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PSI Asteroids

PSI Staff

H = absolute magnitude
Peri = argument of perihelion (deg)
Node = longitude of ascending node (deg)
i = inclination (deg)
e = eccentricity
a = semimajor axis (AU)
Asteroid NameHaeiNodePeriDiscoverer(s)Citation
2882 Tedesco11.93.1530.1930.292314.8447.859BowellNamed in honor of Edward F. Tedesco, planetary scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory [now at PSI], who has made wide-ranging contributions to minor-planet science, including studies of rotational brightness variation, pole and shape determination, and the compositional structure of the belt. He is currently engaged in analyzing observations of minor planets by the Infrared Astronomical Satellite.
3341 Hartmann12.63.0330.23010.452142.290234.834BowellNamed in honor of William K. Hartmann, senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson. Hartmann's contributions to solar system research have ranged from work on planetary cratering rates and the origin of the Moon to studies of comets and Trojan minor planets. He is the author of several textbooks on astronomy and planetary science, as well as popular books on space exploration. Hartmann is also a renowned space artist whose paintings depict scenes predicted by modern research. Citation written by R. P. Binzel at the request of the discoverer.
3439 Lebofsky12.52.7450.1354.7447.986284.020BowellNamed in honor of Larry A. Lebofsky, planetary scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory of the University of Arizona, Tucson [now at PSI]. Lebofsky was the first to find chemically-bound water and the presence of ice in the regoliths of minor planets and has been a major contributor to the development of minor-planet thermal models. He has also played an important role in the extraction of minor-planet data from IRAS infrared observations. He has undertaken related laboratory spectral studies on icy condensates and the comparison of minor planets with cometary dust, planetary satellites, and Pluto. Citation prepared by J.S. Lewis.
3507 Vilas11.33.1390.1533.24888.409184.931BowellNamed in honor of Faith Vilas, planetary scientist at the Johnson Manned Space Center in Houston [now Director of the MMT Observatory in Tucson, Arizona]. Vilas has used high-resolution visual and near-infrared spectral measurements to search for compositional trends among outer-belt minor planets and to investigate the mineralogy of Mercury. She designed and built the coronograph/spectrograph that was used to image the planetary disk around Beta Pictoris and is currently evauating the hazard presented by Earth-orbiting debris for future manned missions, including NASA's Space Station. Citation prepared by M. V. Sykes, with assistance from N. Lebofsky and E. Roemer.
3638 Davis11.43.0140.07411.309109.135172.286BowellNamed in honor of Donald R. Davis, senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson. Davis has made fundamental theoretical and experimental contributions to research on the collisional evolution of minor planets. With colleagues, he was the first to propose the 'gravitationally bound rubble pile' model for large minor planets. Another of his research interests is infrared searching for intramercurial bodies. Citation written by R. P. Binzel at the request of the discoverer.
3639 Weidenschilling13.72.4010.1002.197222.709182.318BowellNamed in honor of Stuart J. Weidenschilling, research scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson. Weidenschilling is a noted expert in the study of the origin of the solar system, and his research has also included collisional evolution of minor planets. He and colleagues are conducting a program of 'photometric geodesy' to model the shapes of large, rapidly rotating minor planets from extensive lightcurve observations. Citation written by R. P. Binzel at the request of the discoverer.
4438 Sykes11.53.1710.24813.29456.983292.718BowellNamed in honor of Mark V. Sykes, planetary scientist at the Steward Observatory of the University of Arizona, Tucson. Sykes was the first to suggest that the dust bands discovered in data from the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) see planet (3728)) were due to the catastrophic disruptions of small asteroids and comets. He has also discovered several additional dust bands, a second type of dust trail, and identified parent comets responsible for some of the IRAS dust trails. Citation provided by E. F. Tedesco at the request of the discoverer.
4693 Drummond13.52.2790.0844.863245.606209.486BowellNamed in honor of Jack D. Drummond of the Steward Observatory, University of Arizona [now at PSI]. Drummond's analysis of orbital similarities led to the identification of a cometary parent for the Epsilon Geminids and to the identification of streams among near-earth asteroids. He has done extensive analysis of asteroid lightcurves to find pole directions and shapes for more than 25 objects, as well as studies of phase curves which suggest the existence of both rough and smooth surfaces among the asteroids. As one of the first to apply speckle interferometry to these bodies, he developed many theoretical contributions to the analysis of speckle data and produced the first speckle images showing features on the surface of an asteroid, namely, that of (4) Vesta. His enthusiasm for studies of asteroids, comets and meteors has made him a pleasurable colleague for collaborative efforts. Citation provided by Donald R. Davis at the request of the discoverer.
