News & Events

5th New England Star Formation Meeting

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Astronomy Department will host the 5th New England Star Formation Meeting on January 18, 2019. The aim of this series of meetings is to bring together the students, postdocs, and faculty who are working on topics related to the Galactic star formation, in order to share recent research efforts. These topics include exoplanets and circumstellar disks, prestellar and poststellar cores, outflows, and molecular clouds. Participating institutions are: Amherst College, Boston University, Harvard-Smithsonain Center for Astrophysics, University of Connecticut, Wesleyan University, Yale University, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Astronomy Grad Student Sarah Betti Published 1st Peer-Reviewed Publication

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Congratulations to graduate student Sarah Betti's first peer-reviewed publication, "Constraining the Magnetic Field of the Smith High Velocity Cloud using Faraday Rotation".


The Smith Cloud is a high velocity cloud (HVC) with an orbit suggesting it has made at least one passage through the Milky Way disk. A magnetic field found around this cloud has been thought to provide extra stability as it passes through the Galactic halo. We use Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array to measure Faraday rotation measures (RMs) toward 1105 extragalactic background point sources behind and next to the Smith Cloud to constrain the detailed geometry and strength of the magnetic field. The RM pattern across the cloud gives a detailed morphology of the magnetic field structure which indicates a field draped over the ionized gas and compressed at the head of the cloud. We constrain the peak line-of-site magnetic field strength to > +5 uG and create a model of the magnetic field to demonstrate that a draped configuration can qualitatively explain the morphology of the observed RMs.

Astronomers Reveal New Details About Monster Star-forming Galaxies

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

An international team of astronomers from Japan, Mexico and UMass Amherst studying a "monster galaxy" 12.4 billion light years away report that their instruments have achieved a 10-times-higher angular resolution than ever before, revealing galaxy structural details previously unknown. They also were able to analyze dynamic properties that could not be probed before.