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Astrophysics Luncheon Seminar

Why Jupiter Spins Fast But Not Super Fast
Presented by Konstantin Batygin
California Institute of Technology

Monday, June 25, 2018
12:00 noon in 169-336

Abstract
Within the general framework of the core-nucleated accretion theory of giant planet formation, the conglomeration of massive gaseous envelopes is facilitated by a transient period of rapid accumulation of nebular material. While the concurrent build-up of angular momentum is expected to leave newly formed planets spinning at near-breakup velocities, Jupiter and Saturn, as well as super-Jovian long-period extrasolar planets, are observed to rotate well below criticality. In this talk, I will argue that the large luminosity of a young giant planet simultaneously leads to the generation of a strong planetary magnetic field, as well as thermal ionization of the circumplanetary disk. The ensuing magnetic coupling between the planetary interior and the quasi-Keplerian motion of the disk results in efficient braking of planetary rotation, with hydrodynamic circulation of gas within the Hill sphere playing the key role of expelling spin angular momentum to the circumstellar nebula. These results place early-stage giant planet and stellar rotation within the same evolutionary framework.

JPL Contact: Trevor David (4-9981)

About the Speaker
Forbes named professor Konstantin Batygin the "next physics rock star" in its 2015 list of "30 Under 30: Young Scientists Who Are Changing the World." He received his bachelor's degree in physics from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2008, before pursuing graduate studies at the California Institute of Technology. To date, Batygin has authored over fifty scientific publications, and his research has been featured on the pages of Nature as well as the front cover of Scientific American. Prior to joining the faculty at the California Institute of Technology in 2014, Batygin was a visiting scientist at Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur in Nice, France, and an ITC postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. When not doing science, he moonlights as the lead singer in the rock band The Seventh Season.


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