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Curriculum Vitae

A PDF version of my cv [Last updated 10-6-2014 (HTML version is current)]

Personal Information

Name:Matthew M. Knight

University of Maryland
1113 Physical Sciences Complex, Bldg. 415
College Park, MD 20742
Phone:(301) 405-2629
Fax:(301) 314-9067
Home page:


Graduate: Ph.D. Astronomy, University of Maryland -- 2008 [My dissertation (PDF)] [ADS]
M.S. Astronomy, University of Maryland -- 2003
Undergraduate: B.S. Physics with Distinction, University of Virginia -- 2000

Research Experience

2015-present Associate Research Scientist, Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland
2012-2015 Assistant Research Scientist, Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, AZ
2008-2012 Postdoctoral Research Associate, Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, AZ
2002-2008 Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland
1999 REU, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of New Mexico
1998 Undergraduate Research Assistant, Department of Physics, University of Virginia

Successful Funding Proposals

  1. "Physical and Chemical Studies of Comet Comae and Nuclei" PI: D. Schleicher. Role: Co-I. Commitment 4.0 mo/yr for 3 years. Funded by NASA Solar System Observations Program, 2017.
  2. "Characterizing the properties of near-Sun objects: the least understood class of PHOs" PI: M. Knight. Role: PI. Commitment: 3.6-4.8 mo/yr for 3 years. Funded by NASA Near-Earth Object Observation Program, 2016.
  3. "MESSENGER's special delivery: Serendipitous comet science from the inner Solar System" PI: R. Vervack. Role: Co-I. Commitment: 2.0 mo/yr for 3 years. Funded by NASA Discovery Data Analysis Program, 2015.
  4. "Observational Characterization of Active Main-Belt Comets and Main-Belt Comet Nuclei" PI: H. Hsieh. Role: Co-I. Commitment: 1.5 mo/yr for 3 years. Funded by NASA Solar System Observations Program, 2015.
  5. "Quantitative Studies of Comet Comae and Nuclei" PI: D. Schleicher. Role: Co-I. Commitment: 6.0 mo/yr for 4 years. Funded by NASA Planetary Astronomy Program, 2013.
  6. "Modeling Jet Morphologies in the Comae of Comets 103P/Hartley 2 and Lulin (2007 N3)" PI: D. Schleicher. Role: Co-I. Commitment: 2.0 mo/yr for 3 yr. Funded by NASA Planetary Atmospheres Program, 2013.
  7. "Imaging Polarimetry of the 2013 Comet ISON with ACS: A Study of the Heterogeneous Coma" PI: D. Hines. Role: Co-I. Commitment: 2.0 mo/yr for 1 year. Funded by Space Telescope Science Institute, 2013.
  8. "Hubble Imaging of the Nucleus of Comet ISON" PI: P. Lamy. Role: Co-I. Commitment: 1.0 mo/yr for 1 year. Funded by Space Telescope Science Institute, 2013.
  9. "The First Pre-Perihelion Nucleus Size Measurement of a Sungrazing Comet, C/2012 S1 (ISON)" PI: J.-Y. Li. Role: Co-I. Commitment: 0.5 mo/yr for 1 year. Funded by Space Telescope Science Institute, 2013.
  10. "The Science of Near-Sun Comets" PI: G. Jones. Role: Co-I. Commitment: support for two 1-week workshops. Funded by International Space Science Institute, 2013.
  11. "Investigations of Comets Observed by SOHO and STEREO" PI: M. M. Knight. Role: PI. Commitment: 4.8 mo/yr for 3 years. Funded by NASA Outer Planets Research, 2012.
  12. "High Spatial Resolution Photometric Imaging of the Area Around the Nucleus of C/2011 W3 Lovejoy" PI: M. M. Knight. Role: PI. Commitment: 0.75 mo/yr for 1 year. Funded by Space Telescope Science Institute, 2012.
  13. "Finding Interior Earth Objects in STEREO data" PI: C.I. Fuentes. Role: Co-I. Commitment: 0.0 mo/yr for 3 years. Funded by NASA Near Earth Object Observations Program, 2011.
  14. "Quantitative Analyses of Gas and Dust Coma Morphologies in Comets". PI: D.G. Schleicher. Role: Postdoc. Commitment: 6.6 mo/yr for 3 years. Funded by NASA Planetary Astronomy Program, 2010.
  15. "Study of Sungrazing Comets Observed by SOHO and STEREO". PI: M.M. Knight. Role: PI. Commitment: 4 mo/yr for 3 years. Funded by NASA Planetary Mission and Data Analysis Program, 2009.
  16. "Groundbased Cometary Studies". PI: D.G. Schleicher. Role: Postdoc. Commitment: 1.4 mo/yr for 3 years. Funded by NASA Planetary Astronomy Program, 2008.
  17. "Studies of SOHO Comets". PI: M.F. A'Hearn. Role: Graduate Student. Commitment: 12 mo/yr for 3 years. Funded by NASA Planetary Atmospheres Program, 2005.


