You are here

Who are the CIOC Team?

The CIOC Team comprises the following scientists:

Carey (Casey) Lisse (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD) has been active in the fields of astronomy and physics since 1985, where he began as an instrument scientist at NASA/Goddard on the Nobel prize winning COBE project. He later moved over to planetary studies, writing his dissertation on comets detected in the COBE all sky survey. Since then he has focused primarily on comets, making important discoveries in X-ray emission from comets, and working on the NASA Deep Impact mission from start to finish including using the Spitzer Space Telescope to observe dust excavated from Comet 9P/Tempel 1 by the DI Impactor. He also studies asteroids and x-ray emission from planets and comets, and searches for the presence of asteroids and comets around other stars. Casey is the Chair of the CIOC Team, overseeing the activities of the CIOC.

Karl Battams (U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC) is an astrophysicist and computational scientist based in the solar physics group at NRL. He has been in charge of the Sungrazer Project since 2003, overseeing most of the project's 2500+ sungrazing comet discoveries. In addition to his work with sungrazing comets, he performs software development, data processing and visualization for the NRL Solar Branch. He has a passion for astronomy outreach through presentations, blogging, school and museums visits. He has also been involved in several video projects, including documentaries for National Geographic, PBS, NHK, Discovery Canada, and the BBC. Karl's primary role on the CIOC is to interface with the solar observatory operations teams (SOHO, STEREO, etc), and to act as webmaster and web designer for the project websites. He tweets as @SungrazerComets.

Michael DiSanti(NASA Goddard) has more than 20 years experience in the study of native ices in comets through ground-based high resolution spectroscopy of volatiles in the 1 - 5 micron spectral region. This has led to abundance measurements of up to 10 parent molecules, and reveals compositional
diversity among more than two dozen comets observed to date.

Tony Farnham (University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland) is an astronomer who studies the dynamics of cometary nuclei and the interrelationship between a comet's nucleus and its coma. He was a member of the Science teams for the Deep Impact mission to comet Tempel 1, the extended mission (DIXI) to comet Hartley 2, and the Stardust-Next mission that returned to comet Tempel 1. He also led one of the teams that performed the analysis of the dust hazards posed by comet Siding Spring during its close approach to Mars.

Kelly Fast (NASA Headquarters) [Bio coming soon...]

Yan Fernandez (University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL) is an astronomer who has been studying comets and asteroids since the mid-1990s. He has studied comets, asteroids, Trojans, Centaurs, and small moons at IR, visible, and radio wavelengths for over ten years with the goal of determining their physical and compositional properties. He is the PI of the Spitzer SEPPCoN program to characterize the size, albedo, and color of 100 JFC comets. A member of the NASA CIOC team, he will lead the IRAC photometry data reduction efforts, and will help interpret Comet ISON in the context of other comets.

Michael Kelley (University of Maryland, College Park, MD) is an astronomer who observes and models comet dust to find out what it is made of, and where it comes from. He is also similarly interested in asteroid surfaces, and their thermal properties. His first research paper on comets was about Comet Halley in 1985, when he was at the young age of 7 years, although it's distribution was limited to his father's notebook. Mike's role on the CIOC is primarily based on his expertise with comet dust and mid-infrared spectroscopy, and his association with the Deep Impact science team.

Matthew Knight (Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, AZ) is an astronomer specializing in comet nucleus and coma studies. He studied sungrazing comets for his Ph.D. thesis and has spent 150+ nights observing comets in optical and near-IR wavelengths. Matthew's primary role on the CIOC is to monitor ISON and help predict its behavior near perihelion and beyond in order to help ground- and space-based observers optimize their observations.

Jian-Yang Li (Planetary Science Institute) [Bio coming soon...]

Frank Seelos(JHU Applied Physics Laboratory) [Bio coming soon...]

Ron Vervack (JHU Applied Physics Laboratory) is a planetary scientist who has been involved in NASA projects since 1985 when he started working on Voyager. Nowadays, he splits his time between spacecraft observations of planetary atmospheres and ground-based infrared observations of comets and asteroids. Ron's role on the CIOC reflects his diverse interests, providing connections to both the ground- and space-based scientific communities. He is the lead on a moderate-resolution infrared observational campaign at NASA's IRTF to study the gas and dust comas of comet ISON and a member of two teams that will use both the IRTF and Keck Observatory to study the gas coma of ISON using high-resolution spectroscopy. As a member of the MESSENGER Science Team, he will lead the MESSENGER observations of ISON during its closest approach to the planet Mercury.

Elizabeth Warner (University of Maryland, College Park, MD) is an amateur astronomer who also does informal astronomy education and public outreach. During the Deep Impact Mission, she served as the "Liaison to Amateur Astronomers," she was/continues as the webmaster for the EPOXI (and DI3) mission, and coordinates the Amateur Observers' Program started during Deep Impact and continued for other NASA Small Body Missions. She also coordinates programs at the UMD Observatory.

Padma Yanamandra-Fisher (Space Science Institute, Boulder, CO), physicist and astronomer, seeks to study light scattering in various astrophysical environments (planetary atmospheres and ring systems, comets, etc.) using polarimetry and thermal spectrophotometry. Her research on atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn collided with cometary dust modeling via participation in the D/Shoemaker-Levy 9-Jupiter campaign of 1994, and other celestial impacts on Jupiter in 2009-2011. She loves to share her passion via outreach and social media. Her role in CIOC is a confluence of science through telescopic observations and outreach via Facebook collaboration with a global network of amateur astronomers/comet imagers.