Skip Navigation

Bonnie Buratti

Photo of Bonnie Buratti


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 183-601

Pasadena, CA 91109





Member of:

Science Division

Senior Research Scientist, JPL Fellow


  • B.S., M.S. in Earth & Planetary Sciences, Mass. Inst. Technology (1976)
  • M.S., PhD. in Astronomy and Space Sciences, Cornell University (1983)

Professional Experience

  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1985 - present)
    • JPL Fellow / Principal Scientist / Senior Research Scientist/Rosetta NASA Project Scientist
    • Group Supervisor of the Asteroids, Comets, and Satellites Group (2002-2018)
  • National Research Council, Resident Research Associate at JPL (1983-1985)
  • The Claremont Colleges, Visiting Professor of Physics and Astronomy (2000-2010)
  • Cornell University, Teaching and Research Assistant (1977-1983)
  • MIT, Research Assistant, Department of Physics, and Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences (1972-1976)
  • American Science and Engineering, Associate Scientist, X-ray astronomy group (1974-1976)
  • Maria Mitchell Observatory, NSF summer student researcher (1973)

Community Service

  • Chair, Steering Committee Small Bodies Assessment Group (2020-2022)
  • Chair, Division of Planetary Sciences, American Astronomical Society (2014-2015)
  • Editorial Board, Icarus (2011-2014)
  • National Academy of Sciences Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration (COMPLEX) (2006-2008)
  • Associate Editor, Reviews of Geophysics (1994-1997)
  • Secretary, Planetary Sciences Section American Geophysical Union 1992-1994
  • JPL Speakers Bureau (1985-present)

Research Interests

  • Seasonal transport of volatiles on the surfaces of the planets and satellites in the outer Solar System, particularly Io, Pluto, and Triton.
  • The composition, distribution, and nature of dark material in the outer Solar System, and its relationship to similar material in the interstellar medium and in star-forming regions; and to prebiotic material.
  • The microphysical nature of planetary surfaces, and the possible existence of water ice in the permanently shadowed regions of the lunar poles

Selected Awards

  • National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship (1983-1985)
  • JPL Director's Achievement Award (1989)
  • Amer. Assoc. of University Women, Pasadena-Arcadia Chapter, Woman of the Year (1998)
  • NASA Group Achievement Awards:
    • Voyager Photopolarimeter Science, Uranus Encounter (1987)
    • Neptune Encounter (1990)
    • Cassini Project (10 group achievement awards between 1997 and 2017)
    • Deep Space 1 Encounter at Braille (1999)
    • Deep Space 1 Encounter at 19P/ Borrelly (2001)
    • Dawn Science Team (2013)
    • New Horizons (2017)
  • NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal (2006)
  • Asteroid 90502 Buratti
  • JPL People Leadership Award (2017)
  • Election to Fellow, American Geophysical Union (2017)
  • NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal (2018)
  • Sagan Medal (2018)

