My research is largely focused within the field of observational astronomy and development of software tools for data reduction and analysis.
There are two key components driving my PhD research project. There is an investigation into the capabilities of small-aperture robotic telescopes for studying asteroids, and how we may optimise the scientific output of such observatories in this field. The other component is the study of phase curve variability between different apparitions of an asteroid, and an investigation into the physical properties of the observed objects. These two components are combined into one project through the use of the OpenScience Observatories.
I focus specifically in the following areas:
- Characterisation of spin & surface properties of asteroids
- Limitations of phase curve observations from various ground-based studies
- Optimisation of telescope systems & operations
- Development & implementation of new capabilities for robotic observatories
- Development of automated tools for the analysis of moving objects
Near-Earth asteroid (1917) Cuyo has been previously observed to have a rotation period of 2.689787 ± 0.000001h (Rożek et al., 2013), close to its rotational fission limit (the point at which material may begin to leave the surface, Pravec et al., 2002). Recent analysis by Lowry et al. (2018) determined that material may be leaving the surface of the asteroid. If material were to be leaving the surface of Cuyo, a decrease in the rotation rate would be observed due to conservation of angular momentum. This project therefore aimed to analyse the rotation properties of Cuyo from data taken at Palmer Divide Observatory in 2014 and 2017, and to analyse the accuracy of previously extracted lightcurves by Warner (2014, 2015, 2017).