Matthew Knight

United States Naval Academy

Assistant Professor of Astronomy and Physics

I am interested in comets, asteroids, and interstellar objects. My primary areas of study are using comets’ gas and dust coma morphology to infer the rotational properties of their nuclei, obtaining rotational lightcurves of distant or weakly active comet nuclei or asteroids, and exploring the physical properties of objects with extremely small perihelion distances. I am particularly interested in exploring the new discovery space that Rubin Observatory will open up by finding smaller and/or more weakly active objects close to the Sun and more distant comets than are routinely studied today. Many of these objects are likely to straddle the line between traditional “comets” and “asteroids,” and their study will yield new insight into solar system evolution. I anticipate using LSST alerts to identify new objects of interest for further study either via direct analysis of Rubin Observatory data or follow-up observations with other facilities.

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