Bullitt Lecture in Astronomy 2011


Linda J. Spilker

"Cassini-Huygens explores the Saturn System:

Recent Discoveries and Science Highlights"

Cassini Project Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech

Video from the 2011 Bullitt Lecture is available now


Our understanding of the Saturn system has been greatly enhanced by the Cassini-Huygens mission now in its 8th year in orbit around Saturn.  Fundamental discoveries have altered our views of Saturn, Titan and the icy moons, the rings, and magnetosphere of the system.   This flagship mission is a cooperative undertaking by NASA, ESA, and the Italian space agency (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI)).

Key Cassini-Huygens discoveries include icy jets of material streaming from tiny Enceladus’ south pole, unveiling Titan’s surface, a world with Earth-like lakes and dunes, 3-dimensional waves in Saturn’s rings, and curtain-like aurora flickering over Saturn’s north pole.  The Huygens probe landed on the Titan and sent back amazing images of the surface.  Key science highlights and Cassini’s most recent discoveries will be presented.

The 2011 lecture will be on Thursday, Nov. 3rd at 7:00pm in the Rauch Planetarium. The speaker will be Dr. Linda Spilker, a NASA research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA.  She is the head Cassini Project Scientist and a Co-Investigator on the Cassini Composite Infrared Spectrometer team and has worked on Cassini since 1988.  Since joining JPL in 1977 she has worked on the Voyager Project, the Cassini Project and conducted independent research on the origin and evolution of planetary ring systems.  She received her Ph.D. from UCLA in geophysics and space physics.

The Physics & Astronomy Department’s Bullitt Lecture is a free lecture aimed at the general public. Since 2001, the Physics & Astronomy Department’s Bullitt Lecture has presented a distinguished astrophysicist to a Louisville audience in the Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium.

College and high school students, teachers, and many others from the community interested in the impact and excitement that astrophysics has generated have attended Bullitt Lectures in large numbers in the past, and everyone is welcome to this free event!

The Lecture is endowed through a grant from the family of William Marshall Bullitt, the Solicitor General of the United States under President William Howard Taft.

If you would like further information about Dr. Spilker's talk, please email Dr. James Lauroesch: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.