Robert Brown, of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory of the University of Arizona, Tucson, USA, is the Team Leader for Cassini's Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS). Dr. Brown is Professor of Planetary Sciences. His research interests center on observational, theoretical, and laboratory studies of planetary surfaces and surface processes. Of particular interest in his research are Titan and the rest of Saturn's icy moons.
Jean-Pierre Lebreton is the ESA Project Scientist and Mission Manager for the Huygens mission. His particular speciality is planetary science, studying plasma physics.
Dr. Lebreton is also in the ESA team working on the Rosetta mission and, in particular, he is involved with the Plasma Consortium Experiment. He led the divisional activities on the Tethered Satellite System.
Jack Hunter Waite is a planetary scientist specializing in the application of mass spectrometry to the study of solar system biogeochemistry and aeronomy. He is involved in research projects in ion/neutral mass spectrometry, gas chromatography, biogeochemistry, thermospheric modeling, and planetary astronomy. Dr. Waite is the Team Leader for the Cassini Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer investigation, co-investigator and lead SwRI hardware manager for the Rosetta/Rosina Reflectron Time-of-Flight, principal investigator for the development of a Jupiter Thermosphere-Ionosphere General Circulation Model, a co-investigator in planetary observing programs with Hubble Space Telescope (HST), Chandra, and the Canada France Hawaii Telescope and leads a major effort for the development of analytical techniques for use in the study of planetary biogeochemistry funded by NASA JPL and the NASA ASTID programs.
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.