James V. Scotti

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James Vernon Scotti (1960 – ) is an American astronomer.

He was born in Bandon, Oregon and graduated from Woodway Senior High in Edmonds, Washington in 1978. He received his B.S. in Astronomy from the University of Arizona in Tucson in 1983.

Ever since that time, he has worked on the Spacewatch project, which is one of a number of projects that look for near-Earth asteroids. He wrote the first automatic asteroid detection software for the project in 1984.

He has discovered numerous asteroids, particularly near-Earth asteroids, including (35396) 1997 XF11, which briefly created a stir in the news media when a preliminary orbit calculation indicated the possibility of Earth impact in 2028; further observations led to a more accurate orbit which disproved the impact.

He has also recovered more than 60 comets starting in 1985 (since comets are subject to non-gravitational forces due to outgassing and solar wind, it is often a challenge to predict their exact position and rediscover them each time they make a new perihelion approach). He confirmed the discovery of the well known Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which impacted Jupiter in July 1994. He also discovered the periodic comets P/2000 Y3 Scotti and P/2001 X2 Scotti, which are not yet numbered as they have only been seen at one perihelion.

Scotti's research interests include the origin of comets, the dynamical evolution of comets and asteroids, the Near-Earth Asteroids, and the outer solar system.

The asteroid 3594 Scotti is named for him.

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