The UCF Planetary Sciences Group uses spacecraft data, images from the world’s most powerful telescopes, meteorites and moon rocks, and supercomputer calculations to investigate fundamental questions like these:

How did our solar system form? What do the surfaces of other worlds tell us about their history? What happens when a comet hits a planet? What’s going on in the atmospheres of extrasolar planets? Are there any other planetary systems like ours? Are we alone?

The Planetary Sciences Group works closely with the Florida Space Institute to grow space research at UCF and throughout Florida.

The department offers a PhD track in Planetary Sciences, a BS specialization and minor in Astronomy, classes, research and employment opportunities at all levels, workshops, Robinson Observatory, astronomical software, planetary seminars, and much more.


Planetary Sciences Faculty

Dr. Christopher Bennett
Research: planetary surface chemistry and astrobiology

Dr. Daniel Britt
Research: meteorites, small bodies, Mars

Dr. Humberto Campins
Research: asteroids and comets

Dr. Joshua Colwell
Research: Saturn’s rings and microgravity experiments

Dr. James Cooney
Research: Large scale structure of the universe, Saturn’s rings

Dr. Adrienne Dove 
Research: dusty surface processes, microgravity research

Dr. Theodora Karalidi
Research: exoplanetary and brown dwarf atmospheres, mapping exoatmospheres and spectropolarimetry

Dr. Joseph Donoghue
Research: environmental geology and coastal environments

Dr. Yanga Fernandez
Research: asteroids and comets

Dr. Joseph Harrington
Research: measuring exoplanets

Dr. Richard Jerousek
Research: Planetary Rings & Solar System Origin

Dr. Kerri Donaldson Hanna
Research: Moon, Asteroids, Mercury, Phobos, laboratory Spectroscopy, Thermal Infrared Spectroscopy, Planetary Space Instrumentation


Research Scientists

Dr. E. Todd Bradley
Research: Mercury exosphere, Saturn’s rings composition

Dr. Julie Brissett
Research: Planet formation, dust accretion processes, microgravity experiments

Dr. Philip Metzger
Research: mechanics and characterization of planetary regolith

Dr. Noemí Pinilla-Alonso 
Research: observation and modeling of comets, asteroids and KBOs

Dr. Gal Sari
Research: thermal and collisional evolution of comets, asteroids and planets