Scott S. Sheppard

Scott Sander Sheppard (b. 1976) is an American astronomer and a discoverer of numerous moons, comets and minor planets in the outer Solar System.[1][2][3]

Astronomer in the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, DC, he attended Oberlin College as an undergraduate. Starting as a graduate student at the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii, he was credited with the discovery of many small moons of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. He has also discovered the first known trailing Neptune trojan, 2008 LC18, the first named leading Neptune trojan, 385571 Otrera, and the first high inclination Neptune Trojan, 2005 TN53. These discoveries showed that the Neptune trojan objects are mostly on highly inclined orbits and thus likely captured small bodies from elsewhere in the solar system.

The main-belt asteroid 17898 Scottsheppard, discovered by LONEOS at Anderson Mesa Station in 1999, was named in his honor.[1]


Minor planets discovered: 16 [4]
(79978) 1999 CC158 15 February 1999 list[A][B][C]
(131695) 2001 XS254 9 December 2001 list[B][D]
(131696) 2001 XT254 9 December 2001 list[B][D]
(131697) 2001 XH255 11 December 2001 list[B][D]
(148975) 2001 XA255 9 December 2001 list[B][D]
(168700) 2000 GE147 2 April 2000 list[B][C]
(200840) 2001 XN254 9 December 2001 list
341520 Mors–Somnus 14 October 2007 list[C]
385571 Otrera 16 October 2004 list[C]
(385695) 2005 TO74 8 October 2005 list[C]
(469420) 2001 XP254 10 December 2001 list[B][D]
(469421) 2001 XD255 9 December 2001 list[B][D]
(471143) 2010 EK139 13 March 2010 list[C][E][F]
(471165) 2010 HE79 21 April 2010 list[C][E][G]
(471921) 2013 FC28 17 March 2013 list[C]
(508792) 2000 FX53 31 March 2000 list[B][C]
A with J. X. Luu
B with D. C. Jewitt
C with Chadwick Trujillo
D with J. T. Kleyna
E with A. Udalsky
F with M. Kubiak
G with R. Poleski

Sheppard was the lead discoverer of the object with the most distant orbit known in the solar system 2012 VP113 (nicknamed Biden). In 2014, the similarity of the orbit of 2012 VP113 to other extreme Kuiper belt object orbits led Sheppard and Trujillo to propose that an unknown Super-Earth mass planet (2-15 Earth masses) in the outer solar system beyond 200 AU and up to 1500 AU is shepherding these smaller bodies into similar orbits (see Planet X or Planet Nine). The extreme trans-Neptunian objects 2013 FT28 and 2014 SR349, announced in 2016 and co-discovered by Sheppard, further show a likely unknown massive planet exists beyond a few hundred AU in our Solar System.

Sheppard has been involved in the discovery of many small bodies in our solar system such as trans-Neptunian objects, centaurs, comets and near-Earth objects.

The possible dwarf planets discovered by Sheppard are (471143) 2010 EK139, 2010 KZ39, 2010 FX86, 2013 FY27, 2013 FZ27 and 2015 KH162.

He is a co-discoverer of a minor-planet moon orbiting the trans-Neptunian object 341520 Mors–Somnus.[2]

Two comets are named after him which are Sheppard-Trujillo (C/2014 F3) and Sheppard-Tholen (C/2015 T5).

Among the numerous named irregular moons of the major planets in whose discovery he has been involved are:[3]


Discovered moons of Jupiter (full list):


Discovered moons of Saturn (full list):


Discovered moons of Uranus (full list):


Discovered moons of Neptune (full list):

See also


  1. ^ a b Schmadel, Lutz D. (2006). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (17898) Scottsheppard, Addendum to Fifth Edition: 2003–2005. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 112. ISBN 978-3-540-34361-5. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Circular No. 8962 Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams" (PDF). CBAT. 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  3. ^ a b "JPL Solar System Dynamics: Planetary Satellite Discovery Circumstances". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  4. ^ "Minor Planet Discoverers (by number)". Minor Planet Center. 20 August 2016. Retrieved 24 August 2016.

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