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Physics & Astronomy Colloquium – Fall 2019 – Plattner
September 11, 2019 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Speaker: Alain Plattner(University of Alabama)
Title: Planet Mercury’s Weird Magnetic Field
Abstract: It had been known since the Mariner 10 flybys in the 70s, that Mercury is the only other terrestrial planet with an active core magnetic field. Until NASA’s MESSENGER satellite mission (in orbit 2011 – 2015), little was known about the morphology of that field and whether there may be any remanent magnetic field in the planet’s crust. MESSENGER has provided us with a rich data set allowing for the discovery of Mercury’s offset axial dipolar core field and the presence of crustal magnetic signatures. Many questions remain about Mercury’s magnetic field: What explains the core field’s axisymmetry but equatorial asymmetry? What can we learn about the structure and history of Mercury from its crustal and core magnetic field? In this talk I will present and discuss recently discovered patterns in Mercury’s crustal- and non-axisymmetric core field and their potential implications for our understanding of the innermost planet of our solar system.
Speaker Biography: TBA