  1. NASA group achievement award, Rosetta Alice Instrument Team (2017)
  2. Volunteer of the Month, Lakeland Elementary/Middle School, Baltimore, MD (2016)
  3. NASA Planetary Science Division, Early Career Fellow (2015)
  4. NASA group achievement award, MRO Comet Siding Spring Observing Team (2015)
  5. NASA Planetary Science Division citation, Coordinated Investigation of Comets (2014)
  6. Asteroid 25053 Matthewknight named in my honor (2014)
  7. Travel Grant, Asteroids, Comets, and Meteors Meeting (2014)
  8. NASA achievement award, Comet ISON Observing Campaign team (2013)
  9. Gold Prize, Spotlight on Graduate Research Competition, University of Maryland (2007)
  10. Travel Grant, 35th SAAS-Fee Advanced Course (2005)
  11. Center for Teaching Excellence Outstanding Teaching Assistant (2001, 2002)
  12. Department of Astronomy Outstanding Teaching Assistant (2001, 2002)

Invited Talks

  1. Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ (December 2017)
  2. University College London, London, UK (January 2017)
  3. Mullard Space Science Center, Surrey, UK (January 2017)
  4. Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK (March 2016)
  5. Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, AZ (April 2015)
  6. Universite de Liege, Liege, Belgium (April 2015)
  7. Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), Moscow, Russia (August 2014)
  8. Asteroids, Comets, Meteors Conference (ACM), Helsinki, Finland (July 2014)
  9. Purdue University, Lafayette, IN (April 2014)
  10. Max Planck, Gottingen, Germany (February 2014)
  11. European Space Agency, Noordwijk, Netherlands (February 2014)
  12. University of Toledo, Toledo, OH (February 2014)
  13. Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, AZ (November 2013)
  14. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Colloquium, Greenbelt, MD (October 2013)
  15. Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO (May 2013)
  16. Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado Boulder (May 2013)
  17. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Heliophysics Science Division, Greenbelt, MD (April 2013)
  18. Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD (November 2012)
  19. Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institute of Washington, Washington D.C. (January 2008, December 2011)
  20. Lowell Observatory, NAU Dept of Physics/Astronomy, US Naval Observatory Joint Colloquium, Flagstaff, AZ (April 2009, June 2013)
  21. NASA Challenger Center, Alexandria, VA (December 2003)

Submitted Publications

  1. Raymond, J.C., Downs, C., Knight, M.M., Battams, K., Giordano, S., Rosati, Richard. Comet C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy) between 2 and 10 Solar Radii: Physical Parameters of the Comet and the Corona. ApJ, submitted.
  2. Holler, B., and 31 co-authors (includes Knight, M.M.. 2017. "Solar System science with the Wide-Field InfraRed Survey Telescope (WFIRST)". PASP, submitted [arXiv][ADS]

