July 1, 2010

‘Summer Science Camp’ Chat: Our Solar System REALLY Gets Around

The sun is the largest and most important object in our solar system, containing 99.8% of the solar system's mass, or quantity of matter. Among that remaining 0.2% are hot planets, icy moons, asteroid belts, chunks of rock, rings of ice, and over 100 worlds -- including our Earth. The "space" in between is a mesmerizing mix of the push-and-pull of gravity, solar winds, particle radiation, and magnetospheres. Not bad for a mere 0.2%!

On Thursday, July 1, scientist Jonathan Cirtain from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center will answer your questions about our fascinating solar system. Joining the chat is easy. Simply visit this page on Thursday, July 1 from 3-4 p.m. EDT. The chat window will open at the bottom of this page starting at 2:30 p.m. EDT. You can log in and be ready to ask questions at 3:00.

See you in chat!

More About Chat Expert Jonathan Cirtain

Dr. Cirtain is an expert in Heliophysics and is the Hinode project scientist as well as the co-investigator on Hinode's onboard X-Ray Telescope. He also has served on the science team for the Atmospheric Imaging Array, an instrument on the recently launched Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite. Dr. Cirtain also has conducted several sounding rocket experiments to test new solar telescope technologies.

He graduated from the University of Memphis in May 2001 with bachelor's degrees in both physics and mathematics. He received a doctorate in physics from Montana State University in 2005, where he was a NASA GSRP fellow and a Harvard pre-doctoral fellow. He has 31 refereed papers, including 10 first-author journal articles.

Dr. Cirtain is an avid swimmer and runner and loves golf. His favorite pastime, however, is spending time with his daughter, Emily.


Image Caption: Artist's concept of Pluto and its moon Charon. (NASA)