UK Planetary Atmospheres Meeting 2020

A Royal Astronomical Society Discussion Meeting bringing together Solar System planetary atmospheres researchers from across the UK.

Venue: Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, London.

Date: Friday February 14th 2020; 10:00-15:30


Atmospheric science is a key component of the UK’s planetary science portfolio, enabling global leadership roles in space instrumentation, multi-spectral data analysis (both space- and ground-based), and numerical simulation.

In recent decades, this has provided unique atmospheric science results from astronomical observatories and visiting spacecraft (e.g., Venus Express, Mars Express, ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, Galileo, Cassini, and Juno).  A vibrant community of planetary atmospheres researchers exists in a number of UK institutions, bridging the gap between Earth observation science and exoplanetary astronomy.

This RAS Discussion Meeting will bring together the UK Planetary Atmospheres community to foster future collaborations, permit exchange of knowledge, and to provide timely updates on the cutting edge research in this field.  We aim to propose this as an annual meeting to improve the organisation and visibility of this key research area in the UK, with report summaries made available to STFC and UKSA advisory structures via a website.

A UK community meeting is timely given: (i) upcoming atmospheric research opportunities from JWST and ELT in the 2020s; (ii) the ongoing development of the ESA/JUICE science strategy; (iii) capitalising on data being provided by missions including ExoMars/TGO and Juno; (iv) preparing for the ESA/Roscosmos ExoMars2020 Rover and landing platform, which features atmospheric instruments and represents a big UK investment; and (v) paving the way for future atmospheric science investigations on Venus and Ice Giant missions.  Developing a UK atmospheric science strategy could also feed into ESA’s 2035-2050 “Voyage” survey (the replacement for the Cosmic Vision), the US Planetary Decadal Survey (~2021), and future mission calls.

Agenda Overview:

The structure of the RAS discussion meeting is as follows:

  • 10:00 - 10:30 Arrival; Tea/Coffee in the Library; Poster Viewing Session
  • 10:30 - 13:00 Session I:  Outer Solar System
  • 13:00 - 14:00 Lunch (Not Provided); Poster Viewing Session
  • 14:00 - 15:30 Session II:  Inner Solar System
  • 15:30 - 16:00 Tea at the Geological Society
  • 16:00 - 18:00 RAS Monthly A&G (Ordinary) Meeting



  • Admission:  Fees are levied on non-members attending RAS Specialist Discussion Meetings. Fees will be collected, on the door, by RAS staff. They will be waived for meeting organizers, RAS invited and sponsored speakers, members of the Geological Society ('G' meetings only) and in other special circumstances (e.g., for members of other societies attending jointly sponsored meetings). Admission charges are  £15 (£5 for students (with student ID);  note that students can join the RAS for only £5). Monthly A&G (Ordinary) meetings remain free to all.
  • Lunch:  The RAS cannot provide lunch, but many eateries can be found locally in Piccadilly.  You are welcome to bring food back to the RAS to eat in the library during the poster viewing session.
  • Presentations:  With the exception of our invited speakers, talks have a 12-minute slot.  We recommend you speak for no more than 10 minutes, allowing two minutes for Q&A and changeover.  Talks in 16:9 or 4:3 are both acceptable.  Where possible, please prepare your presentation to display from the RAS computer (Windows, with Powerpoint), and bring on a memory stick to the session chair prior to your session (i.e., before 10:30 for morning speakers; before 14:00 for afternoon speakers).
  • Posters:  Posters can be prepared in portrait and A0 size, and mounted at the start of the day in the Library.  These can be viewed over tea/coffee as people are arriving (10:00-10:30), and also over lunch (13:00-14:00).  Lunch is not provided, but people typically go to local eateries and bring food back with them to each in the Library whilst viewing posters.  Poster viewing will not be possible during the (final) afternoon tea session, 15:30-16:00.  We have allocated 20 minutes during the morning session for poster presenters to introduce their topics with a single slide in 60 seconds.
  • RAS Ordinary Meeting:  All participants (whether Fellows of the RAS or not) are welcome to attend the free Monthly A&G (Ordinary) Meeting (16:00-18:00), at which topics are presented at a level suitable for a more general audience.


Invited Speakers:

We are pleased to host two international speakers at this first UK Planetary Atmospheres Meeting:

1.  Professor Olivier Mousis (Laboratory of Astrophysics of Marseille) to discuss planetary entry probes and their importance for understanding the origins of the Giant Planets.

2. Dr Aymeric Spiga (Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique) to discuss the Martian Atmosphere and recent discoveries from Insight.



Programme available here as a PDF.

Abstract Booklet available here.

