Michael L. Sitko

Department of Physics, University of Cincinnati





My interests center around the nature of interstellar, circumstellar, and interplanetary dust grains, and the role they play in the formation of planetary systems. It is apparent that the formation of planets will have observable effects on the disks of material from which they for. I am currently involved in a number of investigations whose nature it is to detect these signposts of planet formation.


What’s the life of an astronomer really like? To see what a typical observing session at the IRTF is like, go here, or see another group’s video



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A Short Vita

Archive of Published Mid-IR Spectra and Mike's SpeX Data Reduction Manual (v2) (34 MB pdf)

ADS Search of All of My Publications

ADS Search of My Refereed Publications

Scientific Background: The Formation and Evolution of Solar Systems

Astronomy at UC

Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3

In 2005 I also became an off-site employee of the Space Science Institute.

Web Sites for Some Important Planetary Missions


Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Mars Odyssey

Mars Express

Mars Rovers

Mars Science Lab - Curiosity

Messenger to Mercury

Rosetta - Landing on a Comet  - Where is Rosetta Now?

New Horizons Pluto-Kuiper Belt Probe - Where is New Horizons Now?

Cassini Mission to Saturn

Venus Express

Dawn - mission to Ceres & Vesta - Where is Dawn Now?

Web Sites for Some Important Space Astronomy Missions

Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX)

Spitzer Space Telescope

Chandra X-ray Observatory

Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE)

Kepler is discovering exoplanets!

Numerous young stars show spectroscopic evidence for what would seem to be stargrazing comets. Such objects were routinely observed hitting the Sun, using coronagraphic images taken by the SOHO satellite. The solar system today is very empty compared to these other systems, and the collision rate much lower by many orders of magnitude

Sungrazing Comets Observed with SOHO – 1000 Comets, and counting……

The Cincinnati Observatory Center

The country's oldest operating observatory is right here in Cincinnati.

Astronomy Picture of the Day 

Star Sizes Compared (from APOD)

2003 UB313 - 10th Planet or Kuiper Belt Object? - You Decide

Teaching Pigs to Sing – By Harriet Hall (reprinted with permission of the author & Skeptical Inquirer)

Cargo Cult Science – from Richard P. Feynman’s “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman”

Judging Books by their Covers – another amusing tale from Feynman

Astronomy: Stars and Galaxies - Winter 2006

Reflectance Spectroscopy - Introduction to the ALTA Spectrometer

Astronomy: Life in the Universe Winter 2008

Astronomy: Life in the Universe Spring 2008  Syllabus

Astronomy: Life in the Universe Spring 2009 Syllabus

Astronomy: Life in the Universe Spring 2012 Syllabus

Advanced Topics in Astronomy (341) Spring 2007

Advanced Topics in Astronomy  Spring 2011  Syllabus

Advanced Topics in Astronomy Spring 2012  Syllabus

Astrophysics-I (4025 & 8025)     Fall 2012 Syllabus

Astrophysics-II (522 & 822)        Winter 2012 Syllabus

Summer 2007 Seminar on Cosmic Dust

Summer 2004 lecture on SETI

Great Women in Astronomy and Other Stuff

Recent Representative Papers:

 “Revealing the Structure of a Pre-Transitional Disk: The Case of the Herbig F Star SAO 206462 (HD 135344B)”, C. A. Grady, G. Schneider, M. L. Sitko, G. M. Williger, K. Hamaguchi, S. D. Brittain, K. Ablordeppey, D. Apai, L. Beerman, W. J. Carpenter, K. A. Collins, M. Fukagawa, H. B. Hammel, Th. Henning, D. Hines, R. Kimes, D. K. Lynch, F. Ménard, R. Pearson, R. W. Russell, M. Silverstone, P. S. Smith, M. Troutman, D. Wilner, B. Woodgate, and M. Clampin, ApJ, 699, 1822. (pdf)


“HD 100453: A Link Between Gas-Rich Protoplanetary Disks and Gas-Poor Debris Disks”, K.A. Collins, C.A. Grady, K. Hamaguchi, J.P. Wisniewski, S. Brittain, M. Sitko, W.J. Carpenter, J.P. Williams, G.S. Matthews, G.M. Williger, R. van Boekel, A. Carmona, Th. henning, M.E. van den Ancker, G. Meeus, X.P. Chen. R. Petre, & B.E. Woodgate, ApJ 697, 557 (2009). (pdf)


“Ultraviolet Spectroscopy of HD 44179”, M.L. Sitko, L.S. Bernstein, and R.J. Glinski, ApJ,  680, 1426-1437 (2008). (pdf)


“Variability of Disk Emission in Pre-Main Sequence and Related Stars. I. HD 31648 and HD 163296 - Isolated Herbig Ae Stars Driving Herbig-Haro Flows”, M.L. Sitko, W.J. Carpenter, R.L. Kimes, J.L. Wilde, D.K. Lynch, R.W. Russell, R.J. Rudy, S.M. Mazuk, and C.C. Venturini, R.C. Puetter, C.A. Grady, E.F. Polomski, J.P. Wisnewski, S.M. Brafford, H. B. Hammel, R.B. Perry, ApJ, 678, 1070-1087 (2008). (pdf)