Skip to main content

Jon Holtzman

Jon Holtzman

Contact Info
holtz at
AY 103

Expertise: Stellar Populations, Cosmology, Galactic Structure




Dr. Holtzman has interests in the fields of stars, stellar populations, the structure of galaxies, and cosmology.

Dr. Holtzman has been actively involved with several Sloan Digital Sky Survey projects. He was actively involved with the SDSS-II supernova survey, and is currently spending a lot of time working with the SDSS APOGEE survey: he was the Survey Scientist for the SDSS-IV APOGEE-2 survey. APOGEE was a survey designed to study stars in the Milky Way and some nearby galaxies, using the tool of high resolution near-infrared spectroscopy. He is currently serving as Commissioning Scientist for the SDSS-V project.

He has been an experienced user of the Hubble Space Telescope, and participated as a member of the Instrument Definition Teams for the WF/PC and WFPC2 cameras, and was a member of the Science Oversight Committee for the planned WFC3 camera. He has studied the history of galaxy assembly of nearby galaxies by deriving star formation histories based on the distribution of stars in color-magnitude diagrams. He is also interested in working on incorporating observed chemical abundances in an attempt to derive a self-consistent model of the star formation and chemical evolution history of nearby galaxies. He has also worked on more distant galaxies, attempting to understand the mechanisms of spiral galaxy formation through studies of their structure and integrated stellar populations. He has also worked on young, massive, compact clusters in external galaxies.

Dr. Holtzman also has interests in observational techniques and instrumentation. He has been the Project Scientist for the ARC 3.5m Telescope and is responsible for the operation of the NMSU 1.0m Telescope at Apache Point Observatory.

Dr. Holtzman is currently working with graduate student Julie Imig on modeling the density distribution of mono-age and abundance populations in the Milky Way and on characterizing stellar parameters for the MaStar component of the SDSS/MaNGA project, and with graduate student Alexander Stone-Martinez to use neural networks to derive distances and ages for APOGEE stars.

Recent graduates

  • Drew Chojnowski, PhD, 2020, “H-Band Spectroscopy of Exotic Massive Stars”
  • Sten Hasselquist, PhD, 2018, “Chemical Abundances of the Milky Way and Sagittarius Using APOGEE”
  • Diane Feuillet, PhD, 2016, “Ages and Abundances of Local Galactic Stellar Populations”
  • Teresa Ross, PhD, 2015 “Exploring stellar metallicities in dwarf galaxies and their implications”
  • Michael Hayden, PhD, 2015. “Chemical cartography of the Milky Way disk with the SDSS-III/APOGEE survey”
  • Dan Oravetz, MS, 2015 “Searching for metallicity spread in five galactic star clusters “
  • MJ Clark, MS, 2012
  • Bhasker Moorthy, PhD, 2006, “Bulges of Spiral Galaxies: Stellar Populations, Structure, Kinematics, and Dynamics"
  • Pey-Lian Lim, MS, 2006, “High-resolution spectroscopy of a volume-limited Hipparcos sample within 100 parsec”
  • Sarah Bates, MS, 2005, “Sloan Digital Sky Survey photometry for globular clusters in M31 and five newly discovered globular clusters “
  • Hector Noriega, MS, 2004
  • Salman Hameed, PhD 2001 (coadvise)
  • Chris Garasi, PhD 2001 (coadvise)
  • Nathaniel Paust, MS, 2000, “The star formation history of the local Milky Way”
  • Matthew Carlson, PhD, 1999, “Young globular clusters in interacting galaxies”
  • Marla Geha, MS, 1998


Dr. Holtzman teaches both undergraduate and graduate classes. At the undergraduate level, he is a popular teacher for Introductory Astronomy (ASTR 110). At the graduate level, he has been teaching the Observational Techniques (ASTR 535) graduate class for many years and also a class on Numerical and Statistical Methods in Astronomy (ASTR 630); he also developed and taught a class on Galaxies (ASTR 555) for graduate students. He had led seminars on well-cited papers in astronomy, the Science Behind the SDSS-II Supernova Survey, Nucleosynthesis, and Globular Clusters.

