Deidre Hunter, Astronomer
Deidre's thesis work on the star-forming properties of irregular galaxies received an award from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. She held postdoctoral fellowships at the Kitt Peak National Observatory and the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism of the Carnegie Institution of Washington before coming to Lowell Observatory in 1986. Her primary scientific interest is the tiny irregular galaxies - how they originate, evolve, and produce stars and star clusters, and how they are shaped. Her approach is multi-wavelength, including optical, radio, and infrared imaging and spectroscopy.
Deidre also runs our Navajo-Hopi Astronomy Outreach Program. This a science enrichment and outreach program for 5th-8th grade Navajo and Hopi teachers and their classes. The program pairs astronomers with teachers for one year. The astronomer visits the classroom throughout the year, leading astronomy discussions and hands-on activities in collaboration with the teacher. The astronomer also holds star parties at the school and involves tribal educators in presenting traditional astronomical knowledge. The year-long partnership culminates in a field trip to Lowell Observatory in which the students visit the Observatory's Steele Visitor Center during the day and observe on two of our research telescopes at night. Over the past 18 years, LEAP has worked with 75 5th-8th grade teachers at Navajo and Hopi Nation schools. Every few years we hold a workshop for teachers. The teachers learn about activities that they can do in their classrooms and enhance their understanding of astronomy. The teachers go away energized and excited to bring astronomy to their classrooms. For more information about the Navajo-Hopi Astronomy Outreach Program, visit the program's webpage.
Of her work at Lowell, Deidre says, "What I like most about my job is figuring out how the universe works, things that no one ever knew before. I like working at Lowell because of the great team of people who are here, the collegial atmosphere, and the freedom to work on whatever I think is interesting or important. I like living in Flagstaff because of all of the great outdoor activities."