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Professor Tom Stallard Inaugural Lecture

Lecture Theatre 001


The Northern Lights shining over Great Planets

 Inaugural Lecture: Professor Tom Stallard, Northumbria University

In the cold arctic nights, you might be lucky enough to look up at the sky and see the faint green glow of the Northern Lights, aurorae created by the interactions between the Earth’s magnetic field and the Sun’s Solar Wind. But using spacecraft around these planets and some of the largest telescopes in the world, Professor Tom Stallard's work looks out at the Giant Planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) and reveals a wide range of different aurora at these planets. Some appear like the aurora of Earth, but others are powered by volcanic moons, or even weather within the planet itself.

In a fascinating inaugural lecture, Professor Stallard will discuss some of the most exciting observations and what he and fellow researchers hope to see from the James Webb Telescope.

About the Speaker

Professor Tom Stallard is a professor in the department of Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering at Northumbria University. Prior to joining Northumbria in 2022, Professor Stallard was an Associate Professor and an RCUK Fellow at the University of Leicester. An expert in Planetary Sciences, he completed his PhD in Planetary Astronomy in 2001, studying the aurora of Jupiter using ground-based telescopes.

Professor Stallard's research focuses on the delicate interactions observed within the thin and transient layer at the top of giant planet atmospheres - and how this layer is wrought and wrung by two enormous and powerful systems - the underlying atmosphere and the surround magnetic environment. Each of these two systems pushes and pulls at the ionosphere resulting in a complex interaction where each fight for dominance. His observations reveal this layer and, from the twisted interactions he and his colleagues measure, they are beginning to understand how forces are driven from above and beneath - and how this energy exchanges and then flows back up and down into these surrounding regions.

His recent publications include:

What the Upper Atmospheres of Giant Planets Reveal, O’Donoghue, J., Stallard, T. 14 Dec 2022, In: Remote Sensing

Magnetic Reconnection Near the Planet as a Possible Driver of Jupiter’s Mysterious Polar Auroras, Masters, A., Dunn, W., Stallard, T., Manners, H., Stawarz, J. Aug 2021, In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics


This lecture will take place on campus, in Lecture Theatre 002, Business & Law Building, City Campus East (full address at the bottom of the page). Refreshments will be served from 12.30pm outside of the lecture theatre. The lecture will also be available to stream online - please register for the event and a link will be sent to you to access the live stream.

To register for this free lecture, please fill in the form below.


Event Details

Lecture Theatre 001
Ellison Building, Northumbria University
City Campus
Newcastle upon Tyne


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