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New Mexico State University
College of Arts and Sciences
Department of Astronomy
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Join the Department of Astronomy and the Southern New Mexico Natural History Foundation for a late-night lunar eclipse Monday, April 14, at the Tombaugh Observatory. The event is free and open to the public. Experts will be on hand to tell you all about our nearest celestial neighbour, answer questions, and let you view this total eclipse through telescopes from 10 p.m. Monday April 14 through 2 a.m. Tuesday April 15.

The event will begin at 10 p.m. with a short presentation about the Moon and eclipses, followed by telescope viewing of several planets. The Moon will begin to enter the deepest part of Earth's shadow, called the umbra, at 11:58 p.m., and will be totally eclipsed for more than an hour beginning at 1:06 a.m. Deepest eclipse occurs at 1:46 a.m. The event will conclude around 2 a.m., though the Moon will remain totally eclipsed until 2:24 a.m.

Attendees should dress warmly, as this is an outdoor event and it will be very cool. There will be hot chocolate for sale to support the NMSU undergraduate Astronomy Club. In the case of inclement weather, the event will be cancelled.


Please join us at the campus observatory at 9:00pm on Friday, May 9 for a guided tour of the night sky. Professor Jim Murphy will present a short astronomical talk, aidedby graduate students Sten Hasselquist, Laura Mayorga, and Cat Wu. Objects to be observed include the first quarter Moon, the planets Mars and Jupiter, the Orion Nebula and more! Children are particularly welcome!


Our hats go off to our six astronomy graduate students (shown below) who participated in the NMSU College of Arts & Sciences Three-Minute Thesis Competition on April 5, 2014. Students had three minutes each to present a thesis project (on one slide) and make the case in as compelling a fashion as possible, in an event designed to encourage graduate students to polish their communication skills and engage an audience.

Our students did us all proud! Graduate research fellow Kyle Uckert (third from left) won first place in the compeition with his solar system presentation, while Kyle Degrave (second from right) scored a third place win for his talk on helioseismology. Just imagine what they'll be able to cover in 45 minutes for a full PhD thesis presentation ...

Congratulations to graduate students Teresa Ross, winner of the 2013 Pegasus Award for excellence in teaching, and to Nikki Nielsen, who was recently awarded the 2013 Zia Award for excellence in research. Joining them are the 2013 winner of the Murrell Award for outstanding research or professional development, Maria Patterson, and Kenza Arraki, winner of the 2013 Rappaport Award for outstanding public service.

We also congratulate recent PhD Chas Miller for receiving a 2013 College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Graduate Award, and senior student Sebastian Trujillo-Gomez for his 2013 Outstanding Graduate Student Award from the Graduate School.

Our hats go off as well to Laura Mayorga, winner of a Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Award at the American Astronomical Society Meeting in January 2014.


Three cheers for newly minted PhD Adam McKay, who defended his thesis on The Volatile Composition of Comets as Inferred from Gas Production on October 25, 2013!

Dr. Malynda Chizek defended her out-of-this-world PhD defense on July 12, 2013, focusing on Data and Model Investigation of Martian Methane and Other Trace Gases. Job well done!

Our best wishes go out to Dr. Maria Patterson, who defended her PhD work on Properties of Star Formation and the Interstellar Medium in Galaxy Outskirts on April 5, 2013. Three cheers for Maria!

Give an abundant hurrah for Dr. Ryan Hamilton, whose PhD work on Constraining Photospheric Abundances of Donor Stars in Cataclysmic Variables came to fruition on April 4, 2013. Well done, Ryan!

Let's hear it for Dr. Michael Kirk, who defended his PhD thesis on The Anatomy of Chromospheric Flares and Associated Ephemeral Brightenings on February 15, 2013. Bravo, Michael!

Four cheers (one per satellite) for Dr. Chas Miller, for his PhD thesis work on Methods for Constraining Surface Properties and Volatile Migration on Phoebe, Triton, Pluto, and the Moon, presented on February 22, 2013.