JAMES L. ELLIOT, Professor of Physics; Professor of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences; Director, George R. Wallace, Jr. Astrophysical Observatory

Professor of Physics
Professor of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
Director, George R. Wallace, Jr. Astrophysical Observatory

In Memoriam: June 17, 1943 - March 3, 2011


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Area of Physics:

Planets and Brown Dwarfs

Research Interests

Professor James Elliot used the techniques of planetary astronomy, particularly stellar occultations, to probe planetary atmospheres and the physical properties of small bodies in the outer solar system and beyond. Of particular interest to him were Pluto, Triton, Kuiper Belt objects and extrasolar planets. He, along with Prof. Paul Schechter and others at MIT and Harvard College Observatory, constructed a CCD camera for the Magellan telescopes at Las Campanas Observatory, Chile.  Professor Elliot also worked with colleagues at the Lowell Observatory to build a high-speed imaging photometer for occultations (HIPO) for NASA's Stratopsheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).

Biographical Sketch

James Elliot received his undergraduate degree from MIT in 1965 and his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1972.  Before returning to MIT in 1978, he was a postdoc and faculty member in the Astronomy Department of Cornell University.

Selected Publications

  • "The rings of Uranus," by J. L. Elliot, E. Dunham and D. Mink. Nature 267, 328-330 (1977).
  • "Analysis of stellar occultation data. II. Inversion, with application to Pluto and Triton," by J. L. Elliot, M. J. Person and S. Qu. Astronomical Journal 126, 1041-1079 (2003).
  • "The recent expansion of Pluto's atmosphere," by J. L. Elliot, et al. Nature 424, 165-168 (2003).
  • "Pluto's atmosphere and a targeted-occultation search for other bound KBO atmospheres," by J. L. Elliot and S. D. Kern. Earth, Moon, and Planets 92, 375-393 (2003).
  • "The Deep Ecliptic Survey: A search for Kuiper belt objects and Centaurs. II. Dynamical classification, the Kuiper belt plane, and the core population," by J. L. Elliot, S. D. Kern, K. B. Clancy, A. A. S. Gulbis, R. L. Millis, M. W. Buie, L. H. Wasserman, E. I. Chiang, A. B. Jordan, D. E. Trilling and K. J. Meech. Astronomical Journal 129, 1117-1162 (2005).

Last updated on April 16, 2015 4:04 PM