6762 Cyrenagoodrich14.52.1720.1753.7017.412331.452BusCyrena A. Goodrich (b. 1955) is a professor at Kingsborough Community College in New York.  She is the leading expert on the formation of ureilites, studying these meteorites as probes of the complex melting and reduction they experienced during minor-planet differentiation.
7807 Grier12.83.1720.09713.235200.89854.476BusJennifer Grier (b. 1968) is involved in numerous aspects of planetary science education and research. Her research has focused on planetary surface ages via crater counting and radiometric dating. In 2006 she became the Education Officer for the AAS Division of Planetary Sciences.
8068 Vishnureddy13.42.75380.19963.391157.469257.663BusVishnu Reddy (b. 1978) is a research professor at the University of North Dakota and a visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research. He specializes in the spectroscopic study of minor planets and is currently analyzing Vesta's composition in support of the Dawn mission.
9211 Neese14.82.2520.1512.40514.741266.185SpacewatchTrained in stellar astronomy, Carol Lynn Neese (b. 1958) turned to solar system studies in 1992, joining the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, making physical studies of minor planets and archiving data from groundbased and spacecraft communities into the Small Bodies Node of the NASA Planetary Data System.
9285 Le Corre13.42.9110.0571.140313.80788.398BusLucille Le Corre (b. 1983) is an associate researcher at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson. Her work includes creating combined geologic and composition maps of planetary satellite and asteroid surfaces using radar, spectroscopic and imaging data.
12309 Tommygrav14.12.7180.3090.720321.355112.520SpacewatchTommy Grav (b. 1973) earned a Ph.D. in astronomy at the University of Oslo in 2004, in collaboration with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and started work as Junior Scientific Researcher with Pan-STARRS. He is an experienced observer of transneptunian objects and outer satellites of the giant planets.
12871 Samarasinha14.12.2700.1725.318112.731296.200LONEOSBeginning with his demonstration of the excited rotational state of 1P/Halley, Nalin H. Samarasinha (b. 1958), of the National Optical Astronomy Observatories, Tucson, [now PSI] has carried out many studies of the dynamical evolution of cometary nuclei and the related dynamical processes of dust in cometary comae.
15339 Pierazzo13.42.92830260.08101863.09990127.78137247.14465SpacewatchElisabetta Pierazzo (1963-2011) was an expert in impact modeling, in particular of the Chicxulub impact, as well as in modeling the effects of impacts on Earth and Mars. She was an enthusiastic communicator of science to the general public and a dedicated teacher of planetary science for students and educators.  NOTE: Betty Pierazzo passed away on May 15, 2011. 
20360 Holsapple14.82.2880.0639.62781.16388.159LONEOSKeith A. Holsapple (b. 1938) is a professor of engineering at the University of Washington [now also a Senior Scientist at PSI]. An expert in modeling the response of planetary and asteroidal material to stress and shock, Holsapple has developed scaling laws for cratering and has explored the relationship between asteroidal shape, spin rates and internal strength.
20897 Deborahdomingue14.52.7700.02715.590118.906202.331LONEOSDeborah L. Domingue (b. 1963) works at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Domingue has worked on the NEAR space mission and is deputy project scientist for the MESSENGER mission. She is an expert in photometry and Hapke theory and in the analysis of small-body remote sensing data.
21458 Susank14.72.3300.0674.630173.838284.255LONEOSSusan D. Benecchi (née Kern; b. 1977) is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore. She specializes in binary transneptunian objects and has a strong interest in science education.
21496 Lijianyang14.52.6850.1988.168154.806164.334LONEOSJianyang Li (b. 1976), University of Maryland, has studied the surface light-scattering properties of minor planets and comets. He has discovered a correlation of photometric properties with outgassing on comet 19P/Borrelly; and, on (1) Ceres, spatially varying strong ultraviolet absorption by an unidentified species.
21774 O'Brien15.92.3390.0846.654155.792267.239LONEOSDavid P. O'Brien (b. 1976) is a planetary scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, Tucson. He studies collisional evolution of main-belt minor planets, cratering on (951) Gaspra and other objects, as well as primordial sculpting of the main belt during the planetary accretion process.
24412 Ericpalmer12.63.1490.05516.962183.727184.247LONEOSEric E. Palmer (b. 1968) is a research scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson. His research focuses on the presence and stability of water and other volatile compounds on asteroid and planetary satellite surfaces, and their detection through spectroscopic techniques.
24994 Prettyman15.12.3630.11356.476103.806211.178LONEOSThomas H. Prettyman (b. 1964), a senior scientist with the Planetary Science Institute, led the gamma ray and neutron detector investigation on the Dawn mission to Vesta, revealing in situ a composition consistent with the HED meteorite class as well as an unexpected presence of hydrogen.
55108 Beamueller14.23.0130.10410.6918.52167.600TuckerBeatrice E. A. Mueller (b. 1959) of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, studies small bodies of the solar system. She specializes in photometry and rotational studies of small bodies and was one of the first to discover the ultra-red colors of the centaur (5145) Pholus.


