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First Friday Astronomy Lecture: Sand Dunes on Pluto

Join Boise State Physics at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, in the Science Building, Room 112 for the First Friday lecture series hosted by the Department of Physics.

Professor Jani Radebaugh from Brigham Young University Geological Sciences will speak on “Sand Dunes on Pluto: Seeing the familiar on an alien landscape.”

In 2015, the New Horizons mission flew past Pluto, revealing a landscape both familiar and foreign, with mountains, glaciers, and even sand dunes. Given Pluto’s tissue-thin atmosphere, the presence of such wind-driven geological features was a complete surprise. Radebaugh, a planetery geologist, will explain the nature and significance of dune formation on the most distant world ever visited by spacecraft.

Weather permitting, stargazing will take place at the on-campus observatory after the talk at 8:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

More about Radebaugh:

As a planetary scientist, Radebaugh studies the Earth and other planets throughout the solar system with a focus on Saturn’s moon Titan, Jupiter’s moon Io, and Earth’s own Moon. To better understand geological features across the solar system, her research group travels to unique locations on the Earth that serve as analogues for other planets including megadunes in the Sahara, Arabia and Namibia and lava lakes and lava flows in Hawaii, Ethiopia and Vanuatu.