Refereed Publications

References and citation count according to Google scholar. Also my ADS Library and my ORCID profile.
  1. Bodewits, D., Farnham, T.L., Kelley, M.S.P., Knight, M.M. 2018. A rapid decrease in the rotation rate of comet 41P/Tuttle–Giacobini–Kresák. Nature 553, 186-188. [arXiv] [Nature]
  2. Feldman, P.D., A'Hearn, M.F., Bertaux, J.-L., Feaga, L.M., Keeney, B.A., Knight, M.M., Noonan, J., Parker, J.Wm., Schindhelm, E., Steffl, A.J., Stern, S.A., Vervack, R.J., Weaver, H.A. 2018. FUV Spectral Signatures of Molecules and the Evolution of the Gaseous Coma of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. AJ, 155, 9 (9pp.). [arXiv][ADS]
  3. Jones, G.H., Knight, M.M., Battams, K., Boice, D., Brown, J., Giordano, S., Raymond, J., Snodgrass, C., Steckloff, J., Weissman, P., Fitzsimmons, A., Lisse, C., Opitom, C., Birkett, K.S., Bzowski, M., Decock, A., Mann, I., Ramanjooloo, Y., McCauley, P. 2018. The Science of Sungrazers, Sunskirters, and other Near-Sun Comets. Space Science Reviews, 214, 20 (86 pp.). [SSR]
  4. Knight, M.M., Protopapa, S., Kelley, M.S.P., Farnham, T.L., Bauer, J.M., Bodewits, D., Feaga, L.M., Sunshine, J.M. 2017. On the rotation period and shape of the hyperbolic asteroid 1I/‘Oumuamua (2017 U1) from its lightcurve. ApJ, 851, L31 (5pp.) [arXiv][ADS]
  5. Knight, M.M., Snodgrass, C., Vincent, J.-B., Conn, B.C., Skiff, B.A., Schleicher, D.G., Lister, T. 2017. Gemini and Lowell Observations of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko During the Rosetta Mission. MNRAS, 469, S661-S674. [arXiv][ADS]
  6. Eisner, N., Knight, M.M., Schleicher, D.G. 2017. The Rotation and Other Properties of Comet 49P/Arend-Rigaux, 1984-2012. AJ, 154, 196 (18 pp.). [arXiv][ADS]
  7. Snodgrass, C., Agarwal, J., Combi, M., Fitzsimmons, A., Guilbert-Lepoutre, A., Hsiesh, H.H., Hui, M.-T., Jehin, E., Kelley, M.S.P., Knight, M.M., Opitom, C., Orosei, R., de Val-Borro, M., Yang, B. The Main Belt Comets and Ice in the Solar System. A&A Review, 25, 5 (59pp.). [arXiv][ADS]
  8. Battams, K., Knight, M.M. 2017. SOHO Comets: 20-Years and 3,000 Objects Later. Philosophical Transactions A., 375, 20160257 (19 pp). [Phil. Trans. A] [arXiv][ADS]
  9. Snodgrass, C., et al. (includes Knight, M.M.) 2017. The 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko observation campaign in support of the Rosetta mission. Philosophical Transactions A., 375, 20160249 (22 pp). [Phil. Trans. A] [arXiv] [ADS]
  10. Grun, E., et al. (includes Knight, M.M.) 2016. The 19 Feb. 2016 Outburst of Comet 67P/CG: A Rosetta Multi-Instrument Study. MNRAS, 462, S220-S234. [ADS]
  11. Schleicher, D.G., Knight, M.M. 2016. The extremely low activity comet 209P/LINEAR during its extraordinary close approach in 2014. AJ, 152, 89. [arXiv][ADS]
  12. Knight, M.M., Fitzsimmons, A., Kelley, M.S.P., Snodgrass, C. 2016. Comet 322P/SOHO 1: An asteroid with the smallest perihelion distance? ApJL, 823, L6 (6pp). [arXiv][ADS]
  13. Snodgrass, C., Jehin, E., Manfroid, J., Opitom, C., Fitzsimmons, A., Tozzi, G.P., Faggi, S., Knight, M.M., Conn, B.C., Lister, T., Hainaut, O., Bramich, D.M., Lowry, S.C., Rozek, A., Tubiana, C., Guilbert-Lepoutre, A. 2015. The distant activity of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014: Ground-based results during the Rosetta pre-landing phase. A&A, 588, A80 (12 pp). [arXiv][ADS]
  14. Kelley, M.S.P., Woodward, C.E., Bodewits, D., Farnham, T.L., Gudipati, M., Harker, D.E., Hines, D.C., Knight, M.M., Kolokolova, L., Li, A., de Pater, I., Protopapa, S., Russell, R.W., Sitko, M.L., Wooden, D.H. 2015. Cometary Science with the James Webb Space Telescope. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 128, 018009 (13 pp). [arXiv][ADS]
  15. Samarasinha, N.H., Mueller, B.E.A., Knight, M.M., Farnham, T.L., and 43 colleagues. 2015. Results from the Worldwide Coma Morphology Campaign for Comet ISON (C/2012 S1). Planetary and Space Science, 118, 127-137. [PSS][ADS]
  16. Zubko, E., Videen, G., Hines, D.C., Shkuratov, Y., Kaydash, V., Muinonen, K., Knight, M.M., Sitko, M.L., Lisse, C.M., Mutchler, M., Wooden, D.H., Li, J.-Y., Kobayashi, H. 2015. Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) coma composition at ~4 au from HST observations. Planetary and Space Science, 118, 138-163. [ADS]
  17. Bemporad, A., Giordano, S., Raymond, J.C., Knight, M.M. 2015. Study of sungrazing comets with space-based coronagraphs: new possibilities offered by METIS on board Solar Orbiter. Advances in Space Research, 56, 2288-2297. [ADS]
  18. Hui, M.-T., Ye, Q.-Z., Knight, M.M., Battams, K., Clark, D. 2015. Gone in a Blaze of Glory: the Demise of Comet C/2015 D1 (SOHO). ApJ, 813, 73 (17pp). [arXiv][ADS]
  19. Knight, M.M., Mueller, B.E.A., Samarasinha, N.H., Schleicher, D.G. 2015. A Further Investigation of Apparent Periodicities and the Rotational State of Comet 103P/Hartley 2 from Combined Coma Morphology and Lightcurve Datasets. AJ, 150, 22 (14 pp). [arXiv][ADS]
  20. Knight, M.M., Schleicher, D.G. 2015. Observations of Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) from Lowell Observatory. AJ, 149, 19 (15 pp). [arXiv][ADS]
  21. Knight, M.M., Battams, K. 2014. Preliminary Analysis of SOHO/STEREO Observations of Sungrazing Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) Around Perihelion. ApJ, 782, L37 (5pp). [arXiv] [ADS]
  22. Knight, M.M., Walsh, K.J. 2013. Will Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) Survive Perihelion? ApJ, 776, L5 (5pp). [arXiv] [ADS]
  23. Schleicher, D.G., Knight, M.M., Levine, S.E. 2013. The Nucleus of Comet 10P/Tempel 2 in 2013 and Consequences Regarding Its Rotational State: Early Science from the Discovery Channel Telescope. AJ, 146:137 (8pp). [arXiv][ADS]
  24. Li, J.-Y., Kelley, M.S.P., Knight, M.M., Farnham, T.L., Weaver, H.A., A'Hearn, M.F., Mutchler, M.J., Kolokolova, L., Lamy, P., Toth, I. 2013. Characterizing the Dust Coma of Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) at 4.15 AU from the Sun. ApJ, 779, L3. [arXiv][ADS]
  25. Hines, D.C., Videen, G., Zubko, E., Muinonen, K., Shkuratov, Y., Kaydaash, V.G., Knight, M.M., Sitko, M.L., Lisse, C.M., Mutchler, M., Hammer, D., Yanamandra-Fisher, P.A. 2013. Hubble Space Telescope Pre-Perihelion ACS/WFC Imaging Polarimetry of Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) at 3.81 AU. ApJ, 780, L32 (6pp). [arXiv][ADS]
  26. Lamy, P., Faury, G., Llebaria, A., Knight, M., A'Hearn, M.F., Battams, K. 2013. Sunskirting Comets Discovered with the LASCO Coronagraphs Over the Decade 1996-2008. Icarus, 226, 1350-1398 [ADS]
  27. Knight, M.M., Schleicher, D.G. 2013. The Highly Unusual Outgassing of Comet 103P/Hartley 2 from Narrowband Photometry and Imaging of the Coma. Icarus, 222, 691-706. [pre-print][Icarus][ADS]
  28. Lisse, C.M., Christian, D.J., Wolk, S., Dennerl, K., Bodewits, D., Combi, M.R., Lepri, S.T., Zurbuchen, T.H., Dello Russo, N., Belton, M.J.S., Knight, M.M. 2013. Chandra ACIS-S Imaging Spectroscopy of Rotationally Modulated X-ray Emission From Comet 103P/Hartley 2 During the EPOXI Encounter. Icarus, 222, 752-765. [Icarus][ADS]
  29. Knight, M.M., Schleicher, D.G., Farnham, T.L., Schwieterman, E.W., Christensen, S.R. 2012. A Quarter-Century of Observations of Comet 10P/Tempel 2 at Lowell Observatory: Continued Spin-Down, Coma Morphology, Production Rates, and Numerical Modeling. The Astronomical Journal, 144:153 (25pp). [pre-print][ADS]
  30. Hsieh, H.H., and 38 colleagues (including Knight, M.M.). 2011. Observational and Dynamical Characterization of Main-Belt Comet P/2010 R2 (La Sagra). The Astronomical Journal 143:104 (16pp) [ADS][pre-print]
  31. Knight, M.M., Schleicher, D.G. 2011. CN Morphology Studies of Comet 103P/Hartley 2. The Astronomical Journal 141:183 (14pp). [ADS] [pre-print] [AJ Cover]
  32. Meech, K.J., and 191 colleagues (including Knight, M.M.). 2011. EPOXI: Observations from a Worldwide Earth-Based Campaign. The Astrophysical Journal Letters 734:L1 (9pp). [ADS]
  33. Knight, M.M., Farnham, T.L., Schleicher, D.G., Schwieterman, E.W. 2011. The Increasing Rotation Period of Comet 10P/Tempel 2. The Astronomical Journal 141:2 (14pp) [ADS][pre-print]
  34. Knight, M.M., A'Hearn, M.F., Biesecker, D.A., Faury, G., Hamilton, D.P., Lamy, P., Llebaria, A. 2010. Photometric Study of the Kreutz Comets Observed by SOHO from 1996-2005. The Astronomical Journal 139, 926-949. [ADS][reprint]
  35. Farnham, T.L., Samarasinha, N.H., Mueller, B.E.A., Knight, M.M. 2007. Cyanogen Jets and the Rotation State of Comet Machholz (C/2004 Q2). The Astronomical Journal, 133, 2001-2007. [ADS][reprint]
  36. Knight, M.M., Walsh, K.J., A'Hearn, M.F., Swaters, R.A., Zauderer, B.A., Samarasinha, N., Vasquez, R., Reitsema, H. 2007. Ground-based Visible and Near-IR Observations of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 During the Deep Impact Encounter. Icarus 187, 199-207. [ADS][reprint] Also published in the Deep Impact at Comet Tempel 1 book (M.F. A'Hearn and M.R. Combi editors), Icarus 191, 403-411. [ADS]
  37. Meech, K. J., and 207 colleagues (including M. Knight). 2005. Deep Impact: Observations from a Worldwide Earth-Based Campaign. Science, 310, 265-269. [ADS]