Selected Publications

  1. Recent Publications (250 peer-reviewed total; 51 first author)
  2. Popular book: “Worlds Fantastic Worlds Familiar (Cambridge, 2017)
  3. Buratti, B. J., M. Hicks, K. Tryka, M. Sittig, R. Newburn, 2001. High resolution spectroscopy of Iapetus, Hyperion, Phoebe, Rhea, Dione and D-type asteroids: How are they related? Icarus 155, 375-381.
  4. McConnochie, T.H., B. J. Buratti, J. K. Hillier, and K. A. Tryka, 2002. A search for water ice at the lunar poles with Clementine images. Icarus 156, 335-351.
  5. Soderblom, L. A., T. L. Becker, G. Bennett, D. C. Boice, D. T. Britt, R. H. Brown, B. J. Buratti et al. 2002. Observations of Comet 19P/Borrelly by MICAS aboard Deep Space 1. Science 296, 1087-1091.
  6. Buratti, B. J. and L. L. Johnson 2003. Identification of the lunar flash of 1953 with a fresh crater on the Moon's surface. Icarus 161, 192-197.
  7. Buratti, B. J., J. K. Hillier, A. Heinze, M. Hicks, K. Tryka, J. Mosher, M. Garske, J. Atienza-Rosel, J. Young. 2003. Photometry of Pluto in the last decade and before: Evidence for volatile transport? Icarus 162, 171-182.
  8. Brown, R., K. Baines, G. Bellucci, J-P. Bibring, B. Buratti, et al., 2003. Observations with the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) during Cassini's flyby of Jupiter. Icarus 164, 461-470.
  9. Buratti, B. J., M. D. Hicks, L. A. Soderblom, D. Britt, J. Oberst, J. K. Hillier 2004. Deep Space 1 photometry of the nucleus of Comet 19P/Borrelly. Icarus 167, 16-29.
  10. Buratti, B. J. et al. 2004. 9969 Braille: The Deep Space 1 infrared spectroscopy, geometric albedo, and classification. Icarus 167, 129-135.
  11. Hicks, M. D. and B. J. Buratti 2004. Spectroscopy and filter photometry of Triton from 1997-2000. Icarus, in press.
  12. Britt, D. T., D. C. Boice, B. J. Buratti et al. 2004. The morphology and surface properties of Comet 19P/Borrelly. Icarus 167, 45-53.
  13. Buratti et al. 2005. Cassini Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer observations of Iapetus: Discovery of CO2. Ap. J. 622, L149-162.
  14. Buratti, B., M. Hicks, and A. Davies 2005. Spectrophotometry of the small satellites of Saturn and their relationship to Iapetus, Phoebe, and Hyperion. Icarus 175, 490-495
  15. Brown, R. H., R. N. Clark, B. J. Buratti et al. 2006. Composition and physical properties of Enceladus surface. Science 311, 1425-1428.
  16. Buratti, B. J. et al. 2006. Titan: preliminary results on surface properties and photometry from VIMS observations of the early flybys. Planet. & Space Sci. 54, 1498-1509.
  17. Grundy, W., B. J. Buratti et al. 2007. New Horizons Mapping of Europa and Ganymede. Science 318, 234-237.
  18. Newman, S. F., B. J. Buratti, R. Jaumann, J. Bauer, T. W. Momary 2007. Hydrogen Peroxide on Enceladus. Ap J. Lett. 670, L143-L146.
  19. Buratti, B. J. et al. 2008 Infrared (0.83-5.1 μm) Photometry of Phoebe from the Cassini Visual Infrared Mapping Spectrometer. Icarus 193, 309-322.
  20. Pitman, K., B. Buratti, et al. 2008. First High Solar Phase Angle Observations of Rhea Using Cassini VIMS: Upper Limits on Water Vapor and Geologic Activity. Ap. J., 680, L65-L68.
  21. Newman, S. F., B. J. Buratti, R. H. Brown, R. Jaumann, J. Bauer, T. Momary 2008. Photometric and spectral analysis of the distribution of crystalline and amorphous ices on Enceladus as seen by Cassini. Icarus 193, 397-406.
  22. Newman, S. F., B. J. Buratti, R. H. Brown, R. Jaumann, J. Bauer, T. Momary 2009. Water ice crystallinity and grain sizes on Dione. Icarus 203, 553-559.
  23. Pieters, C. M.; Goswami, J. N.; Clark, R. N.; Annadurai, M.; Boardman, J.; Buratti, B.; Combe, J.-P.; Dyar, M. D.; Green, R.; Head, J. W.; and 19 coauthors 2009. Character and Spatial Distribution of OH/H2O on the Surface of the Moon Seen by M3 on Chandrayaan-1. Science 326, 568.
  24. Jaumann, R. R. N. Clark, F. Nimmo, A. R. Hendrix, B. J. Buratti, T. Denk, J. M. Moore, P. M. Schenk, S. J. Ostro, R. Srama 2009. Icy Satellites: Geological Evolution and Surface Processes. In Saturn after Cassini Huygens (M. Dougherty, L. Esposito, S. Krimigis, eds.) Springer, Dordrecht.
  25. Moore, J., C. Phillips, R. Sullivan, J. Spencer, G. Black, B. Buratti 2009 Surface Properties, Regolith & Landscape Degradation. In Europa (; R. Pappalardo, W. McKinnon, K. Khurana, eds.) University of Arizona Press, Tucson.
  26. Buratti, B. J. et al. 2010. Cassini spectra and photometry 0.25-5.1 microns of the small inner satellites of Saturn, Icarus 206, 524-536.
  27. Lee, J., B. Buratti, M. Hicks, J. Mosher 2010. The Roughness of the Dark Side of Iapetus From the 2004-2005 Flyby Icarus 206, 623-630.
  28. Pitman, K. M., B. Buratti, J. Mosher 2010. Disk-integrated bolometric bond albedos and rotational light curves of Saturnian satellites from Cassini VIMS. Icarus 206, 537-560.
  29. Buratti, B. J. et al. 2011. Photometry of Triton 1992-2004: Surface volatile transport and discovery of a remarkable opposition surge. Icarus 212, 835-846.
  30. Buratti, B. J. et al. Photometry of Triton 1992-2004: Surface volatile transport and discovery of a remarkable opposition surge. Icarus 212, 835-846.
  31. Buratti, B. J. et al. 2011. A wavelength-dependent visible and infrared spectrophotometric function for the Moon based on ROLO data. J.G.R. 116, CiteID E00G03.
  32. Buratti, B. et al. 2011. Search for and limits on plume activity on Mimas, Tethys, and Dione with the Cassini Visual Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS). Icarus 214, 534-540.
  33. Buratti, B. J. et al. 2013. Vesta, vestoids, and the HED meteorites: interconnections and differences based on Dawn Framing Camera observations. JGR  Planets 118, 1991-2003.
  34. Barnes, J., B. J. Buratti et al. 2013. Precipitation-induced surface brightenings seen on Titan by Cassini VIMS and ISS. Planetary Science 2, article id.1
  35. Goguen, J., B. J. Buratti et al., 2013. The temperature and width of an active fissure on Enceladus measured with Cassini VIMS during the 14 April 2012 South Pole flyover. Icarus 226, 1128-1137.
  36. Buratti et al. 2015. Photometry of Pluto 2008--2014: Evidence of Ongoing Seasonal Volatile Transport and Activity. Ap. J. Lett. 804, article id. L6, 6 pp.
  37. Stern, S. A. et al. 2015. The Pluto system: Initial results from its exploration by New Horizons. Science 351, id.aad9189
  38. Grundy, W., R. P. Binzel, B. J. Buratti et al. 2016. Surface compositions across Pluto. Science 350, id.aad1815.
  39. Weaver, H., M. Buie, B. J. Buratti et al. 2016. The small satellites of Pluto as observed by New Horizons. Science 351, id.aad0030.
  40. Buratti, B. J. et al. 2017.  Global albedos of Pluto and Charon from LORRI New Horizons Observations, Icarus 287, 207-217.
  41. Buratti, B. J. et al. 2018. Cold Cases: What we don’t know about Saturn’s Moons, Planetary &Space  Sci., in press.
  42. Buratti, B. J. and 38 coauthors, 2019. Close Cassini Flybys of Saturn's Ring Moons Pan, Daphnis, Atlas, Pandora, and Epimetheus. Science 364, 1053.