Weekly Space Hangout: May 1, 2019 – Dr. Mark Showalter of SETI

Fraser Cain (universetoday.com / @fcain)
Dr. Pamela Gay (astronomycast.com / cosmoquest.org / @starstryder)
Dr. Kimberly Cartier (KimberlyCartier.org / @AstroKimCartier )
Dr. Morgan Rehnberg (MorganRehnberg.com / @MorganRehnberg & ChartYourWorld.org)
Dr. Paul M. Sutter (pmsutter.com / @PaulMattSutter)

Dr. Mark Showalter, Senior Research Scientist and Fellow at the SETI Institute, is one of four Planetary Scientists who, in 2013, discovered a tiny, mysterious moon around Neptune which they named Hippocamp. After six years of analysis, the team developed an explanation for its origin, and their findings were published on February 20, 2019, in the journal Nature. We are pleased to welcome Mark to the Weekly Space Hangout tonight to discuss this enigmatic, albeit small, member of our Solar System.

Mark’s research focuses on the dynamics of rings and small moons in the Solar System. His long history of working with the Hubble Space Telescope has led to the discoveries Uranus’ two small moons “Mab” and “Cupid”, in addition to its two faint outer rings of dust.

In 2011, Mark turned his focus to Pluto, which led to the discovery of its tiny moons “Kerberos” and “Styx”, as well as the 14th known moon of Neptune. He is also a co-investigator on NASA’s Cassini mission as well as New Horizons.

Additionally, Mark manages the Ring-Moon Systems Node of NASA’s Planetary Data System which provides public access to images and other data from NASA’s Voyager, Galileo, Cassini and New Horizons missions, from the Hubble Space Telescope, and from a variety of Earth-based telescopes.

You can learn more about Mark by visiting: https://www.seti.org/our-scientists/mark-showalter

To learn more about Hippocamp, read the SETI Institute press release here: https://www.seti.org/press-release/tiny-neptune-moon-spotted-hubble-may-have-broken-larger

or in Nature by visiting: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-0909-9

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The Weekly Space Hangout is a production of CosmoQuest.