  • 2882 Tedesco is a member of the Themis family.
  • 3341 Hartmann has been observed in the S3OS2 survey and has a taxonomic classification of T.
  • 3638 Davis is a member of the Eos family.
  • 4438 Sykes was observed by IRAS and has an albedo of 0.07 and an effective diameter of 24.89 km.
  • 3507 Vilas is a member of the Themis family and shows evidence of hydration.

Current Members of the PSI Board of Trustees

Asteroid NameHaeiNodePeriDiscoverer(s)Citation
4899 Candace (Kohl)13.62.3720.18422.585190.30574.098ShoemakerNamed for Candace P. Kohl, America chemist and a leading investigator of ancient solar activity through analysis of solar cosmic-ray-produced nuclides in lunar samples. She has also contributed importantly in the development of techniques for dating surface exposure of materials on the earth from cosmic-ray-produced nuclides. Through her popular lectures on meteorites, the moon and the solar system, Kohl has reached a wide audience ranging from primary-school children to high-school students and the lay community. Citation provided by K. Nishiizumi at the request of the discoverers.
6398 Timhunter12.62.3430.22423.888129.17467.173Shoemaker, LevyNamed in honor of Tim Hunter, president of the International Dark Sky Association. A radiologist by profession, Hunter has followed the increasing effects of light pollution over the earth's night sky. By founding with David Crawford an association that is devoted to raising public awarenesss about the need for safe and sensible lighting, Hunter has performed an invaluable service to astronomy.
11941 Archinal14.01.9510.05025.09877.525211.465Shoemaker, LevyAn active amateur astronomer, Brent Archinal (b. 1956) specializes in correcting catalog data for stellar groupings and nonstellar objects. He also has finished the most complete catalog yet assembled of open and globular clusters. Today he works for the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff, Arizona.



  • Hartmann and Sykes are also members of the PSI Board of Trustees.

 PSI Alumni

Asteroid NameHaeiNodePeriDiscoverer(s)Citations
7817 Zibiturtle12.92.7840.0420.557120.061174.032BusElizabeth "Zibi" Turtle (b. 1967), a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, has contributed to the Galileo and Cassini projects, and her research has spanned the solar system from the ice shell on Jupiter II (Europa) to the geology of Saturn VI (Titan) and the mountains of Jupiter I (Io).
14026 Esquerdo14.82.3610.1612.631158.422128.002SpacewatchGil Esquerdo (b. 1976), a former research assistant at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, was appointed in 2002 research assistant for the Near-Earth-Asteroid Physical Study project at the University of Western Ontario.
15091 Howell13.33.2250.0827.276305.588317.202SpacewatchNoted student of cataclysmic variable stars, master of high-precision photometry and explorer of TOADs (tremendous outburst amplitude dwarf novae), Steve B. Howell (b. 1955) is equally at home developing theoretical stellar models, working with the latest instrumentation or mentoring students in esoteric astrophysics.

