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Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) at Virginia

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Instrumentation Laboratory at Virginia

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Theoretical and Computational Astrophysics at Virginia

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Planetary Science at Virginia

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Spinning black hole has rapidly pivoting jets

Astronomers, including Craig Sarazin from U.Va., have discovered jets shooting out at nearly the speed of light from the regions around a black hole, and which are changing their direction rapidly (minutes to hours).  This reorientation of the jets is due to the Lense-Thirring Precession, an effect predicted by Einstein's Theory of General Relativity.  This effect is expected to occur near a rotating black hole, and is caused by the rotating black hole dragging space and time around with it as it rotates.  This is believed to be the first direct observation of the Lense-Thirring Precession

Mengyao Liu Wins Two Prestigious Awards

Graduate student Mengyao Liu has been selected as a 2019-2020 Jefferson Scholars Foundation Dissertation Year Fellow. The merit based fellowships are designed to "identify Ph.D. and M.B.A. candidates who demonstrate outstanding achievement and the highest promise as scholars, teachers, public servants, and business leaders in the United States and beyond. Once selected, Jefferson Fellows are charged with furthering the quality of education, intellectual life, and mission of the University."

Spiraling Giants: Witnessing the Birth of a Massive Binary Star

An international group of astronomers, including Jonathan Tan from the University of Virginia, have made observations of a molecular cloud that is collapsing to form two massive protostars that will eventually become a binary star system. The observations showed that, even at this early stage, the cloud contains two objects: a massive “primary” central star and another “secondary” forming star, with a combined mass of at least 18 times that of our Sun. For the first time, the researchers were able to use these observations to deduce the dynamics of the system.

UVa Astronomer Helps to Image Ultima Thule

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 

Ultima Thule Occultation in Senegal

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.

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News & Announcements

THIRD-YEAR UNDERGRAD RESEARCHER NAMED GOLDWATER SCHOLARS

April 11, 2022

Theo O’Neill wants to understand how stars are formed. They will now pursue their research as recently named a Goldwater Scholar. Goldwater Scholarships are awarded through a partnership between... Read»

UVA Astronomers Will Map the Unmapped in Outer Space

April 7, 2022

Three University of Virginia astronomers research projects were selected for the first cycle of the James Webb Telescope’s General Observer programs. Assistant professor L. Ilsedore “Ilse” Cleeves... Read»

Ilse Cleeves Named Cottrell Scholar

February 24, 2022

Ilse Cleeves, astronomy, University of Virginia, is among 24 outstanding teacher-scholars in chemistry, physics, and astronomy named recipients of Research Corporation for Science... Read»

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