Dr. Anne Virkki

Research Scientist

Contact Info


Curriculum Vitae



My main area of research is to investigate what we can say about planetary surfaces by using planetary radar. Radar is not only a powerful instrument for refining the orbits of asteroids, but also the most effective ground-based technique to give clues of the decimeter-scale surface roughness of a planetary object. Nevertheless, what role different parameters such as the surface density and material, or the number, size, and shape of the particles on a planetary surface play in the radar echo is not trivial.

I defended my thesis entitled "Planetary surface characterization by modeling radar scattering" in January 2016 at the University of Helsinki. I was born and raised in Finland and traveled through my whole academic education path there. After high school in an international baccalaureate program, I enrolled in the University of Helsinki in 2006 and wrote Bachelor's, Master's and PhD theses under the advisement of Prof. Karri Muinonen, the head of the Solar System research group at the department of physics. Asteroid research has been my main interest from the very beginning, although more recently I have branched out to other radar scattering applications, including the cometary comae and lunar craters.

During the graduate studies, in October 2013, I got a wonderful opportunity to visit the Arecibo Observatory. Already the first visit at the observatory convinced me to apply for a postdoc position there. To my great fortune, I was selected for the position, which gave me the opportunity to continue my research of radar properties of planetary objects and to learn to observe using the world's most powerful radar.

In addition to doing research, I enjoy the arts of writing, drawing, and dancing, and tend three cats.