Abstract: Our solar system harbors several giant, fast rotating, magnetized planets that are surrounded by energetic charged particles up to GeV energies. The so-called radiation belts of these planets can act as analogues to some astrophysical objects such as pulsars. For example, Inverse Compton scattering of energetic electrons on photons always yields x-rays. This process works around both planets and pulsars, allows observing them remotely, and opens a window into the universal process of diffusion that in both cases plays an important role in distributing the electrons.
This seminar will provide an introduction into planetary radiation belts and how they are explored remotely, both Earth-based as well as while orbiting the target, and in-situ by flying directly through the regions of interest. We will discuss some of the major physical processes in these radiation belts and illustrate them through example measurements at Jupiter and Saturn.
Bio: Dr. Peter Kollmann is a physicist who studies space plasma throughout our solar system using satellite observations and theory. He is deeply involved with all of the recent planetary missions to Jupiter and Saturn, as well as other missions such as Lunar Vertex and New Horizons, where he is one of the instrument scientists. He has published on a wide variety of targets: from plasma at Venus, to the radiation belts of giant planets, to the interplanetary medium around Pluto. His work commonly combines various techniques of data analysis and numerical modeling. He supports the community by organizing conference sessions that bring together different communities and by providing processed data that are used for mission planning and science.