Bradley Observatory Open House

Friday, February 6, 2015
8 p.m.
Open House Lecture - Amy Lovell

Comets, as some of the smallest and most diverse objects in our solar system, continue to surprise us as we observe them both from Earth and from space. The European Space Agency’s Rosetta Mission recently encountered comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and launched the Philae lander to its icy surface. Some truly spectacular images have already been returned, and the spacecraft will continue to follow the comet through its closest approach to the sun in August, 2015. This represents the first chance to make long-term observations of a comet with a spacecraft, and Dr. Lovell will review some of the current and expected results.

OSIRIS wide-angle camera (WAC) image acquired on 22 November 2014 from a distance of 30 km from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The image resolution is 2.8 m/pixel. The nucleus is deliberately overexposed in order to reveal the faint jets of activity. The vertical line in the bottom right of the image, which seems to separate two regions of the coma with slightly different brightness, is the shadow of the nucleus cast onto the coma.

Amy LovellAmy Lovell graduated from Agnes Scott College, and got her PhD in Astronomy from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has been on the faculty at Agnes Scott for 15 years. Prof. Lovell is interested in the solar system, gravity and dynamics and, chemistry and physics of cometary comae, thermal emission from asteroids, millimeter-wave and radio, experiential and interdisciplinary aspects of physics. She is a member of American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences, Federal Relations Subcommittee, Arecibo Science Advocacy Partnership, National Radio Astronomy Observatory Users Committee, Southeastern SoTL Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Colloquy Founders’ Council. Prof. Lovell has a comet named after her!