Dr. Nick Moskovitz

Assistant Astronomer

Planetary Astronomy
PhD University of Hawaii, 2009

Dr. Moskovitz joined Lowell Observatory’s science staff in 2014. He and his collaborators are pursing a number of projects that include understanding the link between asteroids and meteorites, characterizing the properties of meteors, probing the geologic evolution of minor planets over solar system history, developing tools to enable mining of minor planet data, and using telescopic observations to support spacecraft missions.

Dr. Moskovitz heads the Lowell Observatory Cameras for All-Sky Meteor Surveillance (LO-CAMS), a network of off-the-shelf security cameras that scan the night sky for meteors. Multiple camera stations can triangulate meteor trails to provide pre-impact orbits and, for big enough events, predictions for the location of meteorite falls. LO-CAMS is based on two other meteor camera projects: CAMS (http://cams.seti.org) and the Global Meteor Network (http://globalmeteornetwork.org). Moskovitz and his team have deployed dozens of cameras across northern Arizona and record hundreds of meteors every night.

Dr. Moskovitz is the principal investigator of the Mission Accessible Near-Earth Objects Survey (MANOS), which began in 2013 as a multi-year study of Near Earth Objects (NEOs). MANOS aims to characterize the physical properties of the most spacecraft-accessible asteroids in near-Earth space. This involves measuring the orbital, rotational, and compositional properties and to understand individual NEOs in greater detail, as well the distribution of these properties across the NEO population. Moskovitz and the MANOS team have made specific contributions towards understanding the target NEOs of NASA’s DART mission and JAXA’s Hayabusa2 mission.

Dr. Moskovitz also leads a small team at Lowell who curate the astorb database and associated website at asteroid.lowell.edu. astorb is a catalog of all known minor planets in the Solar System and has been maintained at Lowell since the 1990s. Users of astorb include space missions, planetarium software, educators, amateur astronomers, and researchers. The ongoing modernization of the astorb system includes development of a variety of web-based tools to help with observations of minor planets, novel methods for computing orbits, and compilation of data products from telescopic surveys.

Check out Dr. Moskovitz’s webpage.