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Professor Fitzsimmons is an expert in the field of asteroid and cometary science. He usesworld-leading observatories to measure the physical properties of Solar System bodies and their composition.

Highlights have ranged from studying the first asteroid predicted
to impact the Earth, to investigating the nature of the first object discovered visiting us from another star.

He is
an author on over 130 peer-reviewed publications, and his research has been funded by the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, the Royal Society, the European Space Agency, the Leverhulme Trust, and the European Union (FP7 & H2020).

Find out more


Open to PhD applications in the fields of 

  • Cometary and asteroid observational research
  • Spectroscopy of cometary bodies
  • Spectroscopy and photometry of asteroidal objects

Research students

PhD title: Observational studies of cometary solar system bodies

Name: Meabh Hyland
Years of Study: 2014 - 2018
Country: Northern Ireland


Alumni: where are they now?

Dr Stephen Lowry

PhD Title:  Physical Properties of cometary nuclei and studies of distant activity

Years of Study: 1998-2001
Country: Northern Ireland
Current position: Senior Lecturer, University of Kent, UK

Dr Colin Snodgrass

PhD Title: Forms and Rotation States of the Nuclei of Ecliptic Comets

Years of Study: 2003-2006
Country: United Kingdom
Current position: STFC Ernest Rutherford Senior Research Fellow, Open University, UK

 Dr Larry Denneau Jr

PhD title: Observational Constraints on the Steady-State Catastrophic Disruption Rate of Main Belt Asteroids measured using the Pan-STARRS Moving Object Processing System 

Years of Study: 2010 - 2015
Country: USA
Current position: Senior Software Engineer, Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System, USA



Research at Queen's

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