Imke de Prater

Imke de Pater

Professor of Astronomy and of Earth and Planetary Science
Dept of Astronomy
Dept of Earth and Planetary Science
(510) 643-7673
(510) 642-3411
Research Expertise and Interest
radio, planetary science, infrared, observations
Research Description

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

June 20, 2019

Astronomers see “warm” glow of Uranus’s rings

The rings of Uranus are invisible to all but the largest telescopes — they weren’t even discovered until 1977 — but they’re surprisingly bright in new heat images of the planet taken by two large telescopes in the high deserts of Chile.
August 28, 2018

Looking for water in Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

Scientists have for the first time detected water clouds deep inside Jupiter’s Great Red Spot – a centuries-old storm larger than planet Earth – allowing them to put tighter limits on the total amount of water in the planet.
May 10, 2017

Waves of lava seen in Io’s largest volcanic crater

Taking advantage of a rare orbital alignment between two of Jupiter’s moons, Io and Europa, researchers have obtained an exceptionally detailed map of the largest lava lake on Io, the most volcanically active body in the solar system.
June 23, 2016

‘Dark vortex’ confirmed on Neptune

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.

October 17, 2012

Keck observations reveal complex face of Uranus

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.

February 22, 2011

How Kleopatra got its moons

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.

November 24, 2010

Jupiter gets its stripe back

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.

September 10, 2010

Amateur astronomers track asteroids as they impact Jupiter

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.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of the campus.
August 31, 2018
Mark Prigg

A team of scientists including astronomy professor Imke de Pater has discovered water clouds deep inside the Great Red Spot -- a centuries-old storm -- on Jupiter. The finding offers new insight into how Jupiter evolved, and suggests that the planet may have moved to its present location, raising new questions about the solar system. "Based upon all the exoplanets now known, it appears as if planets may form at a different place and then migrate in and/or out to where we see them today," Professor de Pater says. "So what happened in our solar system? Did Jupiter form beyond where Neptune is today?" For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News. Stories on this topic appeared in dozens of sources, including MSN Australia, Innovations Report (Germany), Iran Daily, This is Money (UK), Inquisitr, and WT News.