Ian P. Griffin

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Dr Ian P. Griffin at the Space Telescope Science Institute. NASA image

Ian P. Griffin (b. 1966) is a British astronomer, discoverer of minor planets and a public spokesman upon scientific matters. He is currently the Director of Otago Museum, Dunedin, New Zealand. Griffin was the CEO of Science Oxford, in Oxford, United Kingdom, and the former head of public outreach at NASA's Space Telescope Science Institute.

Biographical information[edit]

Griffin began his professional life at University College London where he decided to pursue a career combining both astronomical research and public outreach. He was director of the Armagh Planetarium from 1990 to 1995. He then worked at Astronaut Memorial Planetarium and Observatory at Brevard Community College in Cocoa, Florida and Auckland Observatory in New Zealand before accepting the position as head of public outreach at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, US.[1]

From 2004 to 2007 Griffin was director of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.[2]

Griffin studied and trained to be an astronomer. He obtained his PhD in astronomy from University College London, in 1991.[3]

Significant achievements[edit]

Discovered minor planets: 25 [4]
10924 Mariagriffin 29 January 1998 MPC
11678 Brevard 25 February 1998 MPC
13376 Dunphy 15 November 1998 MPC
14179 Skinner 15 November 1998 MPC
17020 Hopemeraengus 24 February 1999 MPC
23988 Maungakiekie 2 September 1999 MPC
23990 Springsteen 4 September 1999 MPC
25273 Barrycarole 15 November 1998 MPC
27120 Isabelhawkins 28 November 1998 MPC
31239 Michaeljames 21 February 1998 MPC
31268 Welty 16 March 1998 MPC
33179 Arsènewenger 29 March 1998 MPC
(44527) 1998 YC6 22 dicembre 1998 MPC
(49291) 1998 VJ 8 November 1998 MPC
(53109) 1999 AD5 12 January 1999 MPC
(66856) 1999 VW22(*) 13 November 1999 MPC
85773 Gutbezahl 25 October 1998 MPC
(101461) 1998 WU7 25 November 1998 MPC
(101462) 1998 WW7 25 November 1998 MPC
(101491) 1998 XA 1 December 1998 MPC
(108736) 2001 OG32(*) 24 July 2001 MPC
(134483) 1998 WK2 19 November 1998 MPC
(135045) 2001 OF32(*) 24 July 2001 MPC
(155487) 1998 WP8 27 November 1998 MPC
(192609) 1999 GY3 12 April 1999 MPC
(*) in collaboration with N. Brady

In his time at Space Telescope, Griffin contributed to the observation and study of a scientifically significant binary asteroid system, known as 1998 WW31.[5] This was only the second such binary system discovered in the Kuiper belt (the other being the Pluto and Charon system) and provided valuable data helping astronomers understand the mass and behaviour of objects in the Kuiper belt.[6]

Via search programmes using small telescopes, Griffin also discovered 26 numbered minor planets between 1998 and 2001.[4] Three of his discoveries were made in collaboration with Australian astronomer Nigel Brady. His discovery include:

However the Mars-crossing asteroid 4995 Griffin is unrelated to him, as it was named after Griffin Swanson the son of its discoverer Steven Roger Swanson.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Trifourki, Sotira (Manchester Astronomical Society) (2005). "Observing Solar System Objects with the Hubble Space Telescope". Retrieved 18 January 2006. 
  2. ^ Ottewell, David (14 January 2004). "Science museum lands space ace". Manchester News. 
  3. ^ Griffin, Ian (2013). "Ian Griffin's Blog". 
  4. ^ a b "Minor Planet Discoverers (by number)". Minor Planet Center. 23 May 2016. Retrieved 19 June 2016. 
  5. ^ Christian Veillet, Joel Wm. Parker; et al. (2002). "The binary Kuiper-belt object 1998 WW31" (PDF). Nature. 416 (18 April 2002): 711–713. doi:10.1038/416711a. PMID 11961547. 
  6. ^ "Hubble Hunts Down Binary Objects at the Fringe of Our Solar System" (Press release). NASA STSci. April 17, 2002. 
  7. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (10924) Mariagriffin. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 749. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3. Retrieved 19 July 2016. 
  8. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (23990) Springsteen. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 873. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3. Retrieved 19 July 2016. 
  9. ^ "33179 Arsenewenger (1998 FY15)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 19 July 2016. 
  10. ^ "4995 Griffin (1984 QR)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 19 July 2016.