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Dr. Richard Jerousek

Professor of Astronomy and Physics

I received Doctorate in astrophysics/planetary science from the University of Central Florida. Since 2010, I've been working in the physics department here at Valencia as I continue to work as a research scientist at the University of Central Florida's Florida Space Institute. Currently, I study planetary rings using measurements of ultraviolet and infrared starlight passing through Saturn's rings and into the Cassini orbiter's Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) or Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS). Using a technique similar to computed-tomography (CT scans), we study the 3 dimensional structure of the Saturn ring system at scales smaller than the resolution of Cassini's imaging system (~100m). I also study the rings using radio waves that were sent from Cassini's Radio Science Subsystem (RSS) through the rings and to the Earth. I have published and co-authored articles on our results in the journals, Science, The Astronomical Journal, and Icarus (the official journal of the American Astronomical Society's Division of Planetary Science).

Phone: 407.582.5666


Office: West Campus

Location: Building 2 Room 231 OR 209 (Physics Lab)

Office Hours:
Mon. 9 – 10 am, 12:30 – 1:30 pm
Tues. 9 – 11 am, (email only)
Wed. 9 – 10 am, 12:30 – 1:30 pm
Thurs. 9 – 11 am, (email only)
Fri. 10 – 12 pm

… (or by appointment)

** I am typically in the physics lab (2-209) during my office hours but if you would like to have a private conversation just let me know and we can walk down to my office.

Teaching Philosophy: I strongly believe in the Socratic method and the importance of back-and-forth discussions in order to arrive at exciting conclusions. I often ask questions which reveal the deeper subtleties of the laws of nature. I hope that my students leave my class with a strong understanding of the empirical method and the importance of experiment, observation, and testability. I typically try to cover topics which are on the cutting edge of astrophysics and cosmology research as well as current events. I believe that in this quickly changing field, it is important for students to learn how to interpret data and arrive at their own conclusions while still gaining a sense of respect for the tremendous amount of work and ingenuity required in advanced physics and astronomical research.