Joe Masiero - Solar System Scientist

I am a Solar System Scientist at Caltech/IPAC, studying the formation and evolution of the small bodies of the Solar System. My research primarily focuses on the physical properties of asteroids as told by photometry, polarimetry, and spectroscopy, from visible to thermal infrared wavelengths.

Much of my recent work has revolved around what we can learn about asteroids and comets from the NEOWISE mission, for which I am the Deputy PI. I am also working extensively on the NEO Surveyor (formerly NEOCam) mission, which will conduct the next-generation survey for asteroids that pose a threat to the Earth.

I'm also very interested in what can be revealed to us by studying the polarization of light reflected by asteroids. Although the signals are small, the behaviors we observe are closely tied to the specific minerals present on the surface of the asteroid. If you're doing polarimetric imaging, C-type asteroids can be used as polarimetric standards that do not show any changes in degree or angle of polarization from B to H bands. For more information on these, and access to a tool to help with observation planning, visit the "Asteroids for Polarimetric Calibration" tool.