Matthew Dobson

1st Year Postgraduate Research Student at ARC.

From the Centaurs to the Inner Oort Cloud: Exploring the Kuiper Belt Connection

My PhD project at the moment is two-fold in nature. I am currently focusing on using data from the 0.5-m telescopes of the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) survey to study the phase curves, rotational light curves, and the cometary activity histories of a sample of both Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) and Centaurs – outer Solar System objects believed to be an intermediate evolutionary stage between KBOs and many short-period comets. In addition to this, I aim to search for bright distant Solar System objects within the ATLAS survey dataset.


I graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 2020 with a First-Class Honours MSci in Physics with Astrophysics, for which I was awarded Raymond Greer Prize. I spent a summer internship with the Supernova Research Group here at the Astrophysics Research Centre in 2019, where I developed a computer programme to aid processing of data from supernovae and other transients observed by the ATLAS telescopes in Hawai’i. This experience, along with my MSci project on using Type-IIP supernovae to measure the Hubble Constant, helped to confirm my desire to pursue a career in astrophysics research.