A conference celebrating the 20th anniversary of an agreement to build the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT) as a collaboration between the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica (INAOE) in Mexico was held on November 18 and 19 at INAOE in Tonantzintla, just outside the city of Puebla, Mexico. The LMT is the largest radio telescope of its kind in the world, and it is now producing its first scientific results. Professors Peter Schloerb, Steve Schneider and Bill Irvine from the UMass Astronomy Department were invited attendees at the conference. Schneider, Head of Astronomy, presented greetings and congratulations from the UMass administration; while Schloerb, UMass PI on the project, described the ambition, dedication, and collaboration that were required to bring to the telescope to fruition.
The meeting’s first day was devoted to a review of the development, achievement, and impact of the LMT project, including talks by officials from CONACyT (the “Mexican NSF”) and the Mexican Space Agency, representatives of several of the major companies participating in the project, and senior astronomers from UMass and INAOE. The second day featured some of the first scientific data from observations with the LMT, with UMass professor Daniel Wang and Astronomy graduate student Allison Kirkpatrick (lead author on the first published paper based on LMT results) participating from the US by SKYPE. The LMT is about to begin the third round of “early science”, in which scientists from UMass, INAOE and their collaborators from around the world use the telescope to study fundamental processes of star formation and the structure of galaxies, from our own Milky Way to the most distant objects in the universe. This third round of science received 65 proposals for observations with the LMT, involving almost 300 astronomers form some 100 scientific institutions.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst Sunwheel and Sky-Watching events mark the winter solstice on December 21, 2014.
James Lowenthal, Professor of Astronomy at Smith College, has shared a link to some photos and videos from the from his 7-night run at the facility in December 2014.
Astronomer Peter Schoerb, part of an international team, takes a close-up look at a comet.
From NBC News -- Rosetta's Comet Revealed: It's Dry on the Outside, Fluffy on the Inside.
Professor Emeritus William Irvine of the Astronomy Department is the Co-Chief Editor of the soon to appear Encyclopedia of Astrobiology, being produced by the publisher Springer. The science of astrobiology is concerned with the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the universe. It is an extremely interdisciplinary field, combining aspects of physics, astronomy, chemistry, geoscience, biology, microbiology, planetary science, and the history of science. The new, 2nd edition, of the Encyclopedia of Astrobiology contains some 2000 entries by more than 400 authors from institutions around the world, the articles ranging from short entries of 200-500 words to overviews of more than 6000 words. The Encyclopedia will be produced in both 4 volumes of printed text and in an on-line version. Professor Irvine has been selected to be on the editorial board of the Japanese journal Progress in Earth and Planetary Science.
In a first, astronomers catch a multiple star system in the process of forming.
Professor Peter Schloerb and colleagues are among the first research findings to be published from the European Space Agency's Rosetta Mission to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenkoas published in Science
We are very pleased and excited to announce that Dr. Kate Whitaker has been offered the prestigious NASA’s Hubble Postdoctoral Fellowship, the world’s top fellowship program in astronomy according to many, which she will carry out at the Department of Astronomy here at UMass Amherst starting this coming summer. A UMass alumna, Kate received her Bachelors of Science in Physics and Astronomy in 2005. She graduated summa cum laude with one of the first cohorts through the Commonwealth College. During her time at UMass, she was also awarded the Hasbrouck Scholarship, William F. Field Alumni Scholarship, Outstanding Undergraduate Award in the Astronomy Department, and the Mary Dailey Irvine Prize. Following her successful start at UMass, Kate went on to receive her PhD in 2012 through the Department of Astronomy at Yale University. Kate is currently a James Webb Space Telescope Postdoctoral Program Fellow at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. She is excited to return to UMass Amherst to pursue her research interests in understanding the growth of galaxies across cosmic time.
The Office of Research Development in collaboration with Corporate and Foundation Relations is pleased to announce the following nominees for the Limited Submission 2015 David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowships for Science and Engineering:
Yuriy Burn, Computer Science: Self-Adaptive Software that Discovers and Corrects Bugs
Stella Offer, Astronomy: A New Paradigm for the Origin of Stars and Stellar Multiplicity