David C. Jewitt
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He was born in 1958 in England, and is a 1979 graduate of University College, London (UCL). Jewitt received an M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in astronomy at the California Institute of Technology in 1980 and 1983, respectively. His research interests cover all aspects of the solar system, including the trans-Neptunian Solar System, Solar System formation, ice in the asteroids and the physical properties of comets. Along with Jane Luu, he discovered the first Kuiper belt object other than Pluto and its largest moon Charon in 1992 and subsequently identified dozens of additional belt members in a series of pioneering wide field surveys. From these, he discovered that the belt is dynamically divided into regions - the Classical Kuiper belt (circular, uninclined orbits, exemplified by 1992 QB1), the Scattered Kuiper Belt (also called Scattered Disk: large elliptical orbits with perihelion near Neptune, discovered in 1997) and the resonant objects (whose periods are related simply to Neptune's). The resonant objects in the 3:2 mean-motion resonance he called "plutinos" as a reminder that Pluto is one such object. These resonant objects can only be explained if Neptune migrated outwards, opening the door to new models of the solar system in which unsuspected planet-disk and planet-planet interactions can be important.
Jewitt is a member of several national academies. He was awarded the Shaw Prize in 2012 (along with Jane Luu of MIT Lincoln Laboratory) for the "discovery and characterization of trans-Neptunian bodies, an archeological treasure dating back to the formation of the solar system and the long-sought source of short period comets". He was also awarded the Kavli Prize (shared with Luu and Michael Brown) in the same year.
Jewitt is also featured in the 1985 BBC Horizon episode Halley's Comet: The Apparition (season 22, episode 17), which documents how — in October 1982 — he was the first to recover the comet before its 1986 visit.
A selection of his recent publications includes:
- J. Li, D. Jewitt, J. Clover and B. Jackson (2011). Outburst of Comet 17P/Holmes Observed With The Solar Mass Ejection Imager. Astrophysical Journal, 728, 31.
- B. Yang and D. Jewitt (2011). A Near-Infrared Search for Silicates in Jovian Trojan Asteroids. Astronomical Journal, 141, 95-102.
- M. Drahus, D. Jewitt, A. Guilbert-Lepoutre, W. Waniak, J. Hoge, D. Lis, H. Yoshida and R. Peng (2011). Rotation State of Comet 103P/Hartley 2 from Radio Spectroscopy at 1-mm. Ap. J. Lett., 734, L4.
- D. Jewitt, H. Weaver, M. Mutchler, S. Larson and J. Agarwal (2011). Hubble Space Telescope Observations of Main Belt Comet (596) Scheila. Ap. J. Lett., 733, L4
- H. Hsieh, P. Lacerda, M. Ishiguro and D. Jewitt (2011). Physical Properties of Main-Belt Comet 176P/LINEAR. Astronomical Journal, 142:29.
- D. Jewitt, S. Stuart and J. Li (2011). Prediscovery Observations of Disrupting Asteroid P/2010 A2. Astronomical Journal, 142:28.
- A. Guilbert-Lepoutre and D. Jewitt (2011). Thermal Shadows and Compositional Structure in Comet Nuclei. Ap. J. 743, 31
- D. Jewitt and A. Guilbert-Lepoutre (2012). Limits to Ice on Asteroids (24) Themis and (65) Cybele. Astron. J. 143, 21
- Curriculum vitae
- David Jewitt website
- on YouTube about the Kuiper belt, Pan-STARRS, and icy main-belt comets