Selected publications (student authors denoted by *):

SDSS-IV MaStar: Data-driven Parameter Derivation for the MaStar Stellar Library
Imig*, J., Holtzman, J.A., Yan, R., et al, AJ 163, 56 (2022)

Chemical Cartography with APOGEE: Mapping Disk Populations with a 2-process Model and Residual Abundances
Weinbert, D.H., Holtzman, J.A., Johnson, J.A., et al, ApJS 260, 32 (2022)

APOGEE Data and Spectral Analysis from SDSS Data Release 16: Seven Years of Observations Including First Results from APOGEE-South
Jönnson, H., Holtzman, J.A., et al, AJ 160, 120 (2020)

Chemical Cartography with APOGEE: Multi-element Abundance Ratios
Weinberg, D. H., Holtzman, J A., Hasselquist*, S., et al, ApJ 2019, 874 (2019)

APOGEE [C/N] Abundances across the Galaxy: Migration and Infall from Red Giant Ages
Hasselquist*, S., Holtzman, J. A., Shetrone, M. ApJ 871, 181 (2019)

APOGEE Data Releases 13 and 14: Data and Analysis
Holtzman, J. A., Hasselquist*, S., Shetrone, M., et al, AJ 156, 125 (2018)

Age-resolved chemistry of red giants in the solar neighbourhood
Feuillet*, D.K., Bovy, J., Holtzman, J.A., et al, MNRAS 477, 2326 (2018)

Determining Ages of APOGEE Giants with Known Distances
Feuillet*, D.K., Bovy, J., Holtzman, J.A., et al, ApJ 817, 40 (2016)

Abundances, Stellar Parameters, and Spectra from the SDSS-III/APOGEE Survey
Holtzman, J.A., et al, AJ 150, 148 (2015)

Chemical Cartography with APOGEE: Metallicity Distribution Functions and the Chemical Structure of the Milky Way Disk
Hayden*, M.R., Bovy, J. Holtzman, J.A., et al ApJ 808, 132 (2015)

Metallicity Distribution Functions of Four Local Group Dwarf Galaxies
Ross*, T.L, Holtzman, J.A. et al, AJ 149, 198 (2015)

Chemical Cartography with APOGEE: Large-scale Mean Metallicity Maps of the Milky Way Disk
Hayden*, M.R., Holtzman, J.A., et al, AJ 147, 116 (2014)

Calibrations of Atmospheric Parameters Obtained from the First Year of SDSS-III APOGEE Observations
Meszaros, S., Holtzman, J.A. et al, AJ 146, 133 (2013)

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey-II Photometry and Supernova IA Light Curves from the 2005 Data
Holtzman, J.A., et al, AJ 136, 2306 (2008)

The Local Group Stellar Populations Archive From The Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Planetary Camera 2
Holtzman, J.A., Afonso, C., & Dolphin A., ApJS 166, 534 (2006)

The Properties of Galaxies in Voids
Patiri, S., Prada, F., Holtzman, J.A., Klypin, A., & Betancourt-Rijo, J., MNRAS (2006)

Stellar Populations in Bulges of Spiral Galaxies
Moorthy*, B. & Holtzman, J.A., MNRAS 371, 583 (2006)

Structure of Disk Dominated Galaxies I. Bulge/Disk Parameters, Simulations, and Secular Evolution
MacArthur, L.A., Courteau, S., & Holtzman, J. A. 2003, ApJ, 584, 931

Population Gradients in Local Group Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxies
Harbeck, D., Grebel, E.K., Holtzman, J.A., Guhathakura, P., Brandner, W., Geisler, D., Sarajedini, A., Dolphin, A., Hurley-Keller, D., & Mateo, M. 2001, AJ, 122, 3092

Stellar Populations in the Phoenix Dwarf (dIrr/dSph) Galaxy as Observed by HST/WFPC2
Holtzman, J.A., Smith, G.H., & Grillmair, C. 2000, AJ, 120, 3060