News and Events

Thursday, May 5, 2022
Congratulations to Meredith Stone

Congratulations to astronomy student Meredith Stone, who has been selected to receive the Outstanding Astronomy Senior Award. The Outstanding Astronomy Senior Award is awarded to a graduating undergraduate student who has demonstrated outstanding performance across the multiple dimensions of academics, research, and community engagement. 

Thursday, May 5, 2022
Congratulations to Emily Martsen and Caleigh Ryan

Astronomy seniors Emily Martsen and Caleigh Ryan have been selected to receive the Astronomy Award for Academic Excellence. The Astronomy Award for Academic Excellence is awarded to a graduating undergraduate student who has achieved outstanding academic performance, through excellent GPA. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2022
Sierra Gomez

Congratulations to UMass Astronomy undergraduate student Sierra Gomez for being awarded the Five Colleges Lorna M. Peterson Prize for 2022. The Lorna M. Peterson Prize supports scholarly and creative work by undergraduate students taking part in Five College programs and cross campus collaborations. The Prize is awarded annually based on nominations from Five College programs.



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Tuesday, May 3, 2022
David J. Van Blerkom

Congratulations to Astronomy undergraduate students Samuel Millstone and Daniel Krista-Kelsey, who have been awarded the David J. Van Blerkom Scholarship for 2022. The scholarship is endowed by the Van Blerkom family and is awarded based on academic excellence to a University of Massachusetts undergraduate and supports a research internship for that undergraduate.

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Friday, March 18, 2022

"Women are Creating a New Culture for Astronomy" is a recent opinion article on Scientific American, where quotes from Dr. Sinclaire Manning, a Hubble Fellow at the department of Astronomy, figure prominently. Thank you to Sinclaire for sharing her experiences and thoughts with the article's author.

You can find the article here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022
summer sun wheel

The public is invited to celebrate the beginning of spring at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Sunwheel on Sunday, March 20. To mark the day of the vernal equinox, UMass astronomers will give talks explaining the astronomy of the seasonal changes at 6:45 a.m. and 6 p.m., while viewing sunrise and sunset among the standing stones of the Sunwheel.

More information can be found here.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022
K Follete

Professor Kate Follette, faculty in the department of Physics at Amherst College and graduate faculty in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Massachusetts, was recently named one of the 2022 Cottrell Scholars.The Cottrell Scholars program is run by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement and the awards are very competitive, based on both research and teaching excellence.

More information here.

Thursday, December 16, 2021
Umass Amherst Sunwheel

"The public is invited to observe sunrise and sunset on the day of the winter solstice among the standing stones of the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Sunwheel on Tuesday, Dec. 21, at 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Heavy rain or snow will cancel the gatherings." 

Please find more information here.

Monday, November 22, 2021
Head shot of woman with short blonde hair and black blazer

Prof. Kate Whitaker is among the eleven UMass Faculty recently recognized by Clarivate Analytics, owner of the Web of Science, as Highly Cited Researchers. These are the researchers whose citations to their scholarly work place them among the top one percent by citations in their field for the year. More information can be found here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021
The slumbering giant galaxy at the center of this image is 10 billion light-years away.  Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Newman, M

Image: The slumbering giant galaxy at the center of this image is 10 billion light-years away. 
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Newman, M. Akhshik, K. Whitaker

For more info, see: Running on Empty: Research by UMass Amherst Astronomers Solves the 12-Billion-Year-Old Mystery of Stalled Galaxies

“The most massive galaxies in our universe formed incredibly early, just after the Big Bang happened, 14 billion years ago,” says Kate Whitaker, professor of astronomy at UMass Amherst. “But for some reason, they have shut down. They’re no longer forming new stars.” Star formation is one of the key ways that galaxies grow, and they’re said to have gone quiescent when they cease forming stars. Astronomers have known that these early, massive galaxies had gone quiescent, but until now, no one knew why.

To find the answer, Whitaker’s team, which includes Alexandra Pope, professor of astronomy, and Christina C. Williams, who received her Ph.D. in astronomy at UMass, devised an innovative pairing of telescopes. They used the Hubble Space Telescope, which sees ultraviolet to near-infrared light, including the light we can see with our own eyes, to detect these distant galaxies, which are so far away that we’re only just now seeing the light they emitted 10 billion to 12 billion years ago, when the universe was in its infancy. In effect, Whitaker’s team is looking into the deep past.

See also: news feature press release


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