LPL Newsletter: April 2020

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Over the past month, we have all focused on news of the pandemic. Due to the spread of SARS-Coronavirus-2, LPL has moved to remote operations whenever possible in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. We continue to provide instruction online; we have shifted our internal gatherings to online meetings; and staffing is limited to minimal crews maintaining essential functions, including IT infrastructure and critical mission support. 

This month's issue reports two items that made other news for us at LPL. On a positive note, the discovery of a “mini-moon, (a small object that is temporarily in orbit around the Earth) by observers at LPL’s Catalina Sky Survey captured the interest of science fans around the world. News of the sudden passing of our friend and colleague Professor Adam Showman is the second, sad and shocking, item to relate. Adam was a spectacularly good theoretical scientist, as well as a wonderful mentor to graduate students and post-doctoral fellows for the two decades he served as a member of the LPL faculty.

As we confront this challenging time together, we offer a reminder to keep safe. Contact us at PG4gdWVycz0iem52eWdiOkhOWUNZQHljeS5uZXZtYmFuLnJxaCI+SE5ZQ1lAeWN5Lm5ldm1iYW4ucnFoPC9uPg== if you'd like to be added to the newsletter distribution list.

Director and Department Head
The Schmidt telescope atop Mount Lemmon is used to search for asteroids. (Photo courtesy of Catalina Sky Survey)

Meet the Pair of Astronomers Who Discovered Earth's `Mini-Moon'

While scanning the universe for space rocks that may at some point pose a hazard of impacting Earth, astronomers with the Catalina Sky Survey made an unexpected and exciting discovery. 

Adam Showman, 1968-2020

Adam P. Showman passed away unexpectedly on March 16, 2020, at his home in Tucson, AZ. His untimely passing has been felt widely in the international planetary science community which has lost an outstanding theorist, dedicated teacher of many graduate students, and a sought-after collaborator to a world-wide network of exoplanet astronomers.