Dr. Richard G Cosentino

Dr. Richard G Cosentino

  • RESEARCH SCIENTIST
  • 301.614.6566
  • NASA/GSFC
  • Mail Code: 690
  • Greenbelt , MD 20771
  • Employer: UNIV OF MARYLAND COLLEGE PARK
  • Brief Bio

    Richard Cosentino is a planetary scientist who studies atmospheric dynamics through a combination of observations, theoretical analysis, and computational modeling. Before starting his PhD, he was an electrical engineer and is fascinated with the intersection of instrumentation development and scientific research. He obtained his PhD from New Mexico Tech located in Socorro NM which is near the Very Large Array. His scientific research interests include the atmospheres of terrestrial worlds like Earth, Mars, and Titan, as well as the gas giant planets of Jupiter and Saturn to explore comparative planetology and extend our knowledge to the ever growing list of exoplanets. He is also interested in new science opportunities with long-wavelength arrays like the VLA, its successor ngVLA and ALMA.

    Research Interests

    Planetary Atmospheres

    Dynamics - Different regions of an atmosphere interact with each other to transport energy and momentum via waves, eddies, and turbulence. Convection is a driver of planetary atmospheric dynamics through the creation of storms that we observe on Earth as hurricanes for example, but how these relate to other systems like the Great Red Spot is still an active area of research. Running sophisticated computer models that include a wide variety of effects over a range of scales is one manner in which we can learn about the similarities and differences of planets in the solar system and beyond.

    Observations - Combining optical wavelength studies with radio, submillmeter and infrared wavelengths allows us to explore different regions of a planet. Understanding how the deeper and upper atmospheres of planets affect each other and how they compare to the more familiar clouds seen at optical wavelengths gives us windows into the complex interactions of cause and effect and how planets redistribute energy horizontally and vertically.


    Engineering Physics

    Instrumentation - The OSIRIS-REx mission's primary goal was to return a sample of the asteroid Bennu to Earth. An optical and infrared wavelength spectrometer aboard the spacecraft called OVIRS was used to characterize the asteroid and potential sample sites. Dr. Cosentino was an OVIRS instrument scientist who was involved with observation planning, instrument health, stability and performance, and contributed to science discoveries such as the hydrated mineralogy of Bennu and the Moon.

    Interferometry - The VLA and ALMA represent arrays at longer wavelengths that yield observatories with incredible resolving power. Their scientific value arises from signal processing techniques that allow many smaller individual telescopes to function as a larger more sensitive astronomical facility. Dr. Cosentino utilizes such telescopes in his research of planetary atmospheres in the solar system, but is also interested in their ability to study other astrophysical phenomena such as transient events like gamma-ray bursts, fast radio bursts, compact object collisions, star formation, and galactic evolution.

    Current Projects

    Episodic Convection in Giant Planets

    The climatological history from observations of Jupiter and Saturn reveal that there are trends in how often and where large-scale storms occur with semi-regularity. Jupiter's low latitude regions periodically erupt with convective activity that change the organization of the clouds and their color on the order of years to decades depending on location. Why such events happen and how they are related to each other is currently a mystery but every so often Jupiter undergoes a "Global Upheaval" where several of these regional convective events all occur simultaneously, dramatically changing the appearance of the planet for several years - one is expected to occur in the recent future. Saturn however has a different record where solitary large convective storms appear to happen every 30 years and is mostly calm at other times. This is in stark contrast with Jupiter.

    Turbulence in Outer Planet Atmospheres

    The major science objectives of the Juno mission include studying and characterizing the deep interior of Jupiter. From this, we will learn about the structure of the interior and how it connects Jupiter's upper cloud layers. The Cassini Grand Finale of its mission had similar science questions to answer. Convection is a mechanism that vertically transports energy from depth upwards to create clouds, waves, gyres, and storms that pump energy into driving global weather patterns. We have made progress in understanding some of these complex physical processes on Jupiter and have started to conduct similar analyses for observations of Saturn, and the ice giant planets Uranus and Neptune. How unique are the Jupiter results and how maybe more importantly how different are the other outer planets?

    OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer)

    The OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) is a NASA asteroid study and sample-return mission. The mission's main goal is to obtain a sample of at least 60 grams (2.1 oz) from 101955 Bennu, a carbonaceous near-Earth asteroid, and return the sample to Earth for a detailed analysis. The material returned is expected to enable scientists to learn more about the formation and evolution of the Solar System, its initial stages of planet formation, and the source of organic compounds that led to the formation of life on Earth. If successful, OSIRIS-REx will be the first U.S. spacecraft to return samples from an asteroid. The Lidar instrument used aboard the OSIRIS-REx was built by Lockheed Martin, in conjunction with the Canadian Space Agency.

    Education

    Ph.D. in Physics, Dissertation in Astrophysics, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology Socorro, NM; February 2017.

    B.S. in Electrical Engineering, State University of New York - Buffalo, Buffalo, NY; February 2005.

    B.S. in Engineering Physics, State University of New York - Buffalo, Buffalo, NY; February 2005.

    Positions/Employment

    4/2019 - Present

    Postdoctoral Research Associate

    University of Maryland Department of Astronomy - CRESST-II, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD
    4/2017 - 4/2017

    NASA Postdoctoral Program - Fellow

    University Space Research Associates (USRA), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD

    Publications

    Refereed

    Cordiner, M. A., E. Garcia-Berrios, R. G. Cosentino, et al. N. A. Teanby, C. E. Newman, C. A. Nixon, A. E. Thelen, and S. B. Charnley. 2020. "Detection of Dynamical Instability in Titan’s Thermospheric Jet." The Astrophysical Journal, 904 (1): L12 [10.3847/2041-8213/abc688]

    Cosentino, R. G., T. Greathouse, A. Simon, et al. R. Giles, R. Morales-Juberías, L. N. Fletcher, and G. Orton. 2020. "The Effects of Waves on the Meridional Thermal Structure of Jupiter’s Stratosphere." The Planetary Science Journal, 1 (3): 63 [10.3847/psj/abbda3]

    Antuñano, A., R. G. Cosentino, L. N. Fletcher, et al. A. A. Simon, T. K. Greathouse, and G. S. Orton. 2020. "Fluctuations in Jupiter’s equatorial stratospheric oscillation." Nature Astronomy, 5: 71 [10.1038/s41550-020-1165-5]

    Giles, R., T. Greathouse, R. Cosentino, G. Orton, and J. Lacy. 2020. "Vertically-resolved observations of Jupiter’s quasi-quadrennial oscillation from 2012 to 2019." Icarus, 350: 113905 [10.1016/j.icarus.2020.113905]

    Simon, A., K. Donaldson Hanna, C. Drouet d’Aubigny, et al. G. Poggiali, J. Emery, J. Brucato, R. Cosentino, D. Reuter, D. Golish, D. DellaGiustina, A. Lunsford, N. Gorius, P. Smith, and D. Lauretta. 2019. "OSIRIS‐REx visible and near‐infrared observations of the Moon." Geophysical Research Letters, 46: 2019GL083341 [10.1029/2019gl083341]

    Cosentino, R. G., A. Simon, and R. Morales‐Juberías. 2019. "Jupiter's Turbulent Power Spectra from Hubble Space Telescope." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 124: 2018JE005762 [10.1029/2018je005762]

    Simon, A. A., D. Reuter, N. J. Gorius, et al. A. W. Lunsford, R. Cosentino, G. Wind, D. Lauretta, and O.-R. Team. 2018. "In-Flight Calibration and Performance of the OSIRIS-REx Visible and IR Spectrometer (OVIRS)." Remote Sensing, 10 (9): 1486 [10.3390/rs10091486]

