Introducing Phil Massey

Phil Massey (@MassiveStarGuy) is an observational astronomer at Lowell Observatory, where he joined the staff in 2000.  Before that, he worked at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, where he was the telescope scientist for the Kitt Peak 4-meter Mayall telescope. At Lowell, he’s served as the principal Investigator for the Large Monolithic Camera, the workhorse imager for Lowell’s 4.2-meter Discovery Channel Telescope.  He is also well-known for his observing and IRAF manuals, which have served as an introduction to optical CCD imaging and spectroscopic reductions for several generations of astronomers.  Phil also enjoys teaching, and teaches the occasional course at neighboring Northern Arizona University, where he serves as an adjunct.
Phil’s research interests include the study of massive stars (O-type, Wolf-Rayet, and red supergiants).  He and his collaborators use the nearby galaxies of the Local Group to study how the evolution of the most luminous and massive stars is affected by environmental factors such as metallicity.  In this work he primarily uses optical photometry and spectroscopy from ground- and space-based telescopes, with occasional forays into the ultraviolet and near infrared.  Paradoxically, Phil hates travel but loves observing from remote mountain tops, particularly Las Campanas Observatory, from which he studies stars in the Magellanic Clouds.
He’s published more than 300 papers, conference proceedings, and abstracts over the years, and hopes to make it to 1000.  He’s privileged to work with some great collaborators, including @KathrynNeugent and @emsque.  He also enjoys hiking and backpacking with his family, particularly in the Grand Canyon.

Introducing Kathryn Neugent

Kathryn Neugent is a PhD Candidate in Astronomy at the University of Washington working with Dr. Emily Levesque. She has additionally been working as a research associate with Phil Massey at Lowell Observatory for the past 10 years. Alongside Emily and Phil, Kathryn studies massive stars (stars greater than 10 solar masses) and their evolution in the Local Group Galaxies (primarily M31, M33, and the Magellanic Clouds). Her current projects include identifying and characterizing binary Red Supergiants and their B-type star companions, understanding the evolution of Yellow Supergiants as both pre-and post- Red Supergiant objects, and directly determining the masses of Wolf-Rayet + O star binary systems. As an observational astronomer she travels the world observing at telescopes such as Gemini in Hawaii and Las Campanas in Chile. While not observing she enjoys backpacking, photography, and hanging out with her boyfriend, cat and corgi in sunny Seattle. You can stalk her more at her website:

Introducing Jennifer Hoffman

This week features Jennifer Hoffman. Jennifer is an associate professor of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Denver. However, she is on sabbatical from DU and is currently visiting the University of Wisconsin, where she received her Ph.D. Jennifer studies evolved massive stars and supernovae, with particular interests in binary interactions and circumstellar material. She uses observational spectropolarimetry and computational modeling to discover connections between core-collapse supernova explosions and their massive progenitor stars.

Now that she has tenure, Jennifer is also reviving longstanding interests in science education, public outreach, and diversifying the STEM community. She is still a relative Twitter newbie, but suspects that it can be a powerful tool for all of these purposes (and science too!). She normally tweets at @astroprofhoff, and her website is