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Research Areas
  • Radar Observations
  • Radar Scattering And Polarimetry

Anne Virkki

Anne joined the Arecibo staff in April 2016 after receiving her Ph.D. in astronomy in the university of Helsinki. In her doctoral thesis she worked on numerical modeling of radar scattering, progressing the theoretical foundation required for interpreting planetary radar observations. Her current research interests include radar observations and shape reconstruction. Anne became the acting group lead in April 2018 after Dr. Patrick Taylor moved to the Lunar and Planetary Institute and the official head of the group a year later.

Anne's primary research interest are the physical properties of asteroids. The main part of her research experience consists of numerical modeling of electromagnetic scattering. Anne's PhD thesis shows step by step how particles with different physical properties such as the size, the shape, or the material, change the radar signal. The results are useful not only in terms of planetary targets and radar frequencies, but also other remote–sensing applications using other frequencies. The primary focus is, however, on explaining what implications on planetary surfaces can planetary radar offer.

Anne has worked with Arecibo Observatory Planetary Radar program (PI), Arecibo Observatory REU program (Co–PI), and with Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science (CLASS) (Co–I).

Since 2016, Anne has mentored two REU students, two other undergraduate students, and one graduate student.

Peer-reviewed publications


A. Virkki, S. S. Bhiravarasu, Modeling Radar Albedos of Laboratory–Characterized Particles: Application to the Lunar Surface, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 124, 11 (2019) 3025–3040.

A. Virkki, E Zubko, M. C. Nolan, E. S. Howell, L. A. M. Benner, J. K. Harmon, Decimeter–scale particle characterization in the coma of 73P/Schwassman–Wachmann 3 using dual–wavelength radar observations, Icarus 325 (2019) 94–104.

A. Rozek, S. C. Lowry, M. C. Nolan, P.A. Taylor, L.A.M. Benner, A. Fitzsimmons, T.J. Zegmott, P.R. Weissman, S.F. Green, B. Rozitis, C. Snodgrass, W.D. Smythe, M.D. Hicks, E.S. Howell, A.K. Virkki, B.A. Aponte–Hernandez, E.G. Rivera–Valentin, L.A. Rodriguez–Ford, L.F. Zambrano–Marin, M. Brozovi?, S.P. Naidu, J.D. Giorgini, L.G. Snedeker, J.S. Jao, F.D. Ghigo, Shape model and spin–state analysis of PHA contact binary (85990) 1999 JV6 from combined radar and optical observations, Astronomy & Astrophysics 631 (2019) A149.–6361/201936302

P. A. Taylor, E. G. Rivera–Valentin, L. A. M. Benner, S. E. Marshall, A. K. Virkki, F. C. F. Venditti, L. F. Zambrano–Marin, S. S. Bhiravarasu, B. Aponte–Hernandez, C. R. Sanchez Vahamonde, and J. D. Giorgini, Arecibo Radar Observations of Near–Earth Asteroid (3200) Phaethon During the 2017 Apparition, Planetary and Space Science 167 (2019) 1–8.


M. K. Shepard, B. Timerson, D. J. Scheeres, L. A. M. Benner, J. D. Giorgini, E. S. Howell, C. Magri, M. C. Nolan, A. Springmann, P. A. Taylor, A. K. Virkki, A Revised Shape Model of Asteroid 216 Kleopatra, Icarus 311 (2018) 197–209.


A. Virkki, K. Muinonen, Radar scattering by planetary surfaces modeled with laboratory–characterized particles, Icarus 269 (2016) 38–49.


A. Virkki, K. Muinonen, Radar scattering by boulders studied using geometric optics, Planetary and Space Science 118 (2015) 277–284.

A. Virkki, J. Markkanen, J. Tyynelä, J. I. Peltoniemi, K. Muinonen, Polarized backscattering by clusters of spherical particles, Optics Letters 40 (2015) 3663–3666.