Computer simulations of convection and magnetic field generation in planets

Speaker: 
Gary Glatzmaier
Event Date and Time: 
Fri, 2012-02-24 14:00 - 15:00
Location: 
TRIUMF auditorium
Local Contact: 
Barry Davids, davids@triumf.ca
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Observations of the zonal winds and magnetic fields on giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn beg the questions of what flows and fields exist well below their surfaces and how are they maintained.  In roughly five years, NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter and the Cassini Solstice mission at Saturn will provide near-surface measurements of the gravity and magnetic fields of these giant planets that will help to answer these questions.  These problems are also being studied via computer simulations, which will provide predictions for what may be discovered at Jupiter and Saturn.  The same questions have been studied for convection and magnetic field generation in terrestrial planets, like the Earth.  Spontaneous magnetic dipole reversals were first seen in 3D self-consistent geodynamo simulations nearly two decades ago.  I will describe several simulations, including computer graphical movies, of giant planet and terrestrial planet dynamos.

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