Dr. Deidre Hunter


Extragalactic Astronomy
PhD University of Illinois, 1982

Dr. Hunter joined Lowell Observatory’s science staff  in 1986. Before that, she held postdoctoral fellowships at Kitt Peak National Observatory and the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism of the Carnegie Institution. 

For years, Dr. Hunter has headed the LITTLE THINGS project (Local Irregulars That Trace Luminosity Extremes and the HI Nearby Galaxy Survey).  She and her team are striving to gain an understanding of star-forming processes in nearby dwarf irregular galaxies–how stars form from the interstellar medium and why the density of stars drops from the center of the galaxy outward, sometimes in a peculiar way. What is peculiar is how normal the drop off is.

Earlier in her career at Lowell, Dr. Hunter worked with astronomer Vera Rubin on the stellar kinematics of dwarf galaxies. Dr. Rubin earned her Ph.D. in astronomy in 1954, and was a trailblazer for women in the field.

Besides her research, Dr. Hunter also co-founded  Lowell’s Native American Astronomy Outreach Program in 1996 with Dr. Amanda Bosh and continues to direct it. This is a science enrichment and outreach program for 4th-8th grade Native American teachers and their classes.  Partly due to her commitment to this long-running and innovative program, Dr. Hunter was awarded the American Astronomical Society’s 2014 Education Prize.

Check out Dr. Hunter’s webpage.