 Trustee Alumni

Asteroid NameHaeiNodePeriDiscoverer(s)Citations
2074 Shoemaker13.71.8000.81830.078207.319205.396HelinNamed by the discoverer to honor her colleague and friend Eugene M. Shoemaker. An outstanding scientist, he has played a principal role in the Lunar Ranger, Surveyer and Apollo missions. His definitive work on Meteor Crater is a classic. His more recent areas of interest and contributions range from paleomagnetism to a planet-crossing asteroid survey. This name has also been proposed by B. G. Marsden.
2586 Matson12.92.3860.0904.360166.591153.587C.S. ShoemakerNamed in honor of Dennis L. Matson, planetary scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who has played a leading role in developing the method for determination of the sizes and albedos of minor planets by means of infrared radiometry. He has also shown that the heat flow from the interior of Jupiter's satellite Io can be measured and monitored from ground-based telescopes.
3327 Campins11.73.175.0981.55869.737241.900BowellNamed in honor of Humberto Campins, research scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson. Well known for his work on the properties of cometary comae, Campins has helped establish pioneering techniques to measure the physical properties of cometary nuclei using simultaneous infrared and visual observations. He has also undertaken infrared searches for intramercurial bodies. Citation written by R. P. Binzel at the request of the discoverer.
3619 Nash13.82.3880.2384.046161.362182.054BusNamed in honor of Douglas B. Nash of the San Juan Capistrano Research Institute, California, in recognition of his many contributions to the understanding of the compositions and processes affecting solar system bodies. Nash has achieved these advances by innovation and persistence in designing, executing and applying the results of laboratory investigations. His work on the spectral reflectances of lunar samples, meteorites, rock and mineral samples, and frozen gases has allowed comparison with and interpretation of telescopic data. His investigations of luminescence, ultraviolet irradiation, sputtering by a variety of ion species, and evaporation have led to the identification of new "space weathering" processes and a better understanding of the surfaces of the moon and the Galilean satellites of Jupiter. Citation provided by Dennis L. Matson at the request of the discoverer.
3673 Levy13.02.3460.1847.09113.45045.159BowellNamed in honor of David H. Levy (1948- ), comet discoverer and observer, recognized for his perseverence in observing comets using the oldest visual and the newest electronic techniques. Author of several books and articles, he is known for his biographies of astronomers. As an educator Levy has concentrated on bringing observational astronomy to both amateur astronomers and to children, and he has initiated school and camp programs for this purpose. Citation prepared by S. J. Edberg at the request of the discoverer.
4446 Carolyn11.03.9840.2807.240189.031117.242BowellNamed in honor of Carolyn Spellmann Shoemaker, comet and asteroid discoverer. Shoemaker began searching for asteroids in 1980, using plates taken at the U.K. Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring. She helped develop a new photographic survey program using the 0.46-m Schmidt camera at Palomar Mountain and a newly designed stereomicroscope, which greatly increased the efficiency of film scanning. In 1983 Shoemaker found her first near-earth asteroid, the Amor object (2299) Nefertiti, and later that year she found her first comet, 1983p. By February 1991 she had discovered 22 comets, at a rate of about one per 100 hours of scanning, and for discoveries recognized in the names of the comets she thus surpassed the tally of W. R. Brooks and moved into the all-time second place behind J.-L. Pons. Shoemaker already holds the record for finding new periodic comets: 9 by early 1991. Citation prepared by D. H. Levy and J. Mueller at the request of the discoverer.
7225 Huntress13.02.3410.2036.871275.771203.514BowellNamed in honor of Wesley T. Huntress, Jr. (b. 1942), planetary cosmochemist and highly regarded director of NASA space science programs during the 1990s. Gaining international recognition for pioneering studies of chemical evolution in interstellar clouds, comets and planetary atmospheres, Huntress was instrumental in developing the astrochemical research group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. During his six years as NASA Associate Administrator for Space Science, the rate at which science missions were launched increased dramatically, along with the public awareness of space science. The naming honors Huntress on his departure from NASA after an illustrious 29-year career with the agency. Name proposed by the discoverer following a suggestion by M. S. Allen, who prepared the citation.


  • 3673 Levy has a taxonomic classification of S.

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