evaluate our understanding of Solar System evolution.

Feb 10: Thomas Prettyman (PSI) “Evidence for aqueous alteration and ice-rock fractionation on (1) Ceres”

Analyses of data acquired by the NASA Dawn mission show that the surface of large asteroid Ceres is rich in hydrogen in the form of phyllosilicates, water ice, and perhaps organic matter. Differences between Ceres’ surface elemental composition and that of the primitive CI chondrites suggest Ceres underwent ice-rock fractionation or formed from a different reservoir than the CI parent body. Composition data acquired by Dawn provide further constraints on Ceres’ origins, hydrothermal evolution, and present state, placing Ceres in context with other icy, solar system bodies.

Feb 17: Dan Cziczo (MIT) “Ice Nucleation: From the Earth to Mars and Beyond”

Ice nucleation in the Earth’s atmosphere is known to be an important factor in climate, chemistry, and precipitation. By mimicking that planet’s atmosphere, we can leverage tools for terrestrial studies of ice clouds to understand the Martian water and carbon cycles. Recent observations show clouds to be present around exoplanets as well. Although measurements are much more uncertain, these technologies can help elucidate the atmospheres of these distant planets.

Feb 24: Danielle Hastings (UCLA) & David Jewitt (UCLA) “The Rotation Period of Hi’iaka, Haumea’s Largest Satellite” (Hastings) & “Rotationally Disrupting Bodies” (Jewitt)

Hastings: Using relative photometry from the Hubble Space Telescope and Magellan, we have found that Hi’iaka, the largest satellite of the dwarf planet Haumea, has a rotation period of ~9.8 hours.  This surprisingly short period, ~120 times faster than its orbital period, creates new questions about the formation of the Haumea system and possible tidal evolution. 

Jewitt: I will present observations suggesting the role of rotational disruption in the solar system.

Mar 03: Eric Mamajek (JPL) “A Transiting Extrasolar Ring System”

I’ll discuss the discovery and characterization of the “J1407” (V1400 Cen) system and its eclipsing complex ring system. J1407 is an otherwise unremarkable ~15 Myr-old pre-main sequence solar-mass star lacking infrared excess. The disk/ring system transiting J1407 is tenths of an AU in size with approximate mass similar to that of the Earth, and the best models thus far require dozens of rings. The system is intermediate in size and mass between Saturn’s rings and circumstellar disks, and may represent the first example of a protoexosatellite disk and indirect evidence of exomoon formation.

Mar 10: Roger Fu (Harvard University) “Meteorite Paleomagnetism”

Magnetic fields permeated the partially ionized gas of the solar nebula and may have also been generated by metallic core dynamos in early-forming planetesimals. I will talk about paleomagnetic experiments on meteorites that yield information on the evolution of the protoplanetary disk and the accretion of planetary bodies.

Mar 17: Zhaohuan Zhu (UNLV) “Young Planets in Protoplanetary Disks: Theory Confronts Observations”

Recently commissioned telescopes and instruments (e.g., Subaru, GPI, VLA, ALMA, EVLA) are now finally able to resolve the protoplanetary disk down to the AU scale, and a rich variety of disk features have been revealed. In this talk, I will discuss how these observations can constrain protoplanetary disk dynamics and planet formation theory.