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Karen Jean Meech -- Research Interests

VLT, Chile -- 11/2000


Other Interests

Meech homepage

IfA Homepage

Comet Database (password protected)

TNO Database (password protected)

Meech's research focuses on comets and how they can be used to understand the conditions in the early solar system. This research is branching into many areas which includes observation, theory/modelling, and a many international collaborations. Click on the images in the table below to get a more detailed description of each of the projects.

Distant Comets and the Early Solar System -- This project uses a database of 141 comets obtained since 1985 by Meech (over 15,000 images; 1120 hours of integration; - 0.5 TB in size) to search for evidence of chemical and physical differences in comets of different dynamical classes.
Deep Impact Comet Mission -- Meech is in charge of coordinating the ground-based observing effort in support of the NASA Discovery mission Deep Impact. Current work seeks to determine the rotation period, nucleus size and dust environment. Science Team web page.
KBO/Centaur Surfaces -- Graduate student J. Bauer is studying the properties of Centaur surfaces for comparison with comets and small satellites. I am collaborating with an ESO team to extend this to investigate the surface properties of Kuiper Belt objects, and to search for activity at very large distances.
Chiron's Atmosphere -- After discovery of Chiron's bound atmosphere (with M. Belton) in 1989, observations are continuing on this enigmatic object to understand its behavior. Searches for activity in other Centaur objects and KBOs is currently underway.
Comet Rotation -- Deep images of comets are obtained in a series of short exposures -- which is the ideal dataset to search for comet rotational lightcurves.
Space Missions -- Meech has provided an extensive database to the Stardust comet mission, and has been working on models with Ray Newburn to characterize the dust environment. Data is also being provided to the Comet Nucleus Sample Mission.
Comet Hale Bopp -- The passage of comet Hale Bopp in 1997 afforded us an unprecedented view of a bright comet. Significant new insight into comet physics was obtained from this comet: from the observation of amorphous water, to the understanding that chemistry is important in the coma.
Wide Field CCD Project -- This program developed an 8192x8192 large format CCD (Luppino and Metzger) for use in comet recovery programs.

Last modified: September 28, 2001
Karen Meech
Institute for Astronomy
2680 Woodlawn Drive
Honolulu, HI 96822