Abhinav Jindal

Astronomy & Space Sciences


I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University, working with Dr. Alexander Hayes. I am interested in using spacecraft observations to decipher the processes that shape various planetary surfaces within our solar system.
My current research focuses on understanding the evolution of “smooth” terrains on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko using data acquired by the Rosetta mission. The smooth terrains are vast, topographically smooth deposits of centimeter to decimeter-sized particles dominating 67P’s northern hemisphere, and serve as the locus for most of the changes observed by Rosetta. These terrains are not unique to 67P and have been observed on all other comets for which we have resolved surface images. Hence, understanding these terrains is crucial to understand the evolution of cometary surfaces in general.

During my time at Cornell, I have also been involved in using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data collected by Cassini in order to generate digital topographic maps (DTMs) for Saturn’s largest moon Titan, as well as using SAR and altimetry data collected by Magellan in order to study the lithospheric structure of Venus.
Additionally, I am also very interested in teaching astronomy and planetary science courses. Apart from teaching assistant responsibilities at Cornell, I have also had the opportunity to independently design and teach an introductory level astronomy course for non-majors as an adjunct faculty at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Spring ‘22.

Research Focus

Advisor: Professor Alex Hayes