Fall 2010:

Nov. 12, '10 "Orbits and Ice Ages", Dr. Dan Britt, Associate Professor of Astronomy and Planetary Science, Department of Physics, The University of Central Florida.


Over the past 500,000 years four major ice advances have been triggered by variations in the Earth's orbit that affect the amount of sunlight reaching the high northern latitudes. The climate during the ice ages was dramatically different than today's. Glacial ice was a mile thick over New York's Central Park. During the winter, sea ice was continuous as far south as Cape Hatteras. How the Earth's orbit affects climate is part of the story of the history (and future) of the Earth's climate and how our current climate fits into the picture of warming and greenhouse gas buildup.

Dr. Daniel Britt
Associate Professor of Astronomy and Planetary Sciences
Department of Physics
University of Central Florida

Dr. Daniel Britt is a Associate Professor of Astronomy and Planetary Sciences at the Department of Physics, University of Central Florida.

He was educated at the University of Washington and Brown University, receiving a Ph.D. from Brown in 1991. He has had a varied career including service in the US Air Force as an ICBM missile launch officer and an economist for Boeing before going into planetary sciences. He has served on the science teams of two NASA missions, Mars Pathfinder and Deep Space 1. He was the project manager for the camera on Mars Pathfinder and has built hardware for all the NASA Mars landers. He currently does research on the physical properties and mineralogy of asteroids, comets, and Mars under a number of NASA grants. Honors include 5 NASA Achievement Awards and an asteroid named after him; 4395 DanBritt.