PICS Seminar: Hao Cao (Harvard)

Hao Cao (Harvard)
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

"Saturn’s Intrinsic Magnetic Field Revealed by Cassini Grand Finale"

Intrinsic magnetic fields are windows into planetary interiors. Saturn’s intrinsic magnetic field continues to offer surprises since the first in-situ measurements during the Pioneer 11 Saturn flyby. The Cassini spacecraft entered the Grand Finale phase in April 2017, during which time the spacecraft dived through the gap between Saturn’s atmosphere and the inner edge of the D-ring 22 times before descending into the deep atmosphere of Saturn on Sep. 15th 2017. The unprecedented proximity to Saturn (reaching 2000 km above the cloud deck) and the highly inclined nature of the Grand Finale orbits provided an ideal opportunity to decode Saturn’s internal magnetic field. The fluxgate magnetometer onboard Cassini made precise vector measurements during the Grand Finale phase. Magnetic signals from the interior of the planet and various magnetospheric currents were observed during the Grand Finale phase. Here I will report new features of Saturn’s internal magnetic field revealed by measurements from the Cassini Grand Finale phase and implications for the deep interior of Saturn.

About the Speaker

Hao Cao is a Research Associate working with Jeremy Bloxham in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, at Harvard. His research is to understand the interior structure, dynamics, and evolution of planetary bodies.

About the Series

The MIT Planetary Lunch Colloquium Series [PlCS] is a weekly seminar series organized within the EAPS department. Colloquia topics span the range of research interests of the department's planetary sciences research program. The seminars usually take place on Tuesdays from 12-1:30 pm in 54-517 unless otherwise noted (term-time only). Speakers include members of the MIT community and visitors. Talks are intended to appeal to graduate students, postdocs, research scientists, and faculty with a background in planetary science. A light lunch is provided.