Vatican Observatory’s Guy Consolmagno to Present a Seminar “Is Vesta an Intact Protoplanet? (Probably not!)” Feb 20th at the ASL

Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ, President of the Vatican Observatory Foundation and an astronomer and meteoriticist at the Vatican Observatory, will present a seminar, “Is Vesta an Intact Protoplanet? (Probably not!)”​, at the SP on February 20th as part of the ASL and Ames Bio and Syn Bio Talks Seminar Series. The event will be held in Building N239, Room B39 from 12:00-1:00pm.

Refreshments will be provided and you are welcome to bring your lunch.

Dr. Consolmagno’s brief bio and an abstract of his talk follow below. Questions about this event can be directed to the POC, Peter Minogue.


Asteroid Vesta has been identified as the likely source of howardite, eucrite, and diogenite (HED) basaltic achondrite meteorites, whose parent body differentiated within 3 million years after the condensation of CAIs. The HED parent body should have been present during any large-scale planetary migration episodes, as proposed by the Nice models and the “Grand Tack” scenario. Assuming Vesta was an intact planetesimal, it should have provided a record of that period. However, the Dawn mission results for Vesta’s mass, volume, density, surface and core size cannot be fit with cosmic abundances of major rock forming elements. We conclude that Vesta is a radically altered, chemically stripped and possibly reaccreted body.

About the Speaker:

Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ, President of the Vatican Observatory Foundation, is an astronomer and meteoriticist at the Vatican Observatory. A native of Detroit, he earned undergraduate and masters’ degrees from MIT and a Ph. D. in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona, was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard and MIT, served in the US Peace Corps (Kenya), and taught university physics at Lafayette College before entering the Jesuits in 1989.

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