Location: Phenix Room 119E
« APS Faculty & Staff

Dr. Kunio Sayanagi

Associate Professor

Dr. Sayanagi earned his B.S. in Liberal Arts with emphases in Physics and Applied Math from Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA, and M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Arizona, in Tucson, AZ. Before arriving Hampton University, he held research positions at the University of Louisville in Louisville, KY, California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA, and the University of California Los Angeles in Los Angeles, CA. He has also served as a panelist on the 2009-2011 Planetary Decadal Survey by the National Research Council of the United States National Academies, and made recommendations to NASA and NSF on the planetary science research priorities in the 2013-2012 decadal period.


  • Dr. Sayanagi has taught the following courses at Hampton University.
  • APS105: Introductory Astronomy
  • APS600: Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Seminar
  • APS660: Atmospheric Structure and Dynamics
  • APS664: Geophysical Fluid Dynamics
  • APS699: Special Topics: Atmospheric Turbulence
  • APS704: Physics and Chemistry of Planetary Atmospheres

Research Interests: Dr. Sayanagi's research interests encompass a wide range of topics in planetary atmospheres. His research activities can be categorized into three rough areas. First, he studies atmospheric dynamic phenomena by numerically modeling atmospheric features such as jetstreams, vortices and waves. Second, he analyzes images returned from space probes to analyze clouds; in particular, he analyzes the images returned from NASA's Cassini spacecraft to study the motions and properties of clouds on Saturn. Third, he develops measurement methods and image processing techniques to improve and enable new analysis of images returned from space missions.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF File)


    Invited Review Articles:

  • 1. Sanchez-Lavega, A., Fischer, G., Fletcher, L.N., Garcia-Melendo, E., Hesman, B., Perez-Hoyos, S., Sayanagi, K.M., and Sromovsky, L.A., 2018, “Great Saturn Storm of 2010-2011” Chapter in: Saturn in the 21st Century, p.377-416. Cambridge Univ. Press. ISBN: 978-1107106772
  • 2. Sayanagi, K.M., Baines, K.H., Dyudina, U.A., Fletcher, L.N., Sanchez-Lavega, A., West, R.A., 2018, “Saturn’s Polar Atmosphere” Chapter in: Saturn in the 21st Century, p.337-376. Cambridge Univ. Press. ISBN: 978-1107106772
  • 3. Squyres, S. et al., 2011, “Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022.” Planetary Science Decadal Survey, Space Studies Board, National Academies Press. ISBN-10: 0-309-22464-0
  • Peer-Reviewed Publications:

