Meeting Information

The Origin of Titan and Hyperion

October 21, 2015
American Center for Physics
College Park, MD

Beware of Doug cartoonDate: Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Speaker: Dr. Douglas Hamilton, Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Topic: The Origin of Titan and Hyperion

Time and Location: 1:00 PM, with Q&A to follow; in a 1st floor conference room at the American Center for Physics (, 1 Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD - off River Rd., between Kenilworth Ave. and Paint Branch Parkway.

Abstract: Titan is arguably the Solar System's most unusual satellite. It is fifty times more massive than Saturn's other moons and is the only satellite with a substantial atmosphere. Titan shares a unique resonance with nearby Hyperion, but otherwise sits in a particularly large gap between Rhea and Iapetus. Titan has the largest eccentricity of all Saturn's regular satellites and has a reasonably large orbital tilt; its distant neighbor Iapetus has an even more impressive eight degree free inclination. Hyperion itself is a mystery, with its unusual orbit, extremely low density and its unique surface covered with bizarre craters. None of these peculiarities are even partially understood. Until now!

Biography: Doug Hamilton earned his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1993. After two years as a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg, Germany, Doug accepted an Assistant Professor position in the Astronomy Department at the University of Maryland in 1995. He advanced through the ranks and is currently a full Professor. Doug was awarded the Urey Prize of the Division for Planetary Science in 1999, the University of Maryland Board of Regents Prize for scholarship in 2009, and a number of teaching awards over the past decade. Doug’s research focuses on the origin and evolution of the Solar System, particularly on the intricate orbital dynamics of moons and rings. Doug is co-discoverer of the large Phoebe ring of Saturn in 2009 and the Pluto’s 4th moon Kerberor in 2011.