Space & Planetary Physics Seminar - Recent work on Uranus’ magnetosphere: Preparing for a flagship mission

Thursday 22 June 2023, 2:00pm to 3:00pm


C36 Physics and MS Teams

Open to

Alumni, Postgraduates, Public, Staff, Undergraduates


Registration not required - just turn up

Event Details

Recent work on Uranus’ magnetosphere: Preparing for a flagship mission by Dr Adam Masters (Imperial College London)


Uranus is the first of the ice giant planets, orbiting the Sun ~19 times farther than the Earth. The solar wind continually bombards the planet, which is shielded by its internally generated magnetic field. This creates a large, dynamic, and invisible environment of magnetic fields and charged particles around Uranus that we refer to as the planetary magnetosphere. Understanding this complex system is a core element of understanding how energy flows through the entire planetary system, and Uranus’ magnetosphere is both extreme and unusual in many respects. I will review what we currently know about Uranus’ magnetosphere, which is largely based on a single spacecraft encounter by Voyager 2 in 1986. I will highlight what makes this magnetosphere so extreme and unusual, reviewing topics including the solar wind interaction, magnetospheric dynamics, the radiation belts, and the asymmetric field of Uranus itself. I will include presentation of the results of some recent work on these topics that is motivated by NASA's planned Uranus orbiter, which will provide a route to answering the many open questions in this field.

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