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Joseph A'HEARN

Welcome to my site! I’m an astrophysicist and planetary scientist especially interested in solar system dynamics.  

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I’m currently a Physics Ph.D. candidate at the University of Idaho.

I’ve been doing research on the dynamics of Saturn’s moons and rings. 


My first scientific paper dealt with energy conservation in co-rotation resonances, with a focus on Saturn’s Aegaeon ring arc.

I’m now studying co-orbital satellite systems and using my findings to try to understand phenomena in Saturn’s innermost ringlet. I recently won an award for this research. 


I have been teaching high school physics for Memoria Press Online Academy since Fall 2018.

I am also preparing a 16-week high school Astronomy course for Kepler Education that I will begin teaching in Fall 2020. 

Philosophy & Theology

I have been directing a Pints With Aquinas chapter since Spring 2018. We meet weekly for discussions and formation in perennial philosophy and Catholic theology.



I did my undergraduate studies in Physics, with a technical option in Astrophysics, and a second major in Philosophy, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

I’m also Catholic. Before transferring to UIUC, I spent eleven years, starting with high school, in a formation program to become a Catholic missionary priest. Even though I decided in the end that taking another career path made more sense for me, my adventures and experiences during those years, which I spent in the northeastern United States, Mexico, and Italy, have in large part made me who I am today. I wouldn’t trade my unique path in life for any other.