News on Solar System Objects

Discovering the Composition of Trans-Neptunian Objects

Observing the farthest reaches of our solar system takes some time — literally. It takes 4.6 hours for light to travel from this extreme range that houses some of the farthest and coldest places in our solar system. Dr. Noemi Pinilla-Alonso, planetary scientist at the Florida Space Institute at the University of Central Florida in …

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FSI, UCF, and AO Researchers Honored With Asteroids Bearing Their Names

In a bulletin published on Friday, Working Group on Small Bodies (WGSM) of the IAU announced the researchers who had been honored with asteroids bearing their names, in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the field of Planetary Science. The following honorees includes 8 current and 2 former UCF/FSI researchers and 4 colleagues at Arecibo …

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Noemi Pinilla-Alonso is the lead investigator on one project and a co-investigator on two others which will explore trans-Neptunian objects, Pluto and Uranus moons.

BY ZENAIDA GONZALEZ KOTALA | MAY 3, 2021 When the James Webb Space Telescope launches later this year, UCF researcher Noemi Pinilla Alonso will be among a select group of scientists worldwide who will have more than 100 hours of observation time awarded to conduct her work. The JWST telescope, which has been described as …

Noemi Pinilla-Alonso is the lead investigator on one project and a co-investigator on two others which will explore trans-Neptunian objects, Pluto and Uranus moons. Read More »

UCF Researcher Awarded NASA Grant to Study Little Understood trans-Neptunian Objects

Estela Fernández-Valenzuela, a preeminent post doctoral researcher at the Florida Space Institute wins a highly competitive NASA grant. BY ZENAIDA GONZALEZ KOTALA | SEPTEMBER 10, 2020 Florida Space Institute Planetary Scientist Estela Fernández-Valenzuela has been awarded a $315,700 NASA grant to use modern day technology to analyze one of the oldest and least understood objects of …

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UCF Planetary Scientist Receives NASA Funding for Asteroid Research

The results may help future missions land on and sample asteroids. BY SIMONE ROUSSEAU | JULY 14, 2020 UCF planetary scientist Adrienne Dove and a team of students have teamed up with NASA’s Johnson Space Center to examine data on an asteroid experiment years in the making. The work is funded by a recently announced $200,000 grant …

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National Asteroid Day: A Celebration of Mysterious Small Bodies

For June 30’s day of observance, here’s a special nod to the eight asteroids making waves in the solar system — just like their UCF faculty namesakes. BY SIMONE ROUSSEAU | JUNE 30, 2020 Imagine a celestial body larger than the Statue of Liberty skyrocketing past Earth with enough energy to flatten a city. Since 2011 this …

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UCF Postdoctoral Researcher Detects Satellite Orbiting a Small Body in Solar System

The technique used to detect the satellite could help identify more objects, which could potentially help broaden our understanding of our solar system. BY ZENAIDA GONZALEZ KOTALA | DECEMBER 11, 2019 https://www.ucf.edu/news/ucf-postdoctoral-researcher-detects-hunts-of-satellite-orbiting-dwarf-planet/ A University of Central Florida postdoctoral scholar has detected hints of a satellite orbiting an object beyond Neptune. Estela Fernandez-Valenzuela, a postdoctoral research associate at …

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Recently Accepted Manuscript to the Astronomical Journal.

Dr. Charles Schambeau and co-authors, Yanga Fernandez, Nalin Samarasinha, Laura Woodney, Arunav Kundu’s manuscript, “Analysis of HST WFPC2 Observations of Centaur 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1 while in Outburst to Place Constraints on the Nucleus’ Rotation State,” has been recently accepted to the Astronomical Journal. A preprint version of the article has been uploaded and accepted on arXiv …

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Asteroid Bennu Gives NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Mission Team Lots of Surprises

UCF Physics Professor Humberto Campins is part of the team studying Bennu, which may contain the molecular precursors to the origin of life and the Earth’s oceans. BY ZENAIDA GONZALEZ KOTALA | MARCH 19, 2019 Sometimes the unexpected is more exciting than finding exactly what you thought you’d find, and this is indeed the case for the …

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