News and Events

Saturday, March 20, 2021

A photo of the sunwheel at Sunset. The sun is setting behind a row of trees in winter, shining through clouds. The snow around the stones is reflecting the sunsetView the press release and Zoom link here!

Join UMass Astronomers for a live broadcast from the Sunwheel on Saturday, March 20, the first day of Spring! The webinar-format broadcasts will begin at 7 a.m. for sunrise and 6:30 p.m. for sunset, and will be streamed live from the center of the Sunwheel.

The UMass Sunwheel is a solar calendar made up of a stone circle, like England’s famous Stonehenge. Also like Stonehenge, the Sunwheel’s standing stones mark the location of the rising and setting sun during equinoxes and solstices. This unique calendar circle was designed by the late UMass professor of astronomy Judith Young, and has hosted public events celebrating the change of seasons since 1997

During the presentations Stephen Schneider will explain the changing positions of the sun, moon and Earth, and how the standing stones of the Sunwheel act as a calendar to mark the start of each season. He and other UMass astronomers at the webinar will be available to answer questions about the Sunwheel as well as questions about astronomy.


Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Two FCAD students, Meredith Stone (UMass) and William Balmer (Amherst College), were awarded the Chambliss Honorable Mention at the January 2021 AAS meeting. These awards “.. recognize exemplary research by undergraduate and graduate students who present at one of the poster sessions at the meetings of the AAS."
More information is available at:
Thursday, February 11, 2021

This 3-week summer program is taught by Astronomy Graduate Student Sarah Betti, assisted by other graduate students.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Prof. Schloerb has been honored by the ARCS Foundation  ( with an induction to their Alumni Hall of Fame for 2021, for `leadership and vision in the development of the Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso  Serrano, which  played a significant role in capturing the first image of a black hole, confirming Einstein's theory of general relativity.

More information can be found at:

Congratulations to Porf. Schloerb!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Watch the sunrise webinar recording here and sunset one here


Monday, December 21, 2020
To mark the sun reaching its southerly extreme and the start of astronomical winter, astronomers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will give live presentations via webinar from the campus’s unique Sunwheel at 7:15 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 21. The online sessions are free and open to the public.


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Special thanks to Grad Student Alyssa Sokol for putting together our department newsletter!

[PDF] /sites/default/files/Newsletter_Astronomy_update.pdf


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Astronomers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are marking an especially meaningful event this National Astronomy Week, as a team led by Professor Peter Schloerb recently received a three-year, $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to provide support for the Large Millimeter Telescope in Mexico and to offer – for the first time – access to it for astronomers from any U.S. institution. For more information:


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Thank you Professor Stephen Schneider, Professor Daniela Calzetti, and Beth Berry for recording our virtual Sunrise gathering!


Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Join UMass Amherst Astronomers on Tuesday, September 22nd 6:30am or 6:15pm for a virtual gathering. To join the webinar broadcast, click here. Please give yourself a few minutes to install Zoom ahead of time. The Autumnal Equinox this year is 9:30 a.m, marking the moment when the sun crosses the celestial equator from north to south as seen from Earth: the beginning of fall in the Northern Hemisphere and Spring in the Southern Hemisphere. UMass Amherst astronomer Stephen Schneider will discuss via a web broadcast the astronomical cause of the sun's changing position during the live presentation. He will also explain the design and history of the Sunwheel, and how it marks the changing positions of the sun and moon. More info: