Astronomers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) reached the conclusion that after a “lazy” start of star formation for the first few billion years of their lives, both the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are now forming new stars at a rapid rate. They made the first-ever detailed chemical maps of galaxies beyond our own.
Star Formation At Virginia
Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) at Virginia
Instrumentation Laboratory at Virginia
Theoretical and Computational Astrophysics at Virginia
Astrochemistry at Virginia
World Class Facilities at Virginia
Planetary Science at Virginia
This Hubble image taken by University of Virginia astronomer Craig Sarazin of the nearby elliptical galaxy Messier 105 (also called NGC 3379) is currently the Hubble Space Telescope Picture of the Week (January 7 - 11).
Anne Verbiscer, Research Professor in Astronomy, is the Assistant Project Scientist for NASA’s New Horizons Mission, which flew by Ultima Thule on January 1, producing the picture shown above. Ultima Thule is the most distant object ever visited by a spacecraft. Verbiscer was interviewed for the NOVA TV program which aired the following night. She said: "When I first saw the images, I think I probably said ‘wow’ a million times.” The NOVA program is available at
University of Virginia astronomers Mike Skrutskie and Anne Verbiscer led a group of undergraduate UVA students to Sénégal to participate in a campaign to observe the occultation of a distant star by the Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule. Ultima Thule is the target of a flyby by the New Horizons spacecraft on January 1, 2019. The occultation can reveal details about Ultima Thule, such as its diameter and may reveal whether it is surrounded by a ring or moons.
UVA astronomer Nitya Kallivayalil was interviewed on German public radio about the very rapid prepartion and submission of papers just after the second data release from the European Space Agency's Gaia mission. Kallivayalil's paper featured the discovery of satellite galaxies that are falling into the Milky Way with the Magellanic Clouds (http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/1805.01448). The paper was submitted within a week of the data release!
The Virginia Initiative on Cosmic Origins (VICO) officially began operations on May 1st. VICO is an interdisciplinary research program focussed on the formation of stars, planets and life in the Universe and supported by $1 million from UVa’s Strategic Investment Fund. Led by Prof. Eric Herbst, VICO brings together faculty from the Depts. of Astronomy, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Sciences, and Materials Science & Engineering, as well as the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.
Incoming University of Virginia astronomy faculty member Ilse Cleeves has been awarded the Annie Jump Cannon Award of the American Astronomical Society for "her groundbreaking work on planet formation and protoplanetary disks. She has established herself as an expert in astrochemical signatures in circumstellar disks."
Read more about the Annie Jump Cannon Award
A team of astronomers, including Jonathan Tan of Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden and the University of Virginia, are using NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy to study the births of massive stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. “Understanding the birth process of massive stars is one of the most important unsolved problems of modern astrophysics, since these stars are so influential throughout our galaxy and beyond.” says Tan.
Dr. John Wilson, a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Astronomy, is the recipient of the 2017 Maria and Eric Muhlmann award of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. This award recognizes recent significant observational results made possible by innovative advances in astronomical instrumentation, software, or observational infrastructure and is one of the few in the astronomical world focused on instrumentation.
News & Announcements
July 8, 2019
Nitya Kallivayalil, an associate professor in Astronomy, has been award a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S.... Read»
July 2, 2019
Friday | July 12 | 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. | FREE
Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11's moon landing at Light House Studio/Vinegar Hill Theatre. Enjoy a special screening... Read»
July 2, 2019
Steve Layman, an amateur astronomer who’s made a career in music, works with the astronomy department to bring telescopes to schools and Scouts. (Photo by Sanjay Suchak, University Communications... Read»