    Simon, A. A., R. Hueso, P. Iñurrigarro, et al. A. Sánchez-Lavega, R. Morales-Juberías, R. Cosentino, L. N. Fletcher, M. H. Wong, A. I. Hsu, I. D. Pater, G. S. Orton, F. Colas, M. Delcroix, D. Peach, and J.-M. Gómez-Forrellad. 2018. "A New, Long-lived, Jupiter Mesoscale Wave Observed at Visible Wavelengths." The Astronomical Journal, 156 (2): 79 [10.3847/1538-3881/aacaf5]

    Johnson, P. E., R. Morales-Juberías, A. Simon, et al. P. Gaulme, M. H. Wong, and R. G. Cosentino. 2018. "Longitudinal variability in Jupiter's zonal winds derived from multi-wavelength HST observations." Planetary and Space Science, 155: 2-11 [10.1016/j.pss.2018.01.004]

    Simon, A. A., F. Tabataba-Vakili, R. Cosentino, et al. R. F. Beebe, M. H. Wong, and G. S. Orton. 2018. "Historical and Contemporary Trends in the Size, Drift, and Color of Jupiter's Great Red Spot." The Astronomical Journal, 155 (4): 151 [10.3847/1538-3881/aaae01]

    Cosentino, R. G., R. Morales-Juberías, T. Greathouse, et al. G. Orton, P. Johnson, L. N. Fletcher, and A. A. Simon. 2017. "New Observations and Modeling of Jupiter's Quasi-Quadrennial Oscillation." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 122: [10.1002/2017je005342]

    Fletcher, L. N., S. Guerlet, G. S. Orton, et al. R. G. Cosentino, T. Fouchet, P. G. Irwin, L. Li, F. M. Flasar, N. Gorius, and R. Morales-Juberías. 2017. "Disruption of Saturn’s quasi-periodic equatorial oscillation by the great northern storm." Nature Astronomy, 1 (11): 765-770 [10.1038/s41550-017-0271-5]

    Cosentino, R. G., B. Butler, B. Sault, et al. R. Morales-Juberías, A. Simon, and I. de Pater. 2017. "Atmospheric waves and dynamics beneath Jupiter’s clouds from radio wavelength observations." Icarus, 292: 168-181 [10.1016/j.icarus.2017.01.006]

    Tollefson, J., M. H. Wong, I. D. Pater, et al. A. A. Simon, G. S. Orton, J. H. Rogers, S. K. Atreya, R. G. Cosentino, W. Januszewski, R. Morales-Juberías, and P. S. Marcus. 2017. "Changes in Jupiter’s Zonal Wind Profile preceding and during the Juno mission." Icarus, 296: 163-178 [10.1016/j.icarus.2017.06.007]

    Cosentino, R. G., A. A. Simon, R. Morales-Juberias, and K. Sayanagi. 2015. "Observations and Numerical Modeling of the Jovian Ribbon." Astrophys. J. Letters, 810: L10 [10.1088/2041-8205/810/1/L10]

    Morales-Juberias, R., K. Sayanagi, A. A. Simon, L. Fletcher, and R. E. Cosentino. 2015. "Meandering Shallow Atmospheric Jet as a Model of Saturn’s North-Polar Hexagon." Astrophysical Journal Letters, 806: L18 [10.1088/2041-8205/806/1/L18]

    Non-Refereed

    Dahl, E. K., S. Brueshaber, R. G. Cosentino, et al. C. Palotai, N. Rowe-Gurney, R. Sankar, K. Sayanagi, S. Aslam, K. Baines, E. Barth, N. J. Chanover, L. N. Fletcher, S. Guerlet, H. Hammel, M. Hofstadter, A. Hyder, E. Leonard, T. A. Livengood, T. Momary, G. Orton, I. de Pater, K. Retherford, J. Sinclair, K. Soderlund, L. Spilker, L. Sromovsky, and M. H. Wong. 2020. "Ice Giant Atmospheric Science." arXiv arXiv:2010.08617.

