Comets and Asteroids

Professors Humberto Campins and Yan Fernandez study the evolution and properties of comets and asteroids. With these primitive objects, we hope to unlock the secrets of early Solar System: What were the initial ingredients of the solar nebula? How were those ingredients distributed? How much of Earth’s water came from asteroids? How much from comets? To answer these questions, we study the compositions of comets and asteroids such as comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, pictured in Spitzer Space Telescope data on the right.

Measuring the compositions of primitive bodies is only a start. Similar to Earth and the other planets, comets and asteroids have changed since their formation, 4.5 billion years ago. Determining how much they have changed is another major focus of our research. Only with an understanding of the evolution of comets and asteroids can we draw conclusions on the how much they truly represent the make-up of the early solar system.

Researchers: Humberto Campins, Yan Fernandez, Dan Britt

Graduate students: Zoe Landsman, Leos Pohl, Charles Schambeau, Jenna Jones

You can read more about some of the specific projects that some of us are working on by checking out Yan’s research page.

Gas and dust in comet Giacobini-Zinner