Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor and Professor of Planetary Astronomy
Mike Brown is an expert in planetary astronomy.
Areas of Expertise:
Mike Brown, sometimes known as "the astronomer who killed Pluto," discovered the dwarf planet Eris, a trans-Neptunian object larger than Pluto. With Chad Trujillo, he discovered Quaoar, the largest known Kuiper Belt object, and Sedna, the most distant object known to orbit the sun. Brown investigates the solar system and planetary systems using both ground and spacecraft-based observations. In particular, he and his research group study Kuiper Belt objects, dwarf planets, Titan, other icy satellites, extra-solar planetary systems (from brown dwarfs to stellar disks), and the occasional inner solar system body. They use data from Palomar and Keck Observatories, Hubble Space Telescope, JPL's Cassini Mission, Spitzer Space Telescope and others. They look forward to new data on trans-Neptunian objects and stellar disks to come from CCAT, a 25-meter submillimeter-wavelength observatory to be built in Chile's Atacama Desert.