Other Publications

  1. Jones, G., Knight, M.M., Fitzsimmons, A., Taylor, M.G.G.T. 2017. Cometary science after Rosetta. Philosophical Transactions A., 375, 20170001 (6 pp). [Phil. Trans. A][ADS]

IAU Circulars & Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams

  1. Bodewits, D.B., Farnham, T.L., Knight, M.M., Siegel, M. COMET 41P/TUTTLE-GIACOBINI-KRESAK. CBET 4400. [CBAT] (subscription required)
  2. Knight, M.M., Eisner, N., Schleicher, D.G., Thirouin, A. COMET 41P/TUTTLE-GIACOBINI-KRESAK. CBET 4377. [CBAT] (subscription required)
  3. Farnham, T.L., Kelley, M.S.P., Bodewits, D., Knight, M.M., Thirouin, A., Moskovitz, N. COMET 41P/TUTTLE-GIACOBINI-KRESAK. CBET 4375. [CBAT] (subscription required)
  4. Fitzsimmons, A., Knight, M. 2017. COMET P/2017 B1 = 2010 EY_90 (LEMMON). CBET 4349. [CBAT] (subscription required)
  5. Knight, M., Schleicher, D. 2016. COMET 252P/LINEAR. CBET 4271. [CBAT] (subscription required)
  6. Knight, M.M., Kelley, M.S.P., Protopapa, S. 2016. COMET P/2016 BA14 (PANSTARRS). CBET 4257. [CBAT] (subscription required)
  7. Knight, M. 2015. Comet C/2015 D1 (SOHO). CBET 4067. [CBAT] (subscription required)
  8. Knight, M., Skiff, B. 2014. Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring). CBET 4004. [CBAT] (subscription required)
  9. Knight, M. 2013. Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON). CBET 3731. [ADS]
  10. Lisse, C.M., Vervack, R.J., Weaver, H.A., Bauer, J.M., Fernandez, Y.R., Kelley, M.S.P., Knight, M.M., Hines, D., Li, J.-Y., Reach, W., Sitko, M.L., Yanamandra-Fisher, P.A. 2013. Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON). CBET 3598. [ADS]
  11. Li, J.-Y., Weaver, H.A., Kelley, M.S., A'Hearn, M.F., Farnham, T.L., Knight, M., Mutchler, M.J., Lamy, P., Toth, I. 2013. Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON). CBET 3496. [ADS]
  12. Knight, M., Schleicher, D. 2010. Comet 103P/Hartley. IAU Circ. 9175. [ADS]
  13. Knight, M., Schleicher, D. 2010. Comet 103P/Hartley. IAU CBET 2512. [ADS]
  14. Knight, M., Schwieterman, E., Schleicher, D. 2010. Comet 103P/Hartley. IAU Circ. 9163. [ADS] [Also CBET 2418 -- subscription required].
  15. Knight, M.. 2010. Comet C/2010 H3 (SOHO). IAU Circ. 9138. [ADS] [Also CBET 2256]
  16. Knight, M. and Schleicher, D. 2009. Comet C/2007 N3 (Lulin). IAU Circ. 9025. [ADS]
  17. Knight, M. 2007. P/2007 R5 = 1999 R1 = 2003 R5 (SOHO). IAU Circ. 8872. [ADS]

