Dr. Michael D. Stage
Astrophysicist and
Astronomy Subject Matter Expert

PhD., MIT 2003
B.S. with honors, Caltech, 1997

Former Director of the
MHC Williston Observatory

Astronomers: do you know where I am?

Astronomy and Astrophysics Courses:
Mount Holyoke College Classes
Spring 2013: Astronomy 228: Astrophysics I: Stars and Galaxies"
Fall 2008-Spring 2013: Astronomy 101 Survey of the Universe Labs
Intersession 2013, 2012: The Physics of "Futurama"
Fall 2012: Astronomy 100/101 Survey of the Universe
Spring 2010: Astronomy 100/101 Survey of the Universe Lecture
Fall 2008-ongoing: 295/395 Independent Studies and Senior Thesis
Summer 2009: SEARCH summer astronomy program

UMass Astronomy Classes
Astronomy 101:
Spring 2009: The Solar System

Astronomy 100: Exploring the Universe
Spring 2008 (Honors)
Spring 2007
Fall 2006

Astronomy Education Work and Research:
Over the past few years and continuing into the present, I have contributed to or, more often, led the development of, several McGraw-Hill educational products in support of their astronomy textbooks Pathways to Astronomy and Explorations, including developing the origial astronomy "LearnSmart" modules for these texts, an exciting new way for students to study.

In addition to creating the introductory astronomy lab at MHC, I have also worked with other members of the FCAD department to study the effectiveness of various technologies, from clickers to applets, in teaching introductory astronomy. See, e.g., my ASP Cosmos in the Classroom 2007 paper, Designing Astronomy-Math Components for Large Lectures.
Astrophysics Research:

Cosmic ray diffusion near the Bohm limit in the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant
The major focus of my research has been the non-thermal emission from accelerated electrons in the Cassiopeia A Supernova Remnant (SNR), using data from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory and in collaboration with Glenn E. Allen, John C. Houck, and John E. Davis at the MIT Kavli Institute. I am presently combining my earlier results (below) from spectral and spatial analysis of Chandra observations of Cas A with higher-energy spectra obtained with the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer and the Suzaku X-ray Telescope. This research is supported by a Chandra X-ray Observatory Cycle 10 research grant. I presented preliminary results were at "Supernova Remnants and Pulsar Wind Nebulae in the Chandra Era" (2009) in Boston. We also published some combined Chandra and RXTE fits in (Allen, Stage & Houck) from the International Cosmic Ray Conference 2007. My previous work includes:

2006 Nat Phys Paper: Nature Physics 2, pp614-619, doi:10.1038/nphys391
In this issue, intoductory blurb by Don Ellison, original preprint (at arXiv) and final article.

2006 Press Release: Chandra X-ray Center: Chandra Discovers Cosmic Pinball Machine

Learn more about S-Lang and ISIS, the programming language and software which made our analysis of 1.1 million seconds of Chandra X-Ray Observatory data possible.  Here's the ApJS paper on the non-thermal models (or the arXiv version).

FITS format files of the major image maps presented in the article will be made available at this site in the future.

2010 3-D Remnant Paper: In a collaboration with Tracey DeLaney and her colleagues, some of those FITS files I created on the way to the arcade have been used in conjunction with Spitzer Infrared Telescope observations of Cas A to create a fantastic three dimensional model of the Cassiopeia A remnant. The paper (DeLaney, Rudnuck, Stage et al.) has been submitted to the Astrophysical Journal; you can find animationsof the 3D structure here and the press release for that project (and a second, unrelated work) here.

Radio Galaxy Survey
I have also worked with Stephen Schneider at UMass and my UMass and MHC students on simulations to help understand the detection limits of the fields in the  Arecibo Galaxy Environment Survey (AGES). More information about the AGES early results can be found in this preprint.

Thermal Emission from Remnant Ejecta
I occasionally study the thermal emission from remnants, for example this analysis with UMass' Daniel Q. Wang of a somewhat peculiar supernova remnant G93.3+6.9 observed by the new Suzaku X-ray Telescope. I presented some results at Suzaku 2007 (Dec. 2007).

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