Episode 22: Magnetism: Probing Planets and Searching for Life, with Sabine Stanley

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Feature Guest: Sabine Stanley

sabinestanleyProfessor Sabine Stanley joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot to discuss everything to do with magnetic fields: how they’re created, where they can be found, and what they tell us about the composition and behaviour of planets. Why does Mercury have a magnetic field when we originally predicted it shouldn’t? Why does Saturn’s magnetic field line up so perfectly with its geographic poles? What makes the magnetic field of Mars so different in its northern and southern hemispheres?

The two then focus on Earth’s magnetic field which is known to flip north and south poles throughout its history. Why do flips happen? Why do they occur at seemingly irregular intervals? Are they dangerous to life? Dr. Stanley shares her excitement for how using mangetic fields as another tool in searching for habitable exoplanets. Finally the two discuss upcoming missions to study the magnetic fields of objects in our solar system, such as the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) which will use mgnetic field information to tell us more about the oceans under Europa’s ice sheets.

About Sabine Stanley

Sabine Stanley is Associate Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Toronto, having received a PhD in geophysics from Harvard University. She has been awarded a Canada Research Chair in Planetary Physics, a Sloan Research Fellowship, and the Early Researcher Award from the Ministry of Research and Innovation of the Province of Ontario.

Current in Space

On Current in Space, Mallory Warren join Justin Trottier to relate developments in the privatization of space, from space tourism to mineral and resource extraction. Plus, astronaut Chris Hadfield becomes a superstar from 380km above our heads.


Sabine Stanley University of Toronto website

Professor Sabine Stanley wins Ontario Early Research Award

Science and Technology for Canadians (Government of Canada)

Talk: “Planetary Dynamos: Investigations of Saturn and Ancient Mars”

Planetary Magnetism: Unlocking the Secrets of Planetary Interiors (Search for November 25, 2012 talk) 

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to starspotpodcast@gmail.com

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