Refereed Archived Datasets

  1. Knight, M.M. Begun, J., and Bair, A.N., SOHO LASCO Comet Images V2.0. SOHO-C-LASCO-3-DATASET_ID_TBD-V2.0. NASA Planetary Data System, SUBMITTED.
  2. Knight, M.M., Begun, J., and Bair, A.N., SOHO LASCO Comet Photometry V2.0. SOHO-C-LASCO-5-DATASET_ID_TBD-V2.0. NASA Planetary Data System, SUBMITTED.
  3. Knight, M.M., STEREO SECCHI Comet Images V1.0. SOHO-C-LASCO-3-DATASET_ID_TBD-V1.0. NASA Planetary Data System, SUBMITTED.
  4. Knight, M.M., STEREO SECCHI Comet Photometry V1.0. STEREO-C-SECCHI-5-DATASET_ID_TBD-V1.0. NASA Planetary Data System, SUBMITTED.
  5. Knight, M.M. 2009. "SOHO LASCO Comet Photometry V1.0", NASA Planetary Data System, SOHO-C-LASCO-5-KREUTZPHOTOM-V1.0 [PDS holding][ADS]
  6. Knight, M.M. 2008. "SOHO LASCO COMET IMAGES V1.0", NASA Planetary Data System, SOHO-C-LASCO-4-COMETIMAGES-V1.0 [PDS holding][ADS]
  7. Knight, M.M. 2007. "Near-infrared images of comet 9P/Tempel 1 V1.0", NASA Planetary Data System, DI/EAR-C-SQIID-3-9PNIRIMAGES-V1.0 [PDS holding][ADS]

Published Abstracts and Conference Proceedings

[I have more than 80 published abstracts and conference proceedings. Click here for a full list]

Observing Experience

I have been PI or Co-I on numerous successful external telescope proposals. These are summarized below and listed in detail here.
Hubble Space Telescope 60 orbits of imaging and spectroscopy of comets in optical and UV wavelengths
Spitzer Space Telescope 29.6 hr imaging comets in thermal-IR wavelengths
Swift 2 orbits imaging comets in UV and optical wavelengths
K2 (Kepler) Campaign 2 optical imaging of a comet
Gemini South Cerro Panchon, Chile: 27.5 hr imaging comets in optical and near-IR wavelengths
Gemini North Mauna Kea, HI: 23.6 hr imaging and spectroscopy of comets in optical and near-IR wavelengths (observations ongoing)
Very Large Telescope (VLT) Paranal, Chile: 0.5 nights + 2.5 hr imaging comets in broadband optical
VLT Survey Telescope (VST) Paranal, Chile: 30 hr awarded (9 hr used) imaging comets in broadband optical
Isaac Newton Tel. (INT) La Palma, Spain: 4 nights imaging comets in broadband optical filters
SOAR Cerro Pachon, Chile: 3.5 nights imaging comets and asteroids in broadband optical filters
Discovery Channel Telescope (Lowell 4.3-m) Flagstaff, AZ: 50+ nights imaging comets in broadband optical filters. Data acquired on numerous additional nights by collaborators.
Lowell 42in Flagstaff, AZ: 120+ nights imaging comets in broadband and narrowband optical filters
Lowell 31in (robotic mode) Flagstaff, AZ: 240+ nights imaging comets in broadband and narrowband optical filters
Lowell 72in Flagstaff, AZ: 2 night imaging comets in broadband and narrowband optical filters
KPNO 4m Kitt Peak, AZ: 9 nights surveying for Kreutz sungrazing comets and imaging comets in optical wavelengths
KPNO 2.1m Kitt Peak, AZ: 26 nights imaging comets in optical and near-IR wavelengths
McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope Kitt Peak, AZ: 17 days acquiring spectra of comets and Mercury in optical wavelengths
Las Cumbres Observatory multiple locations: 14 nights imaging comets in optical wavelengths
Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT) Mt Graham, AZ: 1 night imaging suspected dead comets. Data acquired on numerous additional nights by collaborators.

