Husky Giving Day 2023 was a success!

From James Davenport, Associate Director of DiRAC and Astronomy Research Professor

On April 6, 2023, DiRAC and UW Astronomy participated in the annual Husky Giving Day event. Last year we were able to launch or successful Summer Research Prize program for undergraduates, which was recently profiled by the UW College of Arts and Sciences Newsletter. This year we are aiming to continue the summer undergraduate prize, as well as kick off a new graduate student support program!

I am proud to announce another successful drive for support of our student research programs, with more than 20 individual donors raising a total of over $15,000! I want to especially recognize the contributions of members of the DiRAC Advisory Board, particularly David Brooks and Jeff Glickman, who have once again been instrumental at supporting this program. We look forward to awarding these 2023 summer research prizes, and I can’t wait to see what amazing research our students pursue.

This kind of community-driven support is critical for the programs at DiRAC and UW Astronomy. We have one of the largest undergraduate astronomy programs in the nation, and a world-class cohort of graduate students. If you would like to support the work of these amazing young scientists at any level, please consider making a gift!

Keep looking up, and THANK YOU all for helping us in our mission to explore and understand the universe.

-James Davenport

UW Astronomers share latest research at the DiRAC Planetarium Event

On March 1st, 2023 DiRAC hosted the first of a series of events “A New Era of Discovery: Mapping the Universe with the Rubin Observatory” at the UW Planetarium.

The interest in the event exceeded all the expectations. The evening was planned around two planetarium shows and many opportunities to hear the latest updates from scientists, postdoctoral fellows, engineers, and students – all contributing in building the largest sky survey in human history.

UW astronomers informed and engaged guests in various topics from the Rubin Alert Distribution System, Asteroid Dynamics & Impacts to the Big Data & Citizen Science.

Bruno C. Quint

In the second part of the evening, DiRAC Director, Prof. Mario Juric, acknowledged one of the major donors and a partner, B612 Foundation. He presented Danica Remy, B612 President, with a small token of gratitude after which a former astronaut and the Asteroid Institute Executive Director, Ed Lu, joined the conversation virtually on Zoom.

DiRAC team is energized by the support of its community and plans to continue the momentum of excitement and curiosity especially as we are nearing the Rubin Observatory’s first light in 2024. We will share the knowledge as we learn it and present opportunities to further engagements and events. If you would like to stay in touch and learn about the next event, please email us at

“A New Era of Discovery: Mapping the Universe with the Rubin Observatory”

We’re at the brink of a new age of survey-driven discovery in astronomy. Where before we could only study a handful of objects at a time, new detectors, algorithms, and telescopes will soon allow us – and the entire world – to monitor billions.

The flagship of this era will be the Rubin Observatory, set to open in Chile in late 2024. Rubin will continuously gather data for over 20Bn stars, 20Bn galaxies, with billions of asteroid observations. In importance, it is a ground-based peer of the Webb space telescope.

In about a year, DiRAC researchers, students, and citizen scientists will use Rubin to scan the Solar System for hazardous asteroids, discover interstellar comets, and search for new planets in our Solar System. Our codes will map the Milky Way, detect the most energetic explosions in the universe, and help understand Dark Energy. Our students will learn about astronomy by participating in once-in-a-generation wave of discovery.

We’re looking forward to sharing this with the community of enthusiasts, friends, and supporters who make DiRAC possible. 

For more upcoming events check out our website’s news and events page.

Support the Astronomy Department & DiRAC Students on April 6th, UW Husky Giving Day

On April 6th, 2023, join us on Husky Giving Day, an annual philanthropy event at the University of Washington!

Photo by Bruno C. Quint

Your support will fuel two student-focused programs

created by the UW Astronomy Department and DiRAC!

We’re on the brink of a new age of survey-driven discovery in astronomy. The flagship of this era will be the Rubin Observatory, set to open in Chile in late 2024. DiRAC researchers, students, and citizen scientists will use data from the Rubin Observatory to:

  • Scan the Solar System for hazardous asteroids
  • Discover interstellar comets
  • Search for new planets in our Solar System
  • Map the Milky Way
  • Detect the most energetic explosions in the universe
  • Help understand Dark Energy

Our students will learn about astronomy by participating in a once-in-a-generation wave of discovery, and you can help make this possible by supporting our summer programs.

James Davenport (standing), Associate director of the DiRAC Institute, meeting with the 2022 DiRAC Summer Research Prize recipients. Photo by Juan Rodriguez.

DiRAC Summer Research Prize recipients Josue Torres-Valdovinos (left) and Ishan Ghosh-Coutinho. Photo by Juan Rodriguez. 

Program for UW Undergraduate Students

Successfully piloted in 2022, the “Undergraduate Summer Research Prize” for UW undergrads will continue in 2023.

The program will award $3500 to UW undergraduate students working on summer research projects with faculty and staff at UW Astronomy. We are excited to continue this program – Thank you to our ongoing supporters!

Program for UW Graduate Students

Getting engaged with research early in graduate school can fundamentally change a graduate student’s career direction.

This year we are launching a new initiative called the  “Jumpstart Research Fellowship”. This program will award $3500 to incoming UW graduate students to enable them to start their research the summer before they arrive at UW – allowing students to focus on research prior to taking classes in the fall.

Such programs have been shown to accelerate and deepen students’ engagement in research, particularly for students from non-traditional pathways.

Our work, from outreach to education to fundamental research, is made possible in no small part by contributions from supporters like you. Thank you for your support; it truly makes a difference!

Rubin Observatory network technician Guido Maulen installs fiber optic cables on the Top End Assembly of the telescope mount.