    Other Professional Information

    Blog for recent discoveries in behavior of stratospheric oscillations in Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn. https://astronomycommunity.nature.com/posts/monitoring-jupiter-s-atmospheric-heartbeat-over-three-decades?fbclid=IwAR1i7n4agytP8pf4yTZwk00BgPiadgLjFXRU3T3eXnusRFwFc6sNAIA2RcE

    Jupiter Turbulence Study Archive - https://archive.stsci.edu/prepds/jtps/

    Jupiter's QQO Press Release - https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/nasa-solves-how-a-jupiter-jet-stream-shifts-into-reverse

    Great Red Spot Vortex Stretching Press Release - https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2018/jupiters-great-red-spot-getting-taller-as-it-shrinks

    Professional Societies

    American Astronomical Society - Division of Planetary Sciences, 2014 - Present

    Brief Bio

    Richard Cosentino is a planetary scientist who studies atmospheric dynamics through a combination of observations, theoretical analysis, and computational modeling. Before starting his PhD, he was an electrical engineer and is fascinated with the intersection of instrumentation development and scientific research. He obtained his PhD from New Mexico Tech located in Socorro NM which is near the Very Large Array. His scientific research interests include the atmospheres of terrestrial worlds like Earth, Mars, and Titan, as well as the gas giant planets of Jupiter and Saturn to explore comparative planetology and extend our knowledge to the ever growing list of exoplanets. He is also interested in new science opportunities with long-wavelength arrays like the VLA, its successor ngVLA and ALMA.

    Publications

    Refereed

    Cordiner, M. A., E. Garcia-Berrios, R. G. Cosentino, et al. N. A. Teanby, C. E. Newman, C. A. Nixon, A. E. Thelen, and S. B. Charnley. 2020. "Detection of Dynamical Instability in Titan’s Thermospheric Jet." The Astrophysical Journal 904 (1): L12 [10.3847/2041-8213/abc688]

    Cosentino, R. G., T. Greathouse, A. Simon, et al. R. Giles, R. Morales-Juberías, L. N. Fletcher, and G. Orton. 2020. "The Effects of Waves on the Meridional Thermal Structure of Jupiter’s Stratosphere." The Planetary Science Journal 1 (3): 63 [10.3847/psj/abbda3]

    Antuñano, A., R. G. Cosentino, L. N. Fletcher, et al. A. A. Simon, T. K. Greathouse, and G. S. Orton. 2020. "Fluctuations in Jupiter’s equatorial stratospheric oscillation." Nature Astronomy 5 71 [10.1038/s41550-020-1165-5]

    Giles, R., T. Greathouse, R. Cosentino, G. Orton, and J. Lacy. 2020. "Vertically-resolved observations of Jupiter’s quasi-quadrennial oscillation from 2012 to 2019." Icarus 350 113905 [10.1016/j.icarus.2020.113905]

    Simon, A., K. Donaldson Hanna, C. Drouet d’Aubigny, et al. G. Poggiali, J. Emery, J. Brucato, R. Cosentino, D. Reuter, D. Golish, D. DellaGiustina, A. Lunsford, N. Gorius, P. Smith, and D. Lauretta. 2019. "OSIRIS‐REx visible and near‐infrared observations of the Moon." Geophysical Research Letters 46 2019GL083341 [10.1029/2019gl083341]

    Cosentino, R. G., A. Simon, and R. Morales‐Juberías. 2019. "Jupiter's Turbulent Power Spectra from Hubble Space Telescope." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 124 2018JE005762 [10.1029/2018je005762]

    Simon, A. A., D. Reuter, N. J. Gorius, et al. A. W. Lunsford, R. Cosentino, G. Wind, D. Lauretta, and O.-R. Team. 2018. "In-Flight Calibration and Performance of the OSIRIS-REx Visible and IR Spectrometer (OVIRS)." Remote Sensing 10 (9): 1486 [10.3390/rs10091486]

