Professor de Pater's research interests include: infrared observations using adaptive optics of, e.g., Io, Titan, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, and planetary rings; radio observations of the giant planets' atmospheres and Jupiter's magnetosphere; comets; TAOS, the Taiwan American Occultation Survey of Kuiper Belt objects in the outer Solar System.
In the News
Two UC Berkeley astronomers are eagerly awaiting the spring 2019 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, having be
New images obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope confirm the presence of a “dark vortex” in the atmosphere of Neptune, a rare type of feature that can persist for years.
Astronomers using the upgraded Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array in New Mexico have produced the most detailed radio map yet of the atmosphere of Jupiter.
The normally bland face of Uranus has become increasingly stormy, with enormous cloud systems so bright that for the first time ever, amateur astronomers are able to see details in the planet’s hazy blue-green atmosphere.
The planet Uranus, known since Voyager’s 1986 flyby as a bland, featureless blue-green orb, is beginning to show its face. By using a new technique with the telescopes of the Keck Observatory, astronomers have created the most richly detailed, highest-resolution images ever taken of the giant ice planet.
The asteroid Kleopatra was first seen as a bright dot in the asteroid belt in 1880, but only in 2000 was it found to have a highly elongated, dogbone shape. UC Berkeley and French astronomers have now found two moons orbiting the asteroid, newly named Alexhelios and Cleoselene after the twins of Queen Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony.
Astronomers using three telescopes atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii have recorded the return of a unique belt on Jupiter that periodically fades from dark brown to white. It's most recent fade-out started earlier this year, but November observations show the brown returning. It appears that reflected sunlight off high elevation clouds of ammonia ice have been blocking our view of the darker clouds below.
In 1994, amateur astronomers discovered the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 that made a dramatic impact on the planet Jupiter. They have found three small asteroid impacts on the planet since then — the most recent in August — providing helpful information for astronomers trying to assess the danger from near-Earth asteroids.