Photograph of A'Hearn.
|Died||May 29, 2017 (aged 76)|
|Alma mater||Boston College|
University of Wisconsin–Madison
|Awards||Gerard P. Kuiper Prize|
Michael Francis A'Hearn (November 17, 1940 – May 29, 2017) was an American astronomer and astronomy professor at the University of Maryland College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. He was also the principal investigator for NASA's EPOXI mission.
He received his B.A. in science at Boston College and his Ph.D. in Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He was the principal investigator for the NASA Deep Impact mission. He aided in the development of systems for surveying abundances in comets as well as techniques for determining the sizes of cometary nuclei which uses optical and infrared measurements.
His studies focused on comets as well as asteroids and he also supervises numerous graduate students. He was an elected fellow of the AAAS. He authored over 100 papers published in journals and was also an avid sailor who had a commercial coast guard license.
In June 1986, the main-belt asteroid 3192 A'Hearn, discovered by American astronomer Edward Bowell at Lowell's Anderson Mesa Station in Flagstaff, Arizona, was named after him in honor of his contributions to cometary science.
- NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (2006)
- Gerard P. Kuiper Prize (2008)
- NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (2012)
- NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal (2017)
- "American Men & Women of Science, Vol. 1". Thomson/Gale. 2009. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- "Michael A'Hearn's Astronomy Department Home Page". www.astro.umd.edu. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
- "3192 A'Hearn (1982 BY1)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- "Michael A'Hearn - NASA Watch". nasawatch.com. Retrieved 1 June 2017.