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Nancy Chanover

Nancy Chanover

Contact Info
AY 210

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Expertise: Planets, Infrared Imaging, Radiative Transfer Modeling




Dr. Chanover’s research involves the study of planetary atmospheres using visible and infrared imaging and spectroscopic techniques. She has worked on projects involving the upper atmospheric chemistry of Venus; measuring wind speeds on Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn; and studying the atmospheric vertical structure of Jupiter, Saturn, and Titan using radiative transfer modeling. Many of her ground-based observing efforts have been in support of and complementary to NASA spacecraft missions such as Galileo and Cassini. Dr. Chanover is also involved in the development of new instrumentation for planetary science, primarily acousto-optic tunable filter instruments for high spectral resolution imaging and/or spatially resolved spectroscopy. Dr. Chanover is the PI of NASA’s Planetary Data System Atmospheres Discipline Node, which is located in the NMSU Astronomy Department. The PDS archives all data from planetary spacecraft missions. In 2017 she was appointed as the Director of the Astrophysical Research Consortium 3.5m telescope at Apache Point Observatory.

There are currently four graduate students working with Dr. Chanover.

Fourth-year student Emma Dahl is working on the acquisition and analysis of ground-based hyperspectral images of Jupiter in support of the Juno mission.

Second-year student Kristen Luchsinger is modeling the debris plume generated by the LCROSS spacecraft collision into a permanently shadowed crater near the Moon’s South Pole.

First-year student Ali Hyder is analyzing spectral image cubes generated from Cassini/CIRS data to examine Saturn’s latitudinal variations of disequilibrium species.

First-year student Matthew Varakian is examining optical spectra of asteroids to assess the detectability of volatiles with a plasmonic filter technology being developed at NMSU for in situ experiments.


Previous Ph.D. Students

  • Alexander Thelen (2018), The Chemical Composition and Dynamics of Titan’s Atmosphere as Revealed by ALMA
  • Kyle Uckert (2016), Characterization of Biosignatures Within Geologic Samples Analyzed Using a Suite of In Situ Techniques
  • Candace Gray (2015), The Effects of Solar Flares, Coronal Mass Ejections, and Co-Rotating Interaction Regions on the Venusian 5577 A Oxygen Green Line
  • Adam McKay (2013), The Volatile Composition of Comets as Inferred from Gas Production
  • Chas Miller (2013), Methods for Constraining Surface Properties and Volatile Migration on Phoebe Triton, Pluto, and the Moon
  • Michael Sussman (2011), Modeling Seasonal Change on Uranus with the EPIC GCM
  • Paul Strycker (2011), Studies of Jovian Atmospheric Structure and Coloring Agents Using Hyperspectral Imaging
  • Randall Carlson (2011), Spatial and Seasonal Variations in Saturn’s Haze and Vertical Phosphine Distribution at 3 Microns from 2005 to 2010
  • James Norwood (2010), The Vertical Structure of the Uranian Atmosphere Near Equinox as Modeled with Near-Infrared Spectroscopic Observations
  • Carrie Anderson (2006), Aerosol Vertical Structure in Earth-Analog Atmospheres: Titan’s Haze and Martian Dust
  • Takafumi Temma (2005), Vertical Structure Modeling of Saturn with High Spectral Resolution Imaging


Dr. Chanover currently teaches a pilot First Year Seminar course entitled The Planets: Climate Change Across the Solar System (ASTR 105G). She has previously taught the online version of the undergraduate course entitled Introduction to Astronomy (ASTR 110G), other introductory and upper level undergraduate astronomy courses at NMSU, as well as a graduate course on Solar System Astrophysics and directed independent studies related to planetary atmospheres.