Congratulations to Munazza Alam, Harvard graduate student in astronomy & astrophysics, for being selected as a National Geographic Young Explorer! Learn more about this extraordinary researcher in her online interview.
Astronomers announced today that they have found the organic molecule methyl alcohol, or methanol, in the TW Hydrae protoplanetary disk. This is the first such detection of this chemical compound in a young planet-forming disk. Because methanol forms on the icy coatings of small dust grains, this discovery provides a window into the region where comets likely are forming.
"Our Earth consists of silicate rocks and an iron core with a thin veneer of water and life. But the first potentially habitable worlds to form might have been very different. New research suggests that planet formation in the early universe might have created carbon planets consisting of graphite, carbides, and diamond. Astronomers might find these diamond worlds by searching a rare class of stars.
The graduate student retreat was a success again this year! Roughly 20 students participated (including 5 first-years) in a day trip to Salem, MA. Students explored Salem, visited the Friendship ship, went kayaking, paddle boarding, and fishing. At the end of the day, they gathered for an outdoor barbecue with a beautiful view of the harbor. Read more about 2016 Graduate Student Retreat
Dave Charbonneau and Avi Loeb joined forces to announce honors and awards at the annual Honors Colloquium on Monday, May 23. Among the many students cited, two undergraduates received Goldberg Prizes (Tom Leith and Matt Pasquini) and two graduates received Fireman Fellowships (Maria Drout and Elisabeth Newton). Read more about 2016 Astronomy Honors Colloquium and Picnic