Research Staff at the Arecibo Observatory

University of Central Florida


Dr. Anne K. Virkki, Observatory Scientist, Group Lead at AO

Anne joined the Arecibo staff in April 2016 after receiving her Ph.D. in Astronomy in the University of Helsinki. In her doctoral thesis she worked on numerical modeling of radar scattering, progressing the theoretical foundation required for interpreting planetary radar observations. Her current research interests include radar observations and shape reconstruction. Anne became the acting group lead in April 2018 after Dr. Patrick Taylor moved to the Lunar and Planetary Institute.

Dr. Flaviane C. F. Venditti, Observatory Scientist

Flaviane joined the Arecibo staff in May 2017 after working as a Postdoctoral Scientist at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She has a Bachelor's degree in Physics/Astronomy from the University of Sao Paulo. Master's and Ph.D in Space Engineering, with focus in Astrodynamics, from the National Institute for Space Research, in Brazil. Her research interests include radar observations, orbital dynamics, asteroid modeling, and asteroid deflection techniques.

Dr. Sean E. Marshall, Observatory Scientist

Sean joined the Arecibo staff in November 2017. He has a Ph.D. in Astronomy from Cornell University and Bachelor's degrees in Physics and Astronomy (Earth and Space Exploration) from Arizona State University. His research focuses on combining radar and infrared observations of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) - using radar and lightcurve observations to find NEAs' sizes, shapes, and rotation states, and then using infrared observations to find their thermal properties.

Dr. Dylan C. Hickson, Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Dylan joined the Arecibo staff in May 2019 after receiving his Ph.D. in Earth and Space Science from York University in Toronto, Canada and Bachelor’s degrees in Earth and Environmental Science and Physical Science from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. His research interests include radar observations, regolith evolution on airless bodies, and modeling the surface/regolith properties, structures, and compositions of asteroids and other rocky solar system bodies.

Research Staff at the Lunar and Planetary Institute

Universities Space Research Association


Dr. Patrick A. Taylor, Planetary Radar Group Lead at LPI

Patrick has a Ph.D. in Astronomy from Cornell University and Bachelor's degrees in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Maryland. He joined the Arecibo staff in 2009 and has over 15 years of experience with the Arecibo Planetary Radary System. His research interests include radar and thermal-infrared observations, shape reconstruction, and dynamics of small Solar System bodies, especially the formation and evolution of multiple-component systems. He moved from Arecibo to LPI in April 2018.

Dr. Edgard G. Rivera-Valentin, Staff Planetary Scientist

Ed has a Ph.D. in Space and Planetary Science from the University of Arkansas and a Bachelor's degree in Physics and Mathematics from Alfred University. After 2 years as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Brown University, Ed returned to his native city of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, joining the staff in 2014. His research interests include surface planetary processes such as cratering and atmosphere regolith-interactions. He moved from Arecibo to LPI in October 2017.

Research Staff at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory

University of Arizona


Dr. Michael C. Nolan, Senior research scientist

Mike joined the Arecibo Observatory staff in 1995 as a research associate. He participated in the S-band radar upgrade implementation in late-1990's and in programming the data reduction software that is used up until this day. During his time at Arecibo, he held various positions, including Observatory Director from 2008 to 2011 and the Head of Planetary Radar from 2011 to 2015. Mike moved to Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in 2015 to lead the OSIRIS-REx mission science team, but continues to closely collaborate with the planetary radar group at the Arecibo Observatory.

Dr. Ellen S. Howell, Senior research scientist

Ellen joined the Arecibo Observatory staff in 1999 as a computer specialist and research associate. She has spent over 30 years working on spectroscopy and photometry of comets and asteroids at wavelengths ranging from visible to radio. Ellen moved to LPL in 2015 and is currently working with the OSIRIS-REx mission team modeling the thermal emission of asteroids to infer surface properties as well as studying the water comae of comets.


Support Staff


Luisa Zambrano-Marin (AO) Anna McGilvray (AO) Betzaida Aponte (LPI)
Data analyst/observation support Data analyst/observation support Data analyst

Other collaborating institutes


  • Southwest Research Institute
  • University of Maine, Farmington
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • SETI Institute
  • Smithsonian
  • Johnson Space Center
  • Magdalena Ridge Observatory, New Mexico Insitute of Mining and Technology
  • Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias
  • Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

Emeritus


  • Sriram S. Bhiravarasu, Former Postdoctoral Researcher, now Staff Scientist at ISRO
  • Carolina Rodriguez Sanchez-Vahamonde, Former Data Analyst
  • Linda A. Rodriguez-Ford, Former Data analyst
  • Alessondra Springmann, Former Data Analyst
  • John K. Harmon, Retired Staff Scientist
  • Alice A. Hine, Retired Staff Scientist
  • Jean-Luc Margot, Former Postdoctoral Researcher, now Faculty at UCLA
  • Donald B. Campbell, Former Staff Scientist and Site Director, Emeritus Faculty at Cornell University

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