  • 1. Brueshaber, S.B., Sayanagi, K.M. and Dowling, T.E., 2019 “Dynamical regimes of giant planet polar vortices.” Icarus 323, p. 46-61
  • 2. Gunnarson, J.L., Sayanagi, K.M. and 5 Co-authors, 2018. “Saturn’s new ribbons: Cassini observations of planetary waves in Saturn’s 42N atmospheric jet.” Geophysical Research Letters 45, p.7399-7408
  • 3. Ingersoll, A. P., Ewald, S.P., Sayanagi, K. M. and Blalock, J. J., 2018 “Saturn's Atmosphere at 1-10 Kilometer Resolution.” Geophysical Research Letters 45, p7851-7856<
  • 4. Del Rio-Gaztelurrutia, T. and 12 Co-Authors, 2018. “A Planetary-Scale Disturbance in a Long Living Three Vortex Coupled System in Saturn’s Atmosphere,” Icarus 302, p.499-513
  • 5. Hueso, R. and 30 Co-Authors. 2017. “Neptune long-lived Atmospheric Features in 2013-2015 from Small (28 cm) and Large (10m) Telescopes,” Icarus 295 p89-109
  • 6. Sayanagi, K.M., Blalock, J.J., Dyudina, U.A., Ewald, S.P., and Ingersoll, A.P., 2017. “Cassini ISS Observation of Saturn's North Polar Vortex and Comparison to the South Polar Vortex.” Icarus 285, p.68-82.
  • 7. Cosentino, R.G., Simon, A.A., Morales-Juberias R., Sayanagi, K.M. 2015. “Observations and Numerical Modelling of the Jovian Ribbon,” Astrophysical Journal Letters 810, L10.
  • 8. Morales-Juberías, R., Sayanagi, K.M., Simon, A.A., Fletcher, L.N., Cosentino, R.G. 2015, “Meandering Shallow Atmospheric Jet as a Model of Saturn's North-polar Hexagon,” Astrophys. J. Lett. 806, L18.
  • 9. de Pater, I., Sromovsky, L.A., Fry, P.M., Hammel, H.B., Baranec, C. and Sayanagi, K.M., 2015, “Record-breaking storm activity on Uranus in 2014”, Icarus, Vol 252, p.121–128
  • 10. Fischer, G., Ye, S.-Y. Ye, J.B. Groene, A.P. Ingersoll, K.M. Sayanagi, J.D. Menietti, W.S. Kurth, and D.A. Gurnett, 2014, “A possible influence of the Great White Spot on Saturn kilometric radiation periodicity.” Annales Geophysicae, Vol 32, P.1463-1476.
  • 11. Arridge, C.S. et al. 2014, “The science case for an orbital mission to Uranus: Exploring the origins and evolution of ice giant planets.” Planetary and Space Sciences, Vol. 104, p. 122-140
  • 12. Sayanagi, K.M., Dyudina, U.A., Ewald, S.P., Muro, G.D., and Ingersoll, A.P., 2014. “Cassini ISS Observation of Saturn's String of Pearls” Icarus, Vol 229, p.170-180.
  • 13. Sayanagi, K.M., and 8 co-authors, 2013. “Dynamics of Saturn's Great Storm of 2010-2011 from Cassini ISS and RPWS” Icarus, 223, p. 460-478.
  • 14. Diniega, S., Sayanagi, K.M. and 18 co-authors. 2013. "Mission to the Trojan Asteroids: lessons learned during a JPL Planetary Science Summer School Mission Design Exercise," Planetary & Space Science, 76, p. 68-82
  • 15. Christophe, B. et al., 2012, “OSS: an Outer Solar System Mission towards Neptune, Triton and KBO” Experimental Astronomy, 34, pp.203-242
  • 16. Barnes, J.W. et al., 2012, “AVIATR – Aerial Vehicle for In-Situ and Airborne Titan Reconnaissance” Experimental Astronomy Vol. 33, p.55-127
  • 17. Arridge. C.S. et al., 2011 “Uranus Pathfinder: Exploring the Origins and Evolution of Ice Giant Planets” Experimental Astronomy, Vol.33, pp. 753-791
  • 18. Morales-Juberias, R., Sayanagi, K. M., Ingersoll, A. P. and Dowling, T. E., 2011. “Emergence of Polar-Jet Polygons from Jet Instabilities in a Saturn Model” Icarus. Vol. 211, Issue 2, p. 1284-1293
  • 19. Sayanagi, K. M., Morales-Juberias, R., and Ingersoll, A. P., 2010, “Saturn's Northern Hemisphere Ribbon: Simulations and Comparison with the Meandering Gulf Stream” Journal of Atmospheric Sciences. Vol. 67, Issue 8, p.2658-2678
  • 20. Sayanagi, K. M., Showman, A. P. and Dowling, T. E., 2008, “The emergence of multiple robust zonal jets from freely evolving, three-dimensional stratified geostrophic turbulence with applications to Jupiter.” Journal of Atmospheric Sciences. Vol. 65, Issue 12, p.3947–3962.
  • 21. Sayanagi, K.M. and Showman, A.P. 2007, “Effects of a Large Convective Storm on Saturn’s Equatorial Jet,” Icarus, Volume 187, Issue 2, p. 520-539