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





A Short Vita

Archive of Published 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

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!

Other Odds & Ends

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)

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

A Physicist's Guide to Astrophysics Talks – A quick guide to basic astrophysics (pptx) still under construction

Reflectance Spectroscopy - Introduction to the ALTA Spectrometer

Astronomy: The Solar System Fall 2019  Syllabus

Astronomy: Life in the Universe Spring 2012 Syllabus

Advanced Topics in Astronomy Spring 2019  Syllabus

Astrophysics-I (4025 & 8025)   Fall 2015 Syllabus

Summer Seminar on Cosmic Dust

Great Women in Astronomy and Other Stuff

Recent Representative Papers:

“IRTF/SpeX Observations of the Unusual Kepler Light Curve System KIC 8462852”, C.M. LIsse, M.L. Sitko, and M. Marengo. 2015, ApJL, 815, L27. pdf


“Variability of Disk Emission in Pre-Main Sequence and related Stars: III. Exploring Structural Changes in the Pre-Transitional Disk in HD 169142”, K.R Wagner, M.L. Sitko, C.A. Grady, J.R. Swearingen, E.H. Champney, A.N. Johnson, C. