I'm interested in the dynamics of the Solar System, particularly its smaller bodies, asteroids, comets and meteoroid streams. I'm also interested in the dynamics of planets around other stars, and in celestial mechanics in general.

I'm always looking for new graduate students, so if you're interested in doing a Master's or PhD in one of these fields, please contact me (pwiegert[at]uwo.ca )

Samples of My Research

Nature cover

Analysis of the Great Russian Meteor of 2013

On November 14 2013 in the journal Nature, a team of astronomers including myself present a definitive analysis of the asteroidal fragment that burned up so spectacularly over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in February 2013.

Asteroid and comet searches

Asteroid and comet studies

Telescopic studies of asteroids and comets continue to reveal new information about the nature of our Solar System. Click on the image for a larger view and more information.

2010 TK7

The Earth's first Trojan asteroid: 2010 TK7

Canadian and French astronomers followed and analyzed the motion of the as-yet-unnamed asteroid designated 2010 TK7, first detected by the the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite, to determine that it was the first classical Trojan asteroid of the Earth. If you would like to know more about 2010 TK7 and its motion, reported in the July 28 2011 issue of Nature, you can visit its home page here. The first author of our paper, Martin Connors from Athabasca University, gives an informative talk about Trojan asteroids here.

View of Cruithne's orbit

The Earth companion asteroid 3753 Cruithne

I have been involved in an a study, in collaboration with Kim Innanen (York) and Seppo Mikkola (Turku), of near-Earth asteroids. During this research, we discovered that the Earth has a companion asteroid. If you would like to know more about asteroid 3753 Cruithne, you can visit its home page here.

2002 AA29 in quasi-satellite mode

Asteroid 2002 AA29: Quasi-satellite to horseshoe and back again....

Most near-Earth asteroids have no consistent dynamical connection to our planet. However, those that go around the Sun in precisely the same amount of time as our planet fall into 1:1 mean-motion resonance with our planet (which just means that both go around the Sun once in the same average (mean) amount of time). These rare bodies are called Earth coorbital or companion asteroids; they in some sense share the Earth's orbit with it. With a highly circular orbit that is the most Earth-like seen so far, and able to transit between two distinct types of resonant motion, is the near-Earth asteroid designated 2002 AA29.

Hypothetical Earth Retrograde Satellite

Retrograde Satellites (Quasi-satellites)

What goes round and round a planet but isn't (technically) a moon? There is a class of orbits called "retrograde satellites" or "quasisatellites" which are in orbit around the Sun but coincidentally also seem to go around a planet. You can find more about these strange and only recently discovered objects here.

Earth Lagrange point asteroids

Earth Lagrange point asteroids (Earth Trojan asteroids)

If you put an asteroid exactly on the same orbit as the Earth, what would happen? Would it stay on the orbit? Drift away? Or crash into our planet? The answer depends on exactly where you place the asteroid. There are five points on or near the Earth's orbit, known as the Lagrange points, where an asteroid will remain stationary with respect to the Earth. Click here for more information.