Alan Fitzsimmons

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On 4 July 2005, many observatories around the world and in space observed the collision of Deep Impact with comet 9P/Tempel 1 or its aftermath. This was an unprecedented coordinated observational campaign. These data show that (i) there was new material after impact that was compositionally different from that seen before impact; (ii) the ratio of dust mass(More)
In the absence of a firm link between individual meteorites and their asteroidal parent bodies, asteroids are typically characterized only by their light reflection properties, and grouped accordingly into classes. On 6 October 2008, a small asteroid was discovered with a flat reflectance spectrum in the 554-995 nm wavelength range, and designated 2008(More)
We present an updated cumulative size distribution (CSD) for Jupiter Family comet (JFC) nuclei, including a rigourous assessment of the uncertainty on the slope of the CSD. The CSD is expressed as a power law, N(> rN) ∝ r −q N , where rN is the radius of the nuclei and q is the slope. We include a large number of optical observations published by ourselves(More)
Context. Main Belt Comets are a recently identified population of minor bodies with stable asteroid-like orbits but cometary appearances. Sublimation of water ice is the most likely mechanism for their recurrent activity (i.e. dust tails and dust comae), although there has been no direct detection of gas. These peculiar objects could hold the key to the(More)
We describe Castalia, a proposed mission to rendezvous with a Main Belt Comet (MBC), 133P/Elst-Pizarro. MBCs are a recently discovered population of apparently icy bodies within the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, which may represent the remnants of the population which supplied the early Earth with water. Castalia will perform the first(More)
We report here the first detection of hectometer-size objects by the method of serendipitous stellar occultation. This method consists of recording the diffraction shadow created when an object crosses the observer’s line of sight and occults the disk of a background star. One of our detections is most consistent with an object between Saturn and Uranus.(More)
The SuperWASP cameras are wide-field imaging systems at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, and at the Sutherland Station of the South African Astronomical Observatory. Each instrument has a field of view of some 482 deg with an angular scale of 13 .7 pixel , and is capable of delivering photometry(More)