Astronomer Profile: Dr. Deidre Hunter

Note: Seven Lowell Observatory astronomers will participate in the 2017 Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience in Madras, Oregon on August 20-21. We will profile each in separate blogs. Today, we introduce Dr. Deidre Hunter.


Deidre Hunter earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in 1975 and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Illinois in 1982.

Research Interests

Dr. Deidre HunterDr. Hunter’s primary scientific interest is tiny irregular galaxies—how they originate, evolve, and produce stars and star clusters, and how they are shaped. 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.

Dr. Hunter also runs Lowell’s Navajo-Hopi Astronomy Outreach Program. This is a science enrichment and outreach program for 5 th – 8 th 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. Largely due to her commitment to this long-running and innovative program, Hunter was awarded the American Astronomical Society’s prestigious Education Prize in 2014.

Fun Fact

Dr. Deidre HunterDr. Hunter and her husband (fellow Lowell astronomer Dr. Phil Massey) have backpacked in the Grand Canyon 21 times, the last three with their daughter. They have also rafted down the Colorado River on commercial trips twice, paddling the entire way, and will be taking their daughter on her first trip in the summer of 2017.

Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience Presentation

Date: Monday, August 21, 11 a.m.

Title: Tiny Galaxies and Baby Stars

Description: Dwarf irregular galaxies are the tiniest galaxies in the universe. Yet, they pose a problem by doing what people say they shouldn’t be able to do: make new stars.

By Kevin Schindler, Lowell Observatory Historian

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