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Edward Bowell, Emeritus Astronomer

Ted Bowell’s current research centers on the discovery and orbit computation of near-Earth asteroids and comets. Some of these bodies will, if not diverted, collide with the Earth, with globally devastating consequences. Bowell directs the Lowell Observatory Near-Earth-Object Search (LONEOS), which uses a fully automated 59-cm Schmidt telescope at Anderson Mesa to observe large areas of sky each month. In 9 years of operation, LONEOS has discovered about 300 near-Earth asteroids and 44 comets and produced more than 4 million astrometric positions of asteroids and comets.

With colleagues, he has published extensively on orbit computation, with a particular interest in the ephemeris uncertainties resulting from noise in astrometric observations. Applications include the identification of asteroids and methods of searching for transNeptunian objects and lost asteroids. He maintains a web-accessible file of asteroid orbits (currently, more than 377,000) and related URLs for asteroid ephemeris computation. Bowell’s previous research has centered on the photographic discovery of asteroids and comets, and the optical polarimetric and light-scattering properties of the surfaces of the Moon, planets, and asteroids.

Bowell is active in the International Astronomical Union, and has served as President of IAU Commission 20 (Positions and Motions of Minor Planets, Comets, and Satellites). He is currently President of IAU Division III (Planetary System Sciences).

Bowell is active in the Flagstaff community, having served for many years on the board of the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, including as its president.

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