Dr. Larry Wasserman’s major research interests include the study of solar system bodies via occultations and instrument control software. His work on occultations includes the prediction, observation, and analysis of data from such events.
Wasserman also works with Lowell Emeritus Astronomer Dr. Otto Franz in using the Hubble Telescope to study binary stars.
Dr. Alan Stern is a planetary scientist, space program executive, aerospace consultant, speaker, and author. He leads NASA’s New Horizons mission that explored the Pluto system and is now exploring the Kuiper Belt—the farthest exploration in the history of humankind. He has twice been named to the Time 100.
James “Jim” Christy discovered Pluto’s moon, Charon, on June 22, 1978 while working at the United States Naval Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. The name Charon was inspired by his wife’s name, Charlene.
Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Art Howard/GHSPi
Dr. Will Grundy’s research involves icy outer Solar System planets, satellites, and Kuiper belt objects, using a broad variety of observational, theoretical, laboratory, and space-based techniques. He is involved in projects to discover Kuiper belt binaries and to determine their mutual orbits and masses, using Hubble Space Telescope, as well as laser guide star adaptive optics techniques at Keck and Gemini. His inventory of Kuiper belt binaries can be found here. Grundy does spectroscopic, thermal, and imaging observations of outer Solar System bodies using numerous large ground- and space-based telescopes including Hubble, Keck, Gemini, DCT, IRTF, and MMT. Targets of these observations include icy satellites and Kuiper belt objects. Some of the larger bodies like Pluto, Triton, Eris, and Makemake have volatile surface ices that seasonally interact with their thin atmospheres, leading to a variety of complex and interesting phenomena. To support his observational work, Grundy also studies cryogenic ices and ice mixtures in the Astrophysical Materials Laboratory at Northern Arizona University . Optical constants from some of these laboratory studies are available here. He is also a co-investigator on NASA’s New Horizons mission that encountered the Pluto system in 2015 and a small Kuiper belt object in 2019. He heads the mission’s surface composition science theme team. Grundy is an editor for Icarus, the leading scientific journal for solar system studies, and also serves on a variety of national scientific advisory bodies.
Kevin Schindler is the historian at Lowell Observatory, where he has worked for more than two decades. He has been an active member of the Flagstaff history and science communities, having served as Sheriff of the Flagstaff Corral of Westerners International for 13 years and on the board of the Flagstaff Festival of Science for a similar length of time. When not digging through Lowell’s archives, he writes articles for a variety of publications and contribute a bi-weekly astronomy column, “View from Mars Hill”, for the Arizona Daily Sun newspaper. He has written several books, with the latest one–about Pluto–published in March, 2018.