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Dr Michele Bannister

Research Fellow in planetary astronomy

School of Mathematics and Physics, Astrophysics Research Centre

Dr Bannister is an internationally recognised astrophysicist and inspirational science communicator who has made major discoveries.

In 2018, Dr Bannister was part of a team who discovered 840 small worlds in the distant and hard-to-explore region beyond Neptune.

Dr Bannister joined Queen's University Belfast in 2016. Dr Bannister is on the Science Team of the Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer and was involved with the observation of ʻOumuamua, an interstellar object from another solar system that passed through our own in 2017. She studied the brightness of ʻOumuamua and presented the colour composite image. Asteroid 10463 Bannister was named after her in 2017.

In 2014, Dr Bannister was co-investigator on the COLours for the Outer Solar System Origins Survey (OSSOS). In 2013, while studying Canada, she discovered a new dwarf planet (RR245) with the Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope.

Bannister is a popular and sought after science communicator, and has spoken at the Royal Society, The Planetary Society, SETI Institute, Irish Astronomical Society and European Astrofest.

Areas of Expertise

Astronomy, planetary systems, Solar System, asteroids, Kuiper belt, ʻOumuamua, interstellar objects

Media Experience

Michele is a popular science communicator and experienced media commentator with infectious enthusiasm for her subject. She has discussed astronomy on Canadian radio, has appeared on the BBC Sky at Night in 2017 and 2018 and has reported on the 2015 images coming in from Pluto during the spacecraft flyby on Radio New Zealand and Nature. She has written for The Conversation and The Planetary Society, as has contributed to Scientific American, Newsweek, National Geographic New Scientist, Slate and The Guardian.  She was previously a curator on the RealScientists channel.

Notable coverage

Associated Research Centres / Projects

Science Team of the Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer

Contact Information

For more information or to book an interview, email 


Academic Profile
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