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Afternoon Astronomy Coffee Hangout 27 July

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 13:47

"Mercury: Bombarded by many tiny meteoroids?"

It has been known for a long time that Mercury, the innermost planet in the solar system does not have much of an atmosphere. This variable “exosphere” around Mercury has been detected several times and appears to contain numerous interesting chemical elements besides hydrogen. Chemicals such as potassium, sodium, and oxygen have also been measured. Besides that, there is seasonal variation in the dust/meteoroid environment of Mercury, too. The arrival rate of dust varies with position, and sometimes has a dawn–dusk asymmetry. But why? Where is the material in Mercury’s exosphere coming from? Is it from the surface or the blast from the solar wind? A new analysis of comets suggests that these are the origin of some features in Mercury’s exosphere.

Join regular hosts Tony Darnell and Carol Christian on Thursday, 27 July, at 3:00 pm ET as they chat with Menelaos Sarantos and Diego Janches (both of Goddard Space Flight Center) about their study of this fascinating planet in collaboration with lead author Petr Pokorný (Catholic University and GSFC). The best place to hangout with us will be on YouTube, broadcast on the Deep Astronomy Channel. The direct link to view this hangout will also be posted on the Deep Astronomy Facebook page. During the hangout, you can take part in the live chat and join the conversation on Twitter with #AstroCoffee. An archive of previous hangouts in this series may be found in the Deep Astronomy YouTube playlist.

Afternoon Astronomy Coffee

What Are "Afternoon Astronomy Coffee" and "Future in Space" Hangouts?

"Future In Space” and "Afternoon Astronomy Coffee" Hangouts are part of a weekly series, held every Thursday, that also includes a segment called "Footsteps to Mars." We bring the the latest research in astronomy, highlights from the future of space astronomy and astronautics planning, as well as updates on the exploration of Mars to you every week via Hangouts on Air. With the sponsorship of both the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and the American Astronautical Society (the other AAS), our hosts Tony Darnell, Carol Christian, Alberto Conti, and Harley Thronson examine today's breakthroughs in research and peer into the unfolding possibilities of what we may learn about the universe and Mars exploration. We join with members of the American Astronomical Society to chat, in an informal online setting modeled after "science coffee" events held in universities and research organizations across the country. We will examine what we hope to learn about exoplanets, black holes, the early universe, quasars, and life in the universe along with what technologies might help us — and reflect upon the scientific endeavors occurring today that uncover amazing astrophysics and lay the groundwork for studies to come.

We will also explore the technology and engineering used today as well as possibilities for future space travel and research with members of both societies, and probe what our future in space may look like and how we might get there. We will examine the underlying technologies of space telescopes, orbiters, landers, and human space vehicles now and in the years to come. We will delve into topics that help us understand the possibilities and limitations of human space flight and eventual human colonization of other worlds.

We hope you can join us each month as we bring experts from both societies — people who think about and plan for our future in space — to your computer, tablet, or smartphone. We invite you to bring your questions and comments and get ready to learn about the amazing possibilities for the future of space astronomy and exploration.

Carol A. Christian
Astronomer
STScI and CEM
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