Dowling will appear in a one-hour segment, “Alien Wind,” which debuts at 9 p.m. ET May 16. On the show, he uses laboratory and field studies to make connections between weather on Earth and the planets.
A UofL professor since 1997, Dowling probes the composition and behavior of the gases that surround planets. In 2004, he co-edited a leading reference book on Jupiter. His computer model of planetary atmospheres is used by NASA and researchers around the world.
Last year, he and his colleagues discovered that Saturn is rotating five minutes faster than previously thought—a fact they gleaned from analyzing wave patterns in the planet’s clouds. The study, published in the journal Nature, shed new light on the planet’s density and interior structure.
In 2007, he appeared in “The Universe,” a series on The History Channel, and in 2001, he appeared in “Planet Storm,” a Discovery Channel program about planetary weather.
In “Alien Wind,” Dowling works with marine biologists on the California coast to learn more about Jupiter’s wind currents by attaching a data recorder to an elephant seal.
“These seals are the world’s greatest detectives of giant ocean eddies, which move in patterns much like analogous eddies on Jupiter,” Dowling said.