Dr. Michael West


Dr. Michael West, Deputy Director for Science at Lowell Observatory
Extragalactic Astronomy
PhD Yale University, 1987


Dr. West joined Lowell Observatory’s science team in 2015. Prior to joining Lowell, he served as Director of the Maria Mitchell Observatory, Head of Science in Chile for the European Southern Observatory, Head of Science Operations at Gemini South, and a tenured Professor of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii.

Dr. West’s research focuses primarily on galaxy cannibalism, clusters of galaxies, and the large-scale structure of the universe. He has been the Principal Investigator for six Hubble Space Telescope projects to date, and co-Investigator on numerous others. He has also been awarded time on other major telescopes around the world.

Dr. West is also active in astronomy education and public outreach. He is a 2021-2023 U.S. Fulbright Scholar, spending several months in Finland to teach and research science communication with the public. He served on the International Astronomical Union’s Commission on Communicating Astronomy with the Public. He also served as chief astronomy content developer for the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii, a $28 million NASA-funded center that weaves together astronomy and Hawaiian culture into a compelling story of human exploration. He is currently involved in developing exhibits for Lowell’s new Astronomy Discovery Center.

An award-winning writer, his essays have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Astronomy magazine and other publications. He is also the author of two books, most recently A Sky Wonderful with Stars: 50 Years of Modern Astronomy on Maunakea.