Dennis Bodewits

Associate Research Scientist

Department of Astronomy

University of Maryland

College Park, MD 20742

I am a planetary scientist working on the exploration and observation of comets and asteroids. This site gives an overview of my research interests and most recent work.

My research centers on the activity and evolution of comets and asteroids. In how far do comets represent left-over building blocks from the stuff of which the planets were formed? How are the gases that we see connected to ices in the nucleus? How do comets age?

I try to answer these questions by combining remote, telescopic observations with in-situ exploration by planetary missions (Rosetta, EPOXI, and Stardust NEXT). One of my primary tools is the Swift Gamma-ray observatory.


  1. Rosetta's OSIRIS cameras found aurorae around comet 67P. This emission allows us those to study the interaction between the neutral gas and plasma in the coma at optical wavelengths. [ApJ | ArXiv]

  2. Rosetta found large pits on 67P, are they sinkholes that allow us to peak into the comet's interior? [Nature | Press Release]

  3. Swift first to measure water around Mars-bound comet Siding Spring. Recent production rates here.

  4. NEW Paper: “The Evolving Activity of Dynamically Young Comet C/2009 P1 (Garradd)” [ApJ | ArXiv]

  5. NEW Paper: “Scheila’s Scar: Direct Evidence of Impact Surface Alteration on a Primitive Asteroid” [Icarus | ArXiv]

  6. Charge Exchange: Table of emission lines and charge exchange cross sections


  1. Publications

  2. Full CV: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]


Space missions I am involved in: