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Mark Showalter

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Senior Research Scientist
SETI Institute
Mountain View, CA 94043

Research Summary:
  • Co-Investigator:
    • CIRS Instrument
    • Cassini mission to Saturn Team Associate
    • New Horizons Jupiter flyby
  • Principal Investigator:
    • 10 general observer programs on the Hubble Space Telescope
    • Numerous NASA research grants
  • Discoverer of Jupiter's faint "gossamer" ring, Saturn's innermost moon Pan, and two moons and two rings of Uranus.

Title: Saturn's Restless Rings: Latest Results from Cassini


Whereas we once believed Saturn's rings to be stable for millions of years, we are learning that some of the rings can change in appearance over time periods as brief as decades, or sometimes even days. The rings have revealed a variety of surprising phenomena, including "jets," "propellers," "wisps," "spokes," and "braids." We are interested in Saturn's rings not only for their own sake, but also because in them we observe some of the same processes that formed our Solar System out of a cloud of dust and debris long ago.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft continues to send back to Earth a treasure trove of new information about the planet, its rings, and its large family of fascinating moons.  Dr. Showalter will show some of the marvelous pictures of the Saturn system and discuss the latest results from the mission.



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