Session I: Outer Solar System (Chair: Naomi Rowe-Gurney)

10:30-10:35 Welcome to the UKSSPA Meeting- Leigh N. Fletcher (University of Leicester)

10:35-11:00 [Invited] In situ Exploration of Giant Planet Atmospheres - Olivier Mousis (Laboratory of Astrophysics of Marseille)

11:00-11:12 Cosmic ray ionization of Ice Giant atmospheres- Karen Aplin (University of Bristol)

11:12-11:24 The role of deep jets in bringing order to Jupiter’s polar regions- Stephen Thomson (University of Exeter)

11:24-11:36 Synergy between Juno and amateur observations of Jupiter: The Great Red Spot as an example - John Rogers (British Astronomical Association)

11:36-11:48 Temperature and aerosol variability during Jupiter's 2006-07 Equatorial Zone Disturbance - Arrate Antunano (University of Leicester)

11:48-12:00 Exploring clouds and composition of Ice Giants in the visible/near-IR - Patrick Irwin (University of Oxford)

12:00-12:12 Investigating the Ice Giants with James Webb Space Telescope during GTO - Naomi Rowe-Gurney (University of Leicester)

12:12-12:24 Characterization of the vertical distribution of C2N2 in Titan’s stratosphere - Melody Sylvestre (University of Bristol)

12:24-12:40 Poster Presentations (60s each, single slide) - Sub-Chair:  Leigh Fletcher

12:40-13:00 [Invited] Exploring Planetary Atmospheres: A Retrospective - Fred W. Taylor (University of Oxford)


Session II:  Inner Solar System (Chair:  Arrate Antunano)

14:00-14:26 [Invited] Observing the atmosphere of Mars with the InSight lander - Aymeric Spiga (Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique)

14:26-14:38 The dynamics of Mars's annular polar vortices - William Seviour (University of Bristol)

14:38-14:50 Assimilation of Mars Satellite Observations with a Mars GCM - James Holmes (Open University)

14:50-15:02 On the Photochemistry of Methane and Ethane in the Martian Atmosphere: Towards Indirect Detection of Methane Emissions - Ben Taysum (University of Edinburgh)

15:02-15:14 Ares - An atmospheric retrieval system for the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter - George Cann (University College London)

15:14-15:26 The ACS investigation of the Martian atmosphere after 1.5 years in operation - Kevin Olsen (University of Oxford)

15:26-15:30 Closing Remarks


Poster Presentations:

1. Juan Alday (University of Oxford) - Atmospheric science using PanCam, ISEM and FAST on the ExoMars 2020 Rover and Surface Platform

2. Jason Sharkey (University of Bristol) - Structure and dynamical evolution of Titan’s northern polar vortex

3. Narissa Patel (Open University) - Distribution of Subsurface Carbon Dioxide Ice at Different Obliquities

4. Paul Streeter (Open University) - Martian Polar Vortex Dynamics and the 2018 Global Dust Storm

5. Nicholas Heavens (Space Science Institute) - A Multiannual Record of Gravity Wave Activity in Mars's Lower Atmosphere from On-Planet Observations by the Mars Climate Sounder

6. Lori-Ann Foley (Open University) - Climate change and the water cycle on Mars

7. Amethyst Johnson (University of Manchester) - Modelling aerosol charging in the lower atmosphere of Venus

8. James Blake (University of Leicester) - Saturn’s Seasonal Atmosphere: Cassini CIRS contrasts to VLT and IRTF observations

9. Jan Vatant D'Ollone (University of Leicester) - Radiative modelling of the Ice Giant atmospheres – A first step toward Global Circulation Models

10. Alexandru Valeanu (University of Oxford) - From spacecraft data to rover measurements – Martian atmospheric modelling and observations

11. Gregory Colyer (University of Oxford) - Semi-grey radiative modelling of Jupiter's atmosphere and clouds

12. Kevin Douglas (University of Leeds) - Meteor Ablated Phosphorus as a Source of Bioavailable P to the Terrestrial Planets


Meeting Contributions:

We invite abstracts for oral presentations (and posters to be displayed during lunch and tea) from the UK planetary atmospheres community, showcasing the breadth of planetary research in our Solar System.

Please send your contribution (limited to 250 words) to the meeting organiser ( before January 31st 2020.


Science Organising Committee:

  • Leigh N. Fletcher (University of Leicester)
  • Nick Teanby (University of Bristol)
  • Colin Wilson, Patrick Irwin, Peter Read (University of Oxford)
  • Manish Patel, Stephen Lewis (Open University)

Share this page:


No current announcements.

Mars Science Laboratory Blog

Find out the latest news about Mars Science Laboratory in Professor John Bridges' Mars Science Laboratory Blog.