March 09, 2010


By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Phil Marcus will give the talk, "Climate Change on Jupiter," on Monday, March 22, at 7:30 p.m. in the Gallery Theatre of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Isaac J. Tressler Fund for Astronomy and the Bucknell Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Weather permitting, the lecture will be followed by observation of the night sky at the Bucknell Observatory, using the newly refurbished and updated 123-year-old Clark refracting telescope and several modern reflecting telescopes.

Great Red Spot and an abrupt change
Marcus will discuss the changing weather patterns on the solar system's largest planet. In his talk, he will describe the science behind Jupiter's dynamic weather and why the planet's clouds are organized into brightly colored bands and swirls. He will focus on Jupiter's most prominent feature, the Great Red Spot, and a new giant spot that has only recently appeared.

"In 2002, Marcus famously predicted an abrupt change in Jupiter's weather patterns -- patterns that had been stable for 350 years," said Ned Ladd, professor of physics and astronomy at Bucknell. "That change occurred in late 2005, confirming his theories and establishing him as one of the foremost authorities on planetary atmospheres.

Marcus is a professor of fluid mechanics in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. "He studies the effects of turbulent vortices in many environments, ranging from cold clouds in interstellar space, to the planetary atmospheres of our solar system's giant planets, to our own oceans," Ladd said.

The Bucknell Observatory is located on the southern end of the Bucknell campus, just south of the Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. Ample parking is available. Call 570-577-1207 for more information.

Contact: Division of Communications

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