News and Events

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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Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Image of the sunwheel in the fall: five standing stones in field on sunny day, against cloudy blue sky and fall foliage.
"Astronomers mark the change of seasons as the moment when the sun crosses over the celestial equator from the northern hemisphere of the sky to the southern hemisphere. This year the exact minute of the autumnal equinox is 3:21 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Sept. 22. At that moment, fall begins in the Northern Hemisphere and spring in the Southern. On the day of the equinox, an observer located on Earth’s equator will see the sun pass directly overhead at local noon. It also marks the beginning of six months of daylight at the South Pole and six months of nighttime at the North Pole."

View A Time-Lapse Video of the Equinox Here:

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Wednesday, August 25, 2021
Cropped portrait style photo of Shuiyao Huang. A man with short beard and dark hair stands in front of a light beige background

The Thesis Defense will be held Wednesday, August 25, 2021 3:00pm via Zoom.


The propagation and evolution of cold galactic winds in galactic haloes is crucial to galaxy formation models. However, modeling of this process in hydrodynamic simulations of galaxy formation is over-simplified owing to a lack of numerical resolution and often neglects critical physical processes such as hydrodynamic instabilities and thermal conduction. In this thesis, I propose an analytic model, Physically Evolved Winds (PhEW), that calculates the evolution of individual clouds moving supersonically through a uniform ambient medium. The model reproduces predictions from very high resolution cloud-crushing simulations that include isotropic thermal conduction over a wide range of physical conditions. I also describe the implementation of this model into cosmological hydrodynamic simulations of galaxy formation as a sub-grid prescription to model galactic winds more robustly both physically and numerically.


Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Cropped portrait-style photo of woman with medium blonde hair in front of a blurred green background wearing a floral shirt.


It is with immense pleasure that we announce Dr. Alexandra Pope's promotion to Full Professor. Congratulations Prof. Pope!


Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Photo of Profssor Dyar with medium blonde hair, yellow sweater and blue tshirt iwth "veritas" logo, standing in a machine shop.

Congratulations to Mount Holyoke College Professor Darby Dyar!


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