Thermophysical Modeling of Saturn's Rings and the White Ovals of Jupiter
Mentor: Padma Yanamandra-Fisher (JPL)
Analysis of data acquired from various ground-based observatories from visible to mid-infrared of Jupiter and Saturn will be the database for the project which will address two currently important questions: (1) What is the composition of Saturn's rings? (2) What optical and thermal changes occur when the white ovals of Jupiter merge? Although these are the overarching questions, the approach to both of them will begin with the systematic reduction and calibration of the data. Since both Jupiter and Saturn were observed together with the same instruments, on same nights and used same standards, this aspect of the project is common for both goals listed above. For Saturn's rings, the brightness temperatures of the rings will be determined and various thermal properties will be quantified such as thermal heating and cooling of particles and thermal inertia of the various rings. These parameters will be then input into a thermophysical model of the ring particles, to reproduce the observed thermal ring profiles. Jupiter's three white ovals have merged into one oval over the span of the last 15 years. The changes in the albedo and temperature fields will be mapped and quantitative correlatations will be determined to understand the dynamics of large-scale features on Jupiter.
CURE student tasks: Science of Jupiter atmosphere and Saturn's rings, image processing, data analysis.- Last Updated: 6/23/12