M. Darby Dyar

Kennedy-Schelkunoff Professor and Chair of Astronomy

Darby Dyar's research seeks to understand the distribution of hydrogen and oxygen throughout our solar system, using Mössbauer, reflectance, Raman, synchrotron, and LIBS spectroscopies as well as advanced machine learning technique for data processing and interpretation. She has published more than 200 papers in scientific journals and has been supported by more than 30 grants from NASA and NSF totaling over $4.1 million in the past decade alone. She served as a Participating Scientist on the Mars Science Laboratory mission.

Darby Dyer

Thomas Burbine

Director of the Observatory

Anne Jaskot

Five College Post Doctoral Fellow

Using observations from radio to X-ray wavelengths, Anne Jaskot studies the gas properties of low-mass starburst galaxies. In particular, she analyzes the sources of high-energy UV radiation within starburst galaxies and the interactions of the UV radiation with the galaxies’ gas. Her research examines how galaxies like these starbursts may have reionized the universe in the first billion years after the Big Bang.

5-COLL Astronomy Dept

Jason Young

Visiting Lecturer in Astronomy


Sarah Byrne

Department Coordinator for Physics

Caleb I. Fassett

Research Associate in Astronomy

Kate Lepore

Research Laboratory Manager

Kate Lepore spends most of her time in the Mineral Spectroscopy Laboratory where she uses laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) to study the elemental composition of geological materials. One of the biggest projects in the lab is the compilation of a nearly 3000-sample LIBS dataset that can be used to improve calibrations for a variety of LIBS systems, including ChemCam on the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity. Kate is also available to assist students with other projects within the department.

Kate Lepore

Elizabeth Sklute

Postdoctoral Researcher

Elizabeth Sklute uses a combination of spectroscopy (VNIR, MIR, Raman, and Mössbauer) along with microscopy to investigate hyperthermophilic iron reduction of synthetic, nanophase, iron oxides in order to determine if biosignature could be detected on Mars. These synthetic samples are also used to investigate spectral variation with grain size, shape, and composition in the nanophase size regime. Elizabeth also uses Hapke radiative transfer modelling to calculate optical constants for common planetary materials while investigating the limitations of that technique.

Elizabeth Sklute


Tom R. Dennis

Professor Emeritus of Astronomy