    Simon, A. A., R. Hueso, P. Iñurrigarro, et al. A. Sánchez-Lavega, R. Morales-Juberías, R. Cosentino, L. N. Fletcher, M. H. Wong, A. I. Hsu, I. D. Pater, G. S. Orton, F. Colas, M. Delcroix, D. Peach, and J.-M. Gómez-Forrellad. 2018. "A New, Long-lived, Jupiter Mesoscale Wave Observed at Visible Wavelengths." The Astronomical Journal 156 (2): 79 [10.3847/1538-3881/aacaf5]

    Johnson, P. E., R. Morales-Juberías, A. Simon, et al. P. Gaulme, M. H. Wong, and R. G. Cosentino. 2018. "Longitudinal variability in Jupiter's zonal winds derived from multi-wavelength HST observations." Planetary and Space Science 155 2-11 [10.1016/j.pss.2018.01.004]

    Simon, A. A., F. Tabataba-Vakili, R. Cosentino, et al. R. F. Beebe, M. H. Wong, and G. S. Orton. 2018. "Historical and Contemporary Trends in the Size, Drift, and Color of Jupiter's Great Red Spot." The Astronomical Journal 155 (4): 151 [10.3847/1538-3881/aaae01]

    Cosentino, R. G., R. Morales-Juberías, T. Greathouse, et al. G. Orton, P. Johnson, L. N. Fletcher, and A. A. Simon. 2017. "New Observations and Modeling of Jupiter's Quasi-Quadrennial Oscillation." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 122 [10.1002/2017je005342]

    Fletcher, L. N., S. Guerlet, G. S. Orton, et al. R. G. Cosentino, T. Fouchet, P. G. Irwin, L. Li, F. M. Flasar, N. Gorius, and R. Morales-Juberías. 2017. "Disruption of Saturn’s quasi-periodic equatorial oscillation by the great northern storm." Nature Astronomy 1 (11): 765-770 [10.1038/s41550-017-0271-5]

    Cosentino, R. G., B. Butler, B. Sault, et al. R. Morales-Juberías, A. Simon, and I. de Pater. 2017. "Atmospheric waves and dynamics beneath Jupiter’s clouds from radio wavelength observations." Icarus 292 168-181 [10.1016/j.icarus.2017.01.006]

    Tollefson, J., M. H. Wong, I. D. Pater, et al. A. A. Simon, G. S. Orton, J. H. Rogers, S. K. Atreya, R. G. Cosentino, W. Januszewski, R. Morales-Juberías, and P. S. Marcus. 2017. "Changes in Jupiter’s Zonal Wind Profile preceding and during the Juno mission." Icarus 296 163-178 [10.1016/j.icarus.2017.06.007]

    Cosentino, R. G., A. A. Simon, R. Morales-Juberias, and K. Sayanagi. 2015. "Observations and Numerical Modeling of the Jovian Ribbon." Astrophys. J. Letters 810 L10 [10.1088/2041-8205/810/1/L10]

    Morales-Juberias, R., K. Sayanagi, A. A. Simon, L. Fletcher, and R. E. Cosentino. 2015. "Meandering Shallow Atmospheric Jet as a Model of Saturn’s North-Polar Hexagon." Astrophysical Journal Letters 806 L18 [10.1088/2041-8205/806/1/L18]

    Non-Refereed

    Dahl, E. K., S. Brueshaber, R. G. Cosentino, et al. C. Palotai, N. Rowe-Gurney, R. Sankar, K. Sayanagi, S. Aslam, K. Baines, E. Barth, N. J. Chanover, L. N. Fletcher, S. Guerlet, H. Hammel, M. Hofstadter, A. Hyder, E. Leonard, T. A. Livengood, T. Momary, G. Orton, I. de Pater, K. Retherford, J. Sinclair, K. Soderlund, L. Spilker, L. Sromovsky, and M. H. Wong. 2020. "Ice Giant Atmospheric Science." arXiv arXiv:2010.08617

                                                                                                                                                                                            
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