Frontiers Lecture: Volcanic Worlds

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Mountain-like volcano protrudes from the surface of Venus. Maat Mons towers above the surface of Venus at about 8 kilometers high (5 miles). The Venusian volcano is named for the Egyptian goddess of truth and justice. 
Courtesy of NASA/JPL
Why is Earth’s sibling planet, Venus, not our twin?   

The surface of Earth is the most hospitable place in the solar system. But the surface of Venus is hot enough to melt lead. How can two planets of similar size, orbiting the same star, and of the same age, comparable amount of radiation, and composition end up vastly different? Might there have been a time in the past when Venus was more Earth-like? Could Earth one day turn into a second Venus?  

Volcanism sets the stage for these foundational investigations in planetary science. Planetary geologists glean insights about the volcanic character of a planet—and how volcanism has shaped its surface and climate— with remotely sensed data, laboratory and numerical modeling, and studies of similar field sites on Earth.  

Join Paul Byrne, associate professor of planetary science at North Carolina State University, to explore how volcanoes can make or break a planet's climate, how they may have contributed to turning Venus from an Earth-like world to the forbidding environment it is today, and whether the same fate might one day befall the planet we call home. 

This program includes live flights in the OpenSpace visualization platform, piloted by planetary scientist Marina Gemma

How to Watch

A link to view the program will be included with your ticket purchase confirmation email.

This program will be presented on Zoom. Please install Zoom in advance to ensure you don’t miss any of the program. You can download Zoom by clicking here or by downloading for your mobile device or tablet from the App Store or Google Play.

Meet the Presenter

Paul Byrne is an assistant professor in the Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences at North Caroline State University and a Faculty Fellow with the Center for Geospatial Analytics. As a planetary geologist, Byrne is interested in how and why planets look the way they do and seeks to understand how volcanic, tectonic, and impact processes have shaped planetary surfaces. At NC State, he has established the Planetary Research Group to explore what our world can tell us of other planetary bodies—and vice versa.

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Support for Hayden Planetarium Programs is provided by the Horace W. Goldsmith Endowment Fund.