Fact sheet from MSU astronomers on upcoming solar eclipse

EXPERTS AVAILABLE: Mississippi State University astronomers available to discuss upcoming solar eclipse


With an awe-inspiring solar eclipse taking place August 21, the public is interested in news stories about this natural phenomenon. MSU faculty members who also are professional astronomers are available to speak to members of the media about the eclipse and related topics, such as how to safely view the eclipse.



Dr. Angelle Tanner, MSU Associate Professor of Astronomy (Photo by Megan Bean)
Dr. Angelle Tanner received her bachelor’s degrees in astronomy and physics from the University of Arizona and her master’s and Ph.D. in astrophysics from UCLA. She was a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Georgia State University before coming to MSU in 2011.


Dr. Tanner’s research focuses on multiple methods of extrasolar planet detection, including using radial velocities, astrometry and direct imaging. She also is involved in research devoted to understanding the properties of the stars around which astronomers are looking for planets. She currently is developing the Starchive, an open access database of nearby stars that will be used by researchers searching to discover extrasolar planets.



Dr. Donna Pierce, MSU Associate Professor of Astronomy (Photo by Beth Wynn)
Dr. Donna M. Pierce received her bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Kentucky in 1997. Following her undergraduate studies, she received her Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Maryland College Park in 2006. As a graduate student, she worked on NASA’s Deep Impact mission to explore comet Tempel 1. She held a brief postdoctoral research position in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin before joining the faculty at MSU in 2007.


Dr. Pierce is a planetary astronomer who conducts research on the chemical composition of comets. She is a member of the American Astronomical Society, the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, and the American Geophysical Union.


To schedule an interview, contact Allison Matthews at allison.matthews@msstate.edu or 662-325-7457 or Harriet Laird at hlaird@opa.msstate.edu or 662-325-7460. The MSU TV Center has high definition television uplink capabilities, suitable for live and live to tape two way interviews or feeds. Contact David Garraway, director, at 662-325-1332 for more information.

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