Professional Experience

  1. Referee for The Astronomical Journal, The Astrophysical Journal, ApJ Letters, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Icarus, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Nature, Planetary and Space Science, Science [>20 manuscripts since 2008]
  2. Referee for Origins of the Expanding Universe (conference proceedings)
  3. Member of the jury, Ph.D. defense of Cyrielle Opitom (University of Liege), 2016.
  4. Review panelist for NASA Discovery Mission, NASA Planetary Atmospheres, Hubble Space Telescope, Kepler K2, PDS Small Bodies Node
  5. External reviewer for NASA Planetary Atmospheres, NASA Planetary Mission Data Analysis, NASA Outer Planets Research, NASA Origins, NASA Emergy Worlds, CCI International Time Programmes, CFHT CanTAC
  6. Reviewer for NASA Frontier Development Lab summer research projects
  7. International Space Science Institute (ISSI) International Team member for "The Science of Near-Sun Comets," Bern, Switzerland, March 3-8, 2014 & March 23-27, 2015. [ISSI]
  8. International Space Science Institute (ISSI) International Team member for "Main Belt Comets," Bern, Switzerland, January 9-13, 2017. [ISSI]
  9. Co-organizer of 4*P Coma Morphology Campaign, 2016-present.
  10. Member of NASA's Comet ISON Observing Professional-Amateur collaboration team, 2013
  11. Member of NASA's Coordinated Investigations of Comets team, 2013-2014.
  12. James Web Space Telescope Comet Science Working Group. Lead: Chick Woodward (2014-2015)
  13. Co-organizer and journal editor of Royal Society Discussion Meeting: Cometary Science after Rosetta, June 2016. Accompanying journal table of contents.
  14. Co-organizer of Comet ISON Morphology Professional-Amateur collaboration, 2013
  15. Co-organizer of Comet ISON Post-Perihelion Tag-up Workshop, Laurel, MD, December 6, 2013
  16. Co-organizer of Comet ISON Observer's Workshop, Laurel, MD, August 1-2, 2013
  17. Convener of AGU Special Session Sun-Grazing Comets as Solar Probes: What Goes on Behind the Occulter Disk? Fall 2012
  18. Scientific Organizing Committee for Comet Lovejoy Workshop, Boulder, CO, March 21-22, 2012
  19. Co-organizer of 103P/Hartley 2 Rotation Workshop April 2011
  20. Session chair for AAS Division of Planetary Sciences meeting, Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, American Geophysical Union meeting
  21. Maintenance of Named Comets website for Committee on Small Body Nomenclature, IAU Division III, 2002-2008

Leadership Activities

  1. Planetary Astronomy seminar organizer, UMD (2016-present)
  2. Colloquium co-Organizer, Lowell Observatory (2010-2011)
  3. Website Working Group, Lowell Observatory (2009)
  4. Graduate student president, UMD Department of Astronomy (2000-2008)
  5. Captain, UMD Astronomy Department intramural soccer, basketball, and football teams (2001-2008)
  6. Student representative, UMD Astronomy Department Graduate Curriculum Review Committee (2003)
  7. Student representative, UMD Astronomy Department Chair Search Committee (2002)

Teaching and Outreach

  1. I regularly give public talks to audiences of all ages. A partial list is here.
  2. Visiting teacher, Baltimore ProjectASTRO (2011-present)
  3. Judge, Lakeland Middle School (Baltimore, MD) science fair (2014-present) [Twitter]
  4. Reddit "Ask Me Anything", [Comet ISON pre-perihelion][Comet ISON post-perihelion][Comet Siding Spring]
  5. Public program volunteer, Lowell Observary (2010-2011)
  6. Visiting teacher, Lowell Observatory-Navajo/Hopi outreach program (2009-2010)
  7. Mentor, Northern Arizona University REU program (2009)
  8. College Park Scholars Astronomy/Geology spring break trip (guide at Lowell) (2009, 2011)
  9. Maryland Day Volunteer, University of Maryland (2001-2007)
  10. Math/science substitute teacher, Henrico County, Virginia (2001)
  11. Graduate Assistant, University of Maryland Observatory (2000-2008)
  12. Teaching Assistant, ASTR 100 "Introduction to Astronomy", University of Maryland (Fall 2000-Spring 2002)

Advising Experience

  1. Anibal Quiroz Moreyra, University of Maryland undergraduate student (2017) Supervised data analysis of Near-Earth Asteroids
  2. Nora Eisner, University of Maryland/University of Sheffield undergraduate student (2016-2017) Supervised data acquisition, image processing, photometric reductions, and analysis of comets 49P/Arend-Rigaux and 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Zinner. Resulted in one refereed paper and one CBET
  3. Allison Bair, Lowell Observatory research assistant (2014-present) Supervised photometric reductions and analysis of sungrazing comets
  4. Michaela Fendrock, Wellesley College undergraduate student (January 2013) Lightcurve analysis of comets 10P/Tempel 2 and 103P/Hartley 2
  5. Samantha Christensen, Lowell Observatory research assistant (2011-2013) Supervised image processing and analysis of comets 10P/Tempel 2 and 103P/Hartley 2. Resulted in a refereed publication
  6. Eddie Schwieterman, Florida Institute of Technology undergraduate student (summer 2009, 2010) Supervised photometric reductions, image processing, and analysis of comet 10P/Tempel 2; trained in optical ground-based observing. Resulted in two refereed publications
  7. Jason Begun, University of Maryland undergraduate student (2009-2012) Supervised photometric reductions of sungrazing comets and maintainence of comet discovery database and website

