Dr. Fernandez received his Ph.D. in Astronomy from University of Maryland, College Park, in 1999. He spent 3-years (1999-2002) as a Scientific Researcher  and 3-years (2002-2005) as a SIRTF/Spitzer Fellow in University of Hawai’i before joining UCF in 2005, where he is an Associate Professor of Physics.

Research Areas

My area of research is comets and asteroids, which I have been studying since 1994. I am interested in the composition and physical properties of these objects, and how they compare to each other and other objects in the Solar System. Why? Because Small Bodies can tell us about the origin of the Solar System — what were the compositional and thermophysical conditions in the solar nebula and in the protoplanetary disk? Understanding the origin of the Solar System is the overall “big picture” question that I (and many planetary scientists) work toward. However to understand what the small bodies tell us about our origins, we need to know what has happened to these objects in the intervening 4.6 billion years sinice they formed. In other words, I study cometary and asteroidal evolution. This is not an easy task, but it is an interesting question in its own right, and it is critical if we are to make sense of what the Solar System is like today.

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