Cristina Dalle Ore
Christina Dalle Ore

Senior Scientist

Degree/Major: Ph.D., Astronomy and Astrophysics, 1993, University of California Santa Cruz

Curriculum vitae: DalleOre-CV2010.pdf

Cristina is one astronomer who’s gone to the dark side. In particular, she studies the organic compounds known as tholins – blackish compounds that form when ultraviolet light from the Sun impinges on water, ice, methane, and nitrogen. This dark, low-temperature material covers many of the moons and other small bodies of the outer solar system, and understanding how it was formed and where it is found could offer us important clues to life’s origin.

Cristina doesn’t have to visit these cold worlds to study their tholins. Instead, she matches spectroscopic observations to computer-generated spectra. To do this, she varies the amount of each of the tholin ingredients, as well as the grain size of the compounds, in making the computer-generated spectra that she then matches with the telescopic observations. This is an esoteric kind of detective work that is giving insight into a class of organic materials that might be implicated in the early chemistry that led to life.


Dale Cruikshank, C.M. Dalle Ore, T.R. Geballe, J.H. Lewis, Tobias Owen, Ted Roush, 2002. Search for the 3.4-um C-H Spectral Bands on Low-Albedo Asteroids Icarus156, 434-441.

Dale Cruikshank, M.D. Cash, C.M. Dalle Ore, C. de Bergh, T.R. Geballe, W.K. Hartmann, Tobias Owen, Ted Roush, 2001. Constraints on the Composition of Trojan Asteroid 624 Hektor Icarus153, 348-360.

Tobias Owen, Dale Cruikshank, C.M. Dalle Ore, C. de Bergh, T.R. Geballe, Bishun Khare, R. Meier, Y.J. Pendleton, Ted Roush, 2001. Decoding the Domino: The Dark Side of Iapetus Icarus149, 160-172.

Dale Cruikshank, M.J. Bartholomew, C.M. Dalle Ore, C. de Bergh, S. Doute, T.R. Geballe, R. Meier, Tobias Owen, E. Quirico, Ted Roush, B. Schmitt, 2000. Water Ice on Triton Icarus147, 309-316.

Tobias Owen, Dale Cruikshank, C.M. Dalle Ore, T.R. Geballe, C. Griffin, R. Meier, Ted Roush, 1999. The Surfaces of Titan and Iapetus European Geophysical Society

Dale Cruikshank, M.J. Bartholomew, JF Bell III, Max Bernstein, RH Brown, C.M. Dalle Ore, JK Davies, C de Bergh, T.R. Geballe, Tobias Owen, Y.J. Pendleton, Ted Roush, DJ Tholen, KA Tryka, SM White, 1998. The Composition of Centar 5145 Pholus Icarus135, 389-407.

G.K. Benedix, Dale Cruikshank, C.M. Dalle Ore, C de Bergh, T.R. Geballe, Bishun Khare, Tobias Owen, Ted Roush, 1998. Surface composition models of the leading surfaces of Rhea and Dione DPS MeetingSession 44P,

Tobias Owen, Dale Cruikshank, C.M. Dalle Ore, C. de Bergh, T.R. Geballe, Ted Roush, 1998. Detection of Water Ice on Saturn's Satellite Phoebe Icarus140, 379-382.