Technical Skills

  1. Astronomical techniques: Planning and executing observations (optical/near-IR), Data reduction and analysis (optical/near-IR), Image enhancement, Data mining (SOHO, STEREO), Dynamical modeling (HNBody), Numerical modeling (DataDesk)
  2. Astronomical software: IRAF (optical/IR), DS9
  3. Programming languages: IDL, C, HTML, Awk, Unix shell scripts
  4. Other software: plotting (Supermongo), Spreadsheets (Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice), Word Processing (Microsoft Word, LaTeX), Operating systems (Mac OS X, Windows, Linux/Unix)

Additional Training/Workshops

  1. SPICE Training Class (2014) [NAIF]
  2. Cometary Radio Astronomy Workshop (2010) [webpage]
  3. 35th SAAS-Fee Advanced Course on Trans-Neptunian Objects and Comets (2005) [book]
  4. Kitt Peak Summer School, University of Maryland (2004)
  5. BIMA Summer School (2001)


  1. International Astronomical Union
  2. Committee on Space Research
  3. American Astronomical Society
  4. Division for Planetary Sciences of American Astronomical Society
  5. Historical Astronomy Division of American Astronomical Society

Popular Articles

  1. Knight, M. 2015. "Addressing some common questions about Comet Lovejoy" Planetary Society
  2. Knight, M. 2014. "What is the chance that Earth could pass through the debris field of Comet ISON and get a meteor shower?" Astronomy Magazine, August 2014
  3. Knight, M. 2013. "The Science of Comets" Astronomy Magazine, November 2013 [cover story]
  4. Knight, M. 2013. Comet ISON Observing Campaign Blog [article index] "Why does ISON look green?" reposted on The Planetary Society [Guest blog]
  5. Knight, M. 2012. "Could we detect a comet or asteroid hitting the Sun?" Astronomy Magazine, December 2012 [subscription required to read whole article].
  6. Knight, M. 2012. "Comet Lovejoy," Lowell Observer, June 2012.
  7. Knight, M. 2011. "The Survival of Comet Lovejoy (C/2011 W3), A Once in a Generation Event," Lowell Observatory Blog [Link]
  8. Knight, M. 2009. "Comet Lulin Zooming By Us," Lowell Observer, December 2009. [PDF]
  9. Knight, M. 2009. Baseball Prospectus Idol competition. [Author Index],[#6],[#5],[#4],[#3],[#2],[#1]
  10. Knight, M.M. 2006. "Sungrazing Comets", Zenit (The Netherlands), February 2006 issue, 56-61.

Selected Media Coverage

I now have an IMDB page!
  1. Planetary Science (general) (2013-2017)
    --"Telescope Takeover" BBC Four's "The Sky at Night", February 2017
    [streaming not available in U.S.; screenshot]
    --"Complete destruction of a comet", August 2016
    --"A second minor planet may possess Saturn-like rings" MIT News, March 2015
    --"Why You'll Never Seen a Red Comet Like in Game of Thrones" The Universe Today, March 2013

  2. Phaethon (2017)
    --"The biggest meteor shower of the year peaks this week. Here’s how to watch." Washington Post, December 2017

  3. 1I/'Oumuamua (2017)
    --"Update on `Oumuamua, Our First Interstellar Object" Sky and Telescope, November 2017

  4. 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak (2017-2018)
    --"Swift Mission Catches a Comet Slowdown [Video]" NASA, January 2018.
    --"NASA's newly renamed Swift Mission spies a comet slowdown", January 2018
    --"What the Hell Is Going on With This Comet?" Gizmodo, January 2018
    --"Astronomers spinning out over comet rotation" Cosmos, January 2018
    --"Spinning Comet Slows Down During Close Approach to Earth" UMD, January 2018
    --Spinning comet observed to rapidly slow down during close approach to Earth Lowell Observatory, October 2017 [Reposted on]

  5. 4*P Coma Morphology Campaign (2016-2017)
    --Comet Campaign: Amateurs Wanted BSAS, February 2017
    --Astronomers Primed to Track Spectacular Comet Encounters, December 2016
    --Tucson scientists put out call for pictures of three near-earth objects Tucson News Now, November 2016
    --Worldwide pro-am help sought for comet trio study Astronomy Now, November 2016

  6. Sungrazing comets (general) (2011-2016)
    --"Some Sungrazing Comets May Be Different Beasts", November 2016. Also reported at
    --"Arvoituksellinen pikkukomeettojen myrsky alkoi Jättiläinen tulossa?" [in Finnish], Tahdet ja avaruus (Stars and Space), Spring 2011
    --"Sundiving Comet Storm" NASA Science News, January 2011. Also picked up in various forms by other websites including National Geographic and

  7. 209P/LINEAR (2016)
    --A Comet in Disguise Lowell Observatory, October 2016

  8. 322P/SOHO 1 (2016)
    --Identity-crisis comet may really be closest asteroid to the sun New Scientist, May 2016

  9. P/2016 BA14 PanSTARRS & 252P/LINEAR (2016)
    -- "One comet to swerve closer to Earth than any other comet in centuries" USA Today, March 2016
    -- "Historic double comet flyby coming Monday and Tuesday: Here's what you need to know" Los Angeles Times, March 2016
    -- "When Is an Asteroid Not an Asteroid? When It’s a Chunk of a Comet." Bad Astronomy, February 2016
    --Comet Flyby One of the Closest in Centuries, February 2016

