Category Archives: Front Page News

Graduate Student Tyler Gardner accepts Postdoc Position

Tyler recently accepted a post-doc position at University of Exeter, where he will be working in the group of Stefan Kraus. Tyler will lead data analysis and science preparation for the BIFROST instrument, a short-wavelength, high-spectral resolution instrument planned to be commissioned at ESO’s VLTI. Tyler will help carry out large surveys on young stars, binaries, and planet-host stars to advance our understanding of star and planet formation. He will also stay engaged with CHARA, using instruments such as MIRCX and MYSTIC for similar science surveys.

Professor Monnier named 2020 AAS Legacy Fellow

2020 February

The American Astronomical Society has recently established a new accolade, Fellow of AAS, which honors members for extraordinary achievement and service. According to AAS “Fellows will be recognized for original research and publication, innovative contributions to astronomical techniques or instrumentation, significant contributions to education and public outreach, and noteworthy service to astronomy and the Society itself.”

Professor Monnier Awarded the 2019 AAS Weber Award

2019 January Announcement / 2020 January Award received at the AAS Meeting

Professor John Monnier who has been awarded the 2019 American Astronomical Society (AAS) Joseph Weber Award for Astronomical Instrumentation. This honor was awarded for John’s work in long baseline optical interferometry.


Ben Setterholm receives NASA Graduate Fellowship

Congratulations to Ben Setterholm on receiving the NASA FINESST Fellowship this year!

The title of his research project is “Imaging the Terrestrial Planet-Forming Region of Young Star Disks” and he will develop new observing techniques and imaging algorithms using the CHARA/MIRC-X and MYSTIC combiners.  We hope to learn more about the initial conditions of terrestrial planet formation by zooming in to look at the gas and dust only a few au from very young stars.



Alicia Aarnio starting faculty job!

Alicia has accepted a faculty position in the Physics & Astronomy department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. UNCG is the third largest in the NC system, and until the 60’s, was a women’s college. Today, 2/3 of the undergraduates are women, the University is a federally recognized MSI, and it maintains strong partnerships with a neighboring Historically Black University (NC A&T). The city of Greensboro is known for being home to the most influential sit-ins of the civil rights movement in 1960. UNCG is investing in growing its physics and astronomy program and observational facilities, and Alicia will be kept very busy roboticizing and building a new solar/stellar spectrograph for the Three College Observatory for both teaching and research purposes.

Congratulations from all of us at University of Michigan and former group members !

Good luck with your new position!

Rachael Roettenbacher accepts Postdoc Fellowship at Yale

Rachael Roettenbacher (UM PhD 2016) has accepted the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Prize Fellowship to begin in the fall.  She chose the YCAA fellowship among several offers, including the prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship.

At Yale, Rachael will extend her work imaging stellar activity through a detailed analysis of starspots in space-based photometry supplemented by interferometric observations and high-resolution spectra.  She will study activity across stellar masses and evolutionary states aiming to find common starspot characteristics to aid in exoplanet characterization, for example.

Rachael Roettenbacher announced new Baldwin Prize Winner!

Rachael Roettenbacher (UM PhD 2016) has been selected to receive the University’s Ralph Baldwin Prize in Astrophysics and Space Science.  She was selected among a pool of recent graduates nominated by their departments for excellence in research.  She will receive the prize at a ceremony on campus in the near future.

Purpose of the University of Michigan Baldwin Prize:

The Ralph B. Baldwin Prize in Astrophysics and Space Sciences is an award sponsored by a generous gift to the University by Dr. Ralph B. Baldwin. Applicants must show original and significant contributions to their field as measured in their scholarly publications.

Congratulations, Alicia!

I wanted to pass along the good news that UM Research Scientist Alicia Aarnio has accepted the George Ellery Hale Postdoctoral Fellowship in Solar and Space Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder. The fellowship is jointly supported by CU and the National Solar Observatory, which has recently relocated headquarters to Boulder. Alicia will continue her work on young stars and the solar-stellar connection both theoretically and observationally; this is an exciting opportunity as NSO prepares for the DKIST (Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope) first light.

Congratulations, Alicia!


PS. You can keep up with Alicia’s research at her new home page: and email: