About me

My name is Björn J.R. Davidsson (born in 1974) and I am an astronomer. I conduct my Solar System research at the NASA center Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena (CA), USA, that is administrated by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

My research is mainly about comets, asteroids and planetesimals and what happens to those small bodies in the Solar System as they are heated up by sunlight or by radioactive decay. I am also Co-Investigator of the OSIRIS camera system flying on the European spacecraft Rosetta, whose main mission is to investigate Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko during 2014-2016.

I have a M.Sc. degree in Physics since 1998 and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Astrophysics since 2003. Both degrees are from the University of Uppsala, in Sweden. During 2003-2005, I was a postdoc (Research Fellow) at the European Space Agency (ESA), at their facility ESTEC outside Noordwijk in the Netherlands. During 2008-2009 I was a Visiting Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). During 2005-2015 I was a  research associate and later a researcher at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Uppsala University, Sweden, funded by the Swedish National Space Board.

The asteroid (11798) Davidsson is named in my honor. I am also the proud recipient of the Paul Pellas – Graham Ryder Award ( 2002) from The Meteoritical Society and The Planetary Geology Division of the Geological Society of America, of the Edlund Prize (2009) from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and of the Group Achievement Award to MIRO Flight Operations Team (2011) from NASA.

Dr. Björn J. R. Davidsson

Dr. Björn J. R. Davidsson

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9 thoughts on “About me

  1. Thanks for liking my stuff over a Dinner Table Science!! If you’d ever be interested in guest-blogging for me, I’d love to have an astronomer contribution some day! Feel free to get in touch!

  2. Bjorn,
    The plots of the orbital inclinations of the main-belt asteroids do not differentiate positive and negative (greater than 90 degree) inclinations. Indeed, I have not found a single reference that gives their actual (positive and negative) inclinations. Can you direct me to a site which has the true orbital inclinations.
    Thank you,
    John Ackerman

    • Dear John,

      Thanks for your question. The reason you have not found any retrograde main belt asteroid orbits (inclination above 90 deg) is
      because there are none. They are all rotating in a direct fashion around the Sun, with inclinations typically lower
      than 40 degrees but sometimes higher. However, there are retrograde transneptunians, Halley-type comets and new comets.
      The website http://www.minorplanetcenter.net can be used to retrieve orbital elements for all known minor bodies (see Ephemeris service
      under the Observers menu). If the object has a retrograde orbit its inclination will be given as a number greater than
      90 degrees, no exceptions. And by the way, negative inclinations do not exist by definition.

      Cheers,

      /Björn

  3. Sorry Bjorn, but bodies with inclinations between 90 and 180 degrees are not retrograde, indeed check out the >1500 Kreutz sungrazers discovered by SOHO and STEREO, which all have inclinations of 144 degrees.
    Bests,
    John

    • Dear John,

      The inclination “i” is the angle between the ecliptic north pole vector and the angular momentum vector of the orbit. If 0<=i<90, the orbit is called direct, and if
      90<i<=180 the orbit is retrograde. Kreutz group comets,
      with inclinations of around 140 are indeed on retrograde orbits. However, main belt asteroids all have direct
      orbits, with inclinations rarely exceeding 40 degrees.

      Cheers,

      /Björn

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