On 21st October Dr Phil Sutton gave a seminar at the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute at Uclan about his work with planetary rings, exoplanets and exomoons.
The Importance of Planetary Rings as Astrophysical Laboratories
The Solar System hosts one of the best natural laboratories for the study of astrophysical processes. Saturn’s rings are close enough that we have been able to study them in great detail with the use of the in-situ spacecraft, Cassini, for over a decade. In this talk, with the use of Saturn’s rings, we will cover the key physics of planetary rings, their interactions with nearby moons and how they can be used to strengthen our planet formation theories. The talk will finish by applying what we have learnt from Saturn’s rings to some recently discovered rings orbiting exoplanets (exorings), and how we can discover unseen exomoons by the signatures they leave within the rings.