2019-2020 Science Planning Summaries
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2019-2020 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Probing satellite interiors with long-duration photometric observations

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A-368-S Research Location(s): Near the SuperDARN Facility


Event Number:
NSF / AFOSR Interagency Agreement

Program Manager:
Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili

ASC POC/Implementer:
Paul Sullivan / Leah Street

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Thomas Ryan Swindle
United States Air Force
Office of Scientific Research
Makawao, Hawaii


Supporting Stations: South Pole Station
Research Locations: Near the SuperDARN Facility


This project will investigate the internal structure of the planets Jupiter and Saturn to discriminate between competing models for their formation, and subsequently advance understanding of solar-system evolution. The principal investigator will use the Lightweight Antarctic Day and Night Imaging Telescope (LANDIT) to provide the first unambiguous identification or normal modes of oscillation of Jupiter and Saturn, providing a probe into their deep internal structure and rotation profiles.

Field Season Overview

Team members will arrive at South Pole shortly after station opening and reside there for approximately 12 weeks. In the first two months, they will focus on assembling, aligning, and troubleshooting the LANDIT, its dual-instrumentation, and its thermal subsystem. During the third month, they will focus on calibrating and characterizing the instruments in preparation for uninterrupted observations of Jupiter during the austral winter. At the end of the season, they will pack and ship all equipment back to the PI's home institution.

Deploying Team Members

  • Stuart Jefferies
  • Neil Murphy
  • Michael Nayak (Co-PI)
  • Cody Shaw
  • Christopher Shurilla
  • Thomas Swindle (PI)