Welcome to the online home of Qicheng Zhang! I'm currently a graduate student studying planetary science at Caltech in Pasadena, CA. I mostly work on small body astronomy—comets, asteroids, and related objects that roam the solar system. This site attempts to capture key aspects of my research, and perhaps eventually, some of the other fun things that I'm involved with.

Personal & Academic History

I was originally from China, but largely grew up in Southern California where I've mostly resided in the present millenium. I attended UC Santa Barbara as an undergraduate student in physics (2013–2017), and also spent a couple summers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory over this period. I'm presently pursuing a Ph.D. in planetary science at Caltech (2017–).

Recent Highlights

2023 Apr 25: Zhang et al. (2023) (arXiv:2303.17625) uses SOHO & STEREO imagery to show asteroid (3200) Phaethon's comet-like brightening and tail to be from sodium fluorescence. Also see press releases by ESA and NASA.

2022 Aug 7: Zhang et al. (2022) (arXiv:2205.02854) published on observations showing a halo of icy grains in the coma of C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) while it was still beyond Jupiter's orbit.

Image: Looking to the future, from the slopes of Mt. Wilson towards Palomar, and bumps along the way