Michele Dougherty, Cassini Saturn Orbiter (NASA/ESA) - Acting Principal Investigator (PI) for magnetometer instrument.
Dr. Esposito the principal investigator of the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) experiment on the Cassini space mission to Saturn. He was chair of the Voyager Rings Working Group. As a member of the Pioneer Saturn imaging team, he discovered Saturn’s F ring. He has been a participant in numerous US, Russian and European space missions and used the Hubble Space Telescope for its first observations of the planet Venus. He was awarded the Harold C. Urey Prize from the American Astronomical Society, The NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, and the Richtmyer Lecture Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Physical Society.
Dr. Esposito has written his Ph.D dissertation, numerous scientific publications, scholarly reviews on the topic of planetary rings as well as the Cambridge University Press book Planetary Rings. Along with his students and colleagues he continues to actively research the nature and history of planetary rings at the University of Colorado, where he has been since 1977. He is now Professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences and a member of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP).
He has been an officer of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society and of the Committee for Space Research (COSPAR) of the International Council of Scientific Unions. He was chair of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration (COMPLEX). He is a member of American Astronomical Society, American Geophysical Union and International Astronomical Union.
Dr. Stamatios (Tom) Krimigis has been at APL since 1968, after earning his B. Physics from the University of Minnesota (1961), and his M.S. (1963) and Ph.D. (1965) in Physics from the University of Iowa and serving as Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy there. He became Supervisor of Space Physics and Instrumentation in the Space Department, Chief Scientist in 1980, Department Head in 1991, and Emeritus Head in 2004. He is Principal Investigator on several NASA spacecraft, including Voyagers 1 and 2 to the Outer Planets and the Voyager Interstellar Mission, and the Cassini mission to Saturn and Titan. He has designed and built instruments that have flown to seven of the nine planets, and hopes to complete the set with his participation in the MESSENGER mission to Mercury and New Horizons mission to Pluto. He has published more than 370 papers in journals and books on the physics of the sun, interplanetary medium, planetary magnetospheres, and the heliosphere. He is recipient of NASA's Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal twice, is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, American Geophysical Union, and American Association for the Advancement of Science, recipient of COSPAR's Space Science Award in 2002, a recipient of the Basic Sciences Award of the International Academy of Astronautics where he serves on the Board of Trustees, and was elected recently to the newly established chair of "Science of Space" of the Academy of Athens.
There is much about Mercury that we still don’t understand. Accessible to the amateur, but also a handy state-of-the-art digest for students and researchers, the book shows how our knowledge of Mercury developed over the past century of ground-based, fly-by and orbital observations, and looks ahead at the mysteries remaining for future missions to explore.
The author presents the observational methods needed to probe the spin-orbit angle, the relation between the stellar spin axis and planetary orbital axis. Measurements of the spin-orbit angle provide us a unique and valuable opportunity to understand the origin of close-in giant exoplanets, called "hot Jupiters".
The first method introduced involves observations of the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect (RM effect). The author points out the issues with the previous theoretical modeling of the RM effect and derives a new and improved theory. Applications of the new theory to observational data are also presented for a number of remarkable systems, and the author shows that the new theory minimizes the systematic errors by applying it to the observational data.
The author also describes another method for constraining the spin-orbit angle: by combining the measurements of stellar flux variations due to dark spots on the stellar surface, with the projected stellar rotational velocity measured via spectroscopy, the spin-orbit angles "along the line-of-sight" are constrained for the transiting exoplanetary systems reported by the Kepler space telescope.
Louis Friedman of the Planetary Society and Jacques Blamont of CNES (both involved in Mars and Venus balloon projects) are both interviewed, along with Victor Kerzhanovich of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (planetary balloon systems), Julian Nott (balloonist adventurer and Titan balloon enthusiast), Ralph Lorenz (John Hopkins University's Applied Physics Lab, team member of the proposed Montgolfier balloon on NASA's flagship mission to Titan), Lockheed Martin's Ben Clark (early atmospheric probe designer), Joe Palaia (UAV tests to Devon Island, Canadian Arctic), Joel Levine, Langley Research Center's principal investigator for the Mars ARES (Aerial Regional Environmental Survey), and Andrew Ingersoll, planetary atmospheres expert at California Institute of Technology, among others.
Based on an established course, this comprehensive text covers a panorama of solar system bodies and their relevant general properties. It explores the origin and evolution of atmospheres, along with their chemical composition and thermal structure. It also describes cloud formation and properties, mechanisms in thin and upper atmospheres, and meteorology and dynamics. Each chapter focuses on these atmospheric topics in the way classically done for the Earth’s atmosphere and summarizes the most important aspects in the field.
The study of planetary atmospheres is fundamental to understanding the origin of the solar system, the formation mechanisms of planets and satellites, and the day-to-day behavior and evolution of Earth’s atmosphere. With many interesting real-world examples, this book offers a unified vision of the chemical and physical processes occurring in planetary atmospheres. Ancillaries are available at www.ajax.ehu.es/planetary_atmospheres/
Early additional findings from the Cassini spacecraft in orbit around Saturn (due to arrive in July 2004) will also be included. The first series of ring orbits by Cassini occur between May and October 2005 and this book will provide the first summary of these detailed observations, the first since the flyby of Voyager 2 in 1981. Images of Saturn, as the Cassini spacecraft approached the planet in spring 2004, revealed a wealth of detail in the ring system, a foretaste of the excitement to come.
Each chapter includes extensive notes, references, figures and tables. A bibliography is also included at the end of each chapter, for those who want to peruse the existing literature. Both a glossary and a topical index will make the book a useful reference tool for planetary scientists as well as for the targeted audience of non-experts.