Armagh BT61 9DG,
I am a Research Astronomer at Armagh Observatory
My Research Interests
My research focuses on the small bodies of the solar system, from the very small meteoroids that give rise to shooting stars in the night sky to the much larger asteroids, comets and planetary satellites. I am
studying their origin, evolution and interrelations.
Recent highlights of my research include:
identifying a cluster of Trojan asteroids near the L5 equilibrium point of Mars. These guys have likely been there for many hundreds of million - perhaps even billions - of years. If you're interested in finding out more, read this press release or watch the press conference during the 2013 DPS by going here and clicking on "Martian Trojans; Exoplanet Habitability; Triple Asteroid; Mercury's Spin-Orbit Resonance" under "Press Conferences from DPS 45, Denver, Colorado, 6-11 October 2013".
identifying an object following a so-called horseshoe path with respect to the Earth. The asteroid 2010 SO16 creeps along the Earth's orbit very slowly, taking almost 200 years to go around once. But, as soon as it comes near the Earth,
the graviy of the Earth and the Sun combine in such a way as to make it turn around and go back the way it came. You can read all about it here.
Trojans and horseshoes are special cases of the more general class of "coorbital" asteroids. For the nitty-gritty of coorbital dynamics, you can look up these seminar slides .
A short Curriculum Vitae
Involvement in Planetary Missions
BEAGLE 2: Mars Express cruise trajectory design, ESS UV sensor observations of Phobos eclipses
SMART-1 (D-CIXS): Lunar observation orbit optimization, Cruise observations of comets
Visit the Martian Astronomy site.
My astrophotography escapades.
The art of Astrodynamics: a short primer on how to go from A to B in the Solar System
| Last Revised: 2013 Nov 7th