  10. C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy (2015)
    --"Picture of the Week: Comet Lovejoy" NPR's Science Friday, January 2015
    --"Comet Lovejoy in Flagstaff Sky Near Pleiades" Arizona Daily Sun, January 2015

  11. Rosetta & 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (2014-2015)
    --"Comet Observed from Earth" ESA Space in Images Gallery, August 2015
    --"Gemini Spots Rosetta on its Way Back to the Sun" Gemini Observatory Blog, August 2015
    --"Rosetta's Big Day in the Sun" ESA Rosetta Blog, August 2015
    --"Gemini Images Comet Hours Before Probe's Landing" Gemini Observatory press release, November 2014

  12. C/2012 S1 ISON (2013-2014)
    --"Comet of the Century" BBC Horizons, December 2013
    --"Supercomet ISON 2013" Science Channel, December 2013
    --NHK Japan, December 2013 [no link known]
    --"Life and Legacy of ISON" Voice of America News, December 2013 [Segment begins at 17:37 mark]
    --BBC radio, November 29, 2013 [no link known]
    --"Newshour: Comet ISON grazes the Sun" BBC radio, November 28, 2013
    --"Comet ISON is coming!" The Naked Scientist podcast, October 2013
    --"Death of a comet" Nature, February 2014
    --"What Happened to Comet ISON?" NASA Science News, December 2013
    --"Thanksgiving Comet Gets Gobbled Up" The Wall Street Journal, November 2013
    --"Scientists baffled by new picures of Comet ISON" CBS News, November 2013
    --"Close Encounters," Wired Magazine, November 2013, p. 110 [print edition]
    --"Komeetta ISON Jannitysta viimeiseen asti," Tahdet Ja Avaruus (Finland), November 2013, p. 68 [print edition]
    --"Latest Updates on Comet ISON" Sky and Telescope, November 2013
    --"Comet ISON puts on a show. Will it survive its solar flyby?" Christian Science Monitor, November 2013
    --"Comet from the Oort Cloud Careens toward the Sun" Scientific American, November 2013
    --"Oort cloud tosses astronomers a cometary curveball" Science News, October 2013
    --"Comet expected to survive close Sun encounter" Nature, October 2013
    --"ISON's chances for survival 50/50" Sky and Telescope, October 2013
    --"Comet ISON likely to survive solar plunge" Discovery News, October 2013
    --"New data: will Comet ISON survive its close perihelion passage?" Universe Today, October 2013
    --"Amateur Astronomers See Comet ISON" NASA Science News, September 2013
    --"Comet ISON: Sparkle or Fade?", September 2013
    --"Mighty Comet ISON: Space and Earth Telescopes to Track 'Comet of the Century'", August 2013. Also appeared on NBC news
    --"Rumors of Comet ISON 'Fizzling' May be Greatly Exaggerated" The Universe Today, July 2013
    --"Hubble Captures Comet ISON" NASA press release, April 2013
    --"NASA's Swift Sizes Up Comet ISON" NASA press release, March 2013
    --"Comet of the Century?" NASA Science News, January 2013 [video version]. Also picked up by a number of other websites.

  13. Discovery Channel Telescope & Comet 10P/Tempel 2 (2013)
    --"Arizona's oldest observatory has first results from its newest telescope" Arizona Daily Star (Tucson), October 2013
    --"Lowell's Discovery Channel Telescope marks milestone"Arizona Daily Sun (Flagstaff)

  14. C/2011 L4 Pan-STARRS (2013)
    --"Sunset Comet" NASA Science News, March 2013 [video version].
    --"A possible Naked-Eye Comet in March" NASA Science News, March 2013 [video version]. Also picked up by a number of other websites.

  15. C/2011 N3 SOHO (2012)
    --"Solar Swan Song: NASA Satellite Witnesses a Comet's Plunge into the Sun" Scientific American, January 2012
    "Some Comets Like It Hot" NASA Science News, January 2012 [video version].

  16. C/2011 W3 Lovejoy (2011)
    --"Comet Lovejoy Plunges into the Sun and Survives" NASA Science News, December 2011

  17. EPOXI & 103P/Hartley 2 (2011)
    --"Hyperactive Hartley 2 Has a Split History" EPSC-DPS press release, October 2011. Also picked up by a number of other websites.

  18. C/2007 N3 Lulin (2009)
    --"Comet Lulin (2007 N3): a Detailed Look at a Corkscrew Morphology & the Fascinating 3-D Problem of Lulin's Rotation by Lowell Observatory" Lowell Observatory Blog, October 2009
    --"Seeing Lulin, Once in a Million Years" Discovery Channel, October 2009

  19. 10P/Tempel 2 (2009)
    --"Comet 10P/Tempel 2's Nucleus Rotation Determined to Within 10 Seconds" Lowell Observatory Blog, October 2009

  20. Deep Impact & 9P/Tempel 1 (2005)
    --"NASA probes comet for deeper understanding" Arizona Daily Wildcat, July 2005
    --"More than 40 Nights of Kitt Peak Observations of NASA's Deep Impact Comet to Culminate on July 3", June 2005

Last updated 11-Jan-2018