MSSL Planetary Science News
- Mars Advanced Summer School, China
- New Planetary Group Website Launched
- Cassini CAPS Team Meeting: Glacier National Park, Montana
- Workshop on future observations and study of Uranus
- Joint meeting of the European Planetology Network and Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society in Nantes, France
- 4th ExoMars Science Working Team Meeting, ESTEC, The Netherlands
- ScienceWatch interview with Prof. Andrew Coates
- Dr. Adam Masters wins the Robert Boyd Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement
- Planetary Group attends the 2011 Fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco
- Dione's thin oxygen exosphere
- Dr. Gethyn Lewis attends a meeting of the Spacecraft Plasma Interaction Network
- Planetary group attends the RAS National Astronomy Meeting in Manchester
- Comet studies in the planetary group catch media attention at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting
- Planetary group scientists attend Cassini Magnetospheric and Plasma Science Meeting
- Selection of JUICE mission to Jupiter and Ganymede by ESA
- Planetary science group hosts Cassini CAPS Team Meeting 43
- Dr. Chris Arridge awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship
- Rover Trial
- Research Images Competition
- Kimberley Birkett awarded 2013 Outstanding Student Paper Award (OSPA) at the AGU Fall Meeting
- ExoMars landing sites narrowed down – and PanCam appears on BBC News
Kimberley Birkett awarded 2013 Outstanding Student Paper Award (OSPA) at the AGU Fall Meeting
17 January 2014
- Congratulations to PhD student Kimberley Birkett, who won the prestigious award for her poster ‘Modelling Cometary Sodium Tails’ at the AGU Fall Meeting 2013.
The American Geophysicial Union (AGU)'s Outstanding Student Paper Awards (OSPAs) are awarded to promote,
recognize and reward undergraduate, Master’s and PhD students for
quality research in the geophysical sciences. It is a great honour for
young scientists at the beginning of their careers.
Kimberley says "Attending the AGU Fall Meeting was a great experience. I am very pleased that my enthusiasm for my subject came across whilst presenting my work and has been recognised by this award."
The poster that Kimberley presented at December's AGU Fall meeting in San Francisco discussed her work on the neutral sodium tails of comets. Neutral sodium tails are a third type of comet tail, distinct from the dust and ion tails usually observed, and their sources are not fully understood.
Kimberley adds "My work looks at constructing a computational model to explain the physics behind the formation of neutral sodium tails at comets and is the first to investigate the effect of the comet’s orbital motion on the structures seen in neutral sodium tails. If we can understand the processes responsible for generating these structures it should allow insight into key mechanisms that are occurring within the cometary environment and, as comets are the remnants of solar system formation, this in turn should help us to understand more about the conditions in the early solar system that resulted in a planet like the Earth."
She initally applied her model to measurements of the sodium tail of comet C/1996 O1 (Hale-Bopp) but with the excitement surrounding comet C/2012 S1 (ISON), she also adapted her model to predict what comet ISON’s sodium tail would look like. Unfortunately ISON did not survive its close approach to the Sun, but sodium was observed at the comet before it was destroyed and the results will be compared to her simulation results.
Kimberley now has her own personalised page on the AGU website where more information about her work can be found and her winning poster can be viewed.
Page last modified on 16 jan 14 15:20