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Robert West

Photo of Robert West


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 183-501

Pasadena, CA 91109





Curriculum Vitae:

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Member of:

Planetary And Exoplanetary Atmospheres


  • B.S. with honors, Astronomy, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California (1973)
  • Ph.D., Planetary Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona (1977)

Professional Experience

  • Current Position: Senior Research Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA USA
    • Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1984 - Present)
    • Research Associate, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, and Lecturer, Dept. of Astro-Geophysics, University of Colorado, Boulder (1978 - 1984)

Research Interests

Radiative transfer in planetary atmospheres, especially observation and interpretation of multiply-scattered light observed by spacecraft and ground-based instruments.

Selected Awards

  • Cassini Pre-Integration Team , Cassini Imaging Subsystem Science Team and Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph and Huygens Probe Descent Imager and Spectro-Radiometer
  • Comet Shoemaker-Levy Jupiter Impact Observation Team (Hubble Space Telescope)
  • Voyager PPS
  • Galileo UVS
  • Solar Mesosphere Explorer

Selected Publications

Encyclopedia Articles

  1. Radiative Transfer in Planetary Atmospheres in Encyclopedia of Planetary Sciences. Chapman and Hall (1997).
  2. Clouds in Planetary Atmospheres, in Encyclopedia of Astronomy and Astrophysics. Institute of Physics Publishing and Grove Publishers Ltd. (2001).
  3. Saturn. in McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology (Authors are T. C. Owen and R.A. West), 2012.
  4. The Atmospheres of the Giant Planets, 3rd Edition. in Encyclopedia of the Solar System. Elsevier (2014). This volume received the PROSE award in 2015.

First-Author Book Chapters

  1. West, R. A., K. H. Baines, and J. B. Pollack, "Clouds and Aerosols in the Uranian Atmosphere." in Uranus. J. T. Bergstralh and M.S. Matthews, Eds., Univ. of Arizona Press (1991).
  2. West, R. A., "Particles in Jupiter's Atmosphere from the Impacts of Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9," in The Collision of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 and Jupiter, K. Noll, P. Feldman and H. Weaver, Eds., Cambridge University Press, (1996).
  3. West, R.A., "Condensates in Jovian Atmospheres," in From Giant Planets to Cool Stars, C. Griffith and M. Marley, Eds., Astron. Soc. Pacific Conference Series (1999).
  4. West, R. A., K. H. Baines, A. J. Friedson, D. Banfield, B. Ragent, and F. Taylor, "Jovian Clouds and Haze", in Jupiter - The Planet, Satellites and Magnetosphere. F. Bagenal, T. Dowling and W. McKinnon, Eds., Cambridge University Press, 2004.
  5. West, R. A., K. H. Baines, E. Karkoschka and A. Sanchez-Lavega. "Clouds and Aerosols in Saturn's Atmosphere", in Saturn from Cassini/Huygens, MDougherty et al. Eds., Springer, 2009.
  6. West, R. A., P. Lavvas, C. Anderson, and H. Imanaka. "Titan's Haze", in Titan: Surface, Atmosphere and Magnetosphere, I. Muller-Wodarg, C. Griffith, E. Lellouch and T. Cravens, Eds., Cambridge Univ. Press, 2014.
  7. West, R.A., P.A. Yanamandra-Fisher and V. Korokhin, "Polarization of the gas giant planets, Saturn's rings, and Titan: Observations and Interpretation", in Polarimetry of stars and planetary systems, L. Kolokolva, J. Hough and A.-Chantal Levasseur-Regourd Eds., Cambridge Univ. Press, 2015.
  8. West, R.A., "Temperature, clouds and aerosols in giant and icy planets", in Handbook of Exoplanets", H. J. Deeg and J. A. Belmonte, Eds., Springer, 2018

Sample Journal Articles

  1. West, R.A., D.F. Strobel and M.G. Tomasko, "Clouds, Aerosols and Photochemistry in the Jovian Atmosphere," Icarus 65, 161-217 (1986).
  2. West, R., D. Crisp, and L. Chen, "Mapping Transformations for Broadband Atmospheric Radiation Calculations." J. Quant. Spectr. and Radiat. Transfer 43, 191-199, (1990).
  3. West, R. A., and P. H. Smith, "Evidence for Aggregate Particles in the Atmospheres of Titan and Jupiter." Icarus 90, 330-333 (1991).
  4. West, R. A., A. J. Friedson, and J. F. Appleby, "Jovian Large-Scale Stratospheric Circulation." Icarus 100, 245-259 (1992).
  5. West, R. A., E. Karkoschka, A. J. Friedson, M. Seymour, K. H. Baines and H. B. Hammel, "Impact Debris Particles in Jupiter's Stratosphere." Science 267, 1296-1301 (1995).
  6. West, R. A., M. E. Brown, S. V. Salinas, A. H. Bouchez & H. G. Roe, "No oceans on Titan from the absence of a near-infrared specular reflection", Nature, 436 pp. 670-672 (2005).
  7. West, R. A., J. M. Ajello, M. H. Stevens, D. F. Strobel, G. R. Gladstone, J.S. Evans, "Titan Airglow During Eclipse", Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L18204, doi:10.1029/2012GL053230, 2012.
  8. West, R.A., et al. "Cassini Imaging Science Subsystem observations of Titan's south polar cloud.", Online version DOI 10.1016/j.icarus.2014.11.038, 2015.
  9. West, R.A., et al., "The seasonal cycle of Titan's detached haze", Nature Astronomy, doi:10.1038/s41550-018-0434-z, 2018.