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
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A University of Virginia-led program, “Dark Skies, Bright Kids,” has been bringing astronomy to local schools in Albemarle County for more than 10 years, opening up a universe of possibilities and knowledge for children in the Charlottesville community.
You can watch the video at UVA Today: Reaching for the Stars in the UVA Community
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."
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.
Late Sunday night into early Monday morning, the moon will “go from full, to nearly disappearing, to being full again in the course of a few hours,” University of Virginia astronomy professor Ed Murphy said. Learn more at this UVA Today Article.
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.
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.
News & Announcements
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»
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»