News and Events

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

A team of astronomers, including assistant professor Kate Whitaker, recently published research in the journal Nature that many popular publications have said “breaks the universe.” While not literally true, the team, which used the newest trove of data retrieved from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), discovered that very old, very massive galaxies seem to exist on the fringes of the universe—which, according to current astronomical theory, shouldn’t be possible.

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Monday, March 20, 2023
UMass Sunwheel

Decades ago, Andy Morris-Friedman didn’t imagine that the odd collection of stones he stumbled upon during a bike ride would lead to involvement in a community for more than 25 years — and that he’d be one of the ones keeping it alive after the woman who built it died.

Astronomy-lovers have been gathering since the mid-1990s each solstice and equinox — the days the seasons change — at the UMass Sunwheel, a group of stones that mark the angles of sunrises, moonrises and other celestial events.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2023
National Science Foundation

Congratulations to Prof. Kate Whitaker, who was recently awarded an NSF CAREER grant in the amount of $799,007.  The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is an NSF-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. More information on this prestigious award can be found at: and


Tuesday, February 14, 2023
Congratulations to Dr. Sean Linden

Many congratulations to Dr. Sean Linden, who has been awarded the Strittmatter Postdoctoral Fellowship of the University of Arizona. Dr. Linden, currently a postdoctoral associate in Astronomy at the University of Massachusetts, will join the University of Arizona in the Fall of 2023. The Peter A. Strittmatter Post-Doctoral Fellowship for Advanced Study in Astronomy & Astrophysics is a prize fellowship created in 2016 in honor of Peter A. Strittmatter, who directed Steward Observatory for 37 years, starting in 1975. More information can be found at:


Wednesday, December 21, 2022
Sunset at UMass Amherst Sunwheel on December 21, 2023

Dr. Stephen Schneider, an astronomy professor at UMass Amherst, shows observers the astronomical cause of the solstice at the Sunwheel late Wednesday afternoon, December 21, 2022.

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Monday, December 12, 2022

Now that the Fall 2022 semester is winding down, I wanted to take a moment to congratulate our Colloquium Organizers:

       Sean Linden, Sinclaire Manning, Connor Robinson, and John Weaver

Thanks to their efforts and initiative, our Fall 2022 colloquium series has been stimulating and exciting, covering many and varied informative topics.

Please, stay tuned for the Spring 2023 series, which will be announced over the next few weeks and promises to be no less exciting. 

All the best,

Daniela Calzetti

Monday, November 21, 2022
Dr. George Greenstein presented with 2022 Richard Emmons Award

Last evening, at the 125th Awards Ceremony of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Derrick Pitts of the Franklin Institute (and Vice-president of the ASP) presented the 2022 Richard Emmons Award to George Greenstein of Amherst College.  The Emmons Award recognizes a lifetime of contributions to the teaching of Astro 101 courses at the college level.

Friday, October 21, 2022
Planetary Nebula

The latest Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Awards poster competition was a success, and we at AAS are excited to announce the winners of the competition! The following winners presented their posters at our 240th AAS meeting in Pasadena, California, in June 2022. The competition is only possible because of the hard work of our many judges, so if you haven't signed up to judge student posters in the past (or in a while), I encourage you to do so in the future. Your next opportunity will be at the 241st AAS meeting in Seattle, Washington, in January 2023.




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Thursday, October 6, 2022
Dr. F. Peter Schloerb

Professor in the Department of Astronomy, College of Natural Sciences Thursday, March 23, 2023, 4:00 p.m. Great Hall, Old Chapel UMass and the Large Millimeter Telescope In 2019, the first image ever made of a black hole triggered international excitement. The stunning image brought enormous attention to the University of Massachusetts, which played a key part in the global collaboration that captured the image.