Chani Nava is a fourth year student majoring in physics with the astronomy option. She is currently the lead student researcher at UM on Project Minerva, a multi-institution collaboration to build a dedicated observatory for detection of rocky planets around nearby stars. Chani is modeling Minerva observations of potential planet host stars, and is working to develop the observation scheduling algorithm for the project. Earlier this year, she presented a poster on her Minerva research at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, DC and conducted a four-night commissioning campaign with the first Minerva telescope in Pasadena, California. Last summer, she was a research intern at the Maria Mitchell Observatory in Nantucket, Massachusetts. She plans to attend graduate school in astrophysics upon completing her degree at UM. Chani is a native of Billings, Montana.

Listen to Chani's interview on the In Other Words Radio Show.


We’ve created a Dodgeball team for all the people connected to the Physics & Astronomy department.  Everyone is welcome – students (physics, pre-engineering), faculty, and staff!  If you would like to play, here is the link to the UM intramural league for spring dodgeball:

All you need to do is find our team name (The Big Newtons) as you scroll down the page.  If you haven’t done so, you will need to register with an account on  But it should be really easy, and once you do, you can just click “Join” when you find Big Newtons on the link above.  Students, I’ll post the information to our SPS group on Facebook, as well.

We will be playing Wednesdays at 8:30pm, starting with January 29.  Even if you can’t make it every week, that’s no problem.  You can still join the team and show up when you can.  In addition to dodgeball, I hope we can do a number of departmental activities together during the spring term!  People have already suggested things like softball, hiking, biking, etc.  Please come see me, Mark Reiser in CHCB 120 for more information!


The Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) mission is mapping the region in space where our solar system ends and the rest of the galaxy begins. As of the end of 2013, it has produce five complete skymaps of this boundary region, including the discovery of a still unexplained source of energetic particles that girdles our solar system, known as the "IBEX Ribbon".  UM Physics & Astronomy Faculty are responsible for the operation of one of the two main sensors on IBEX.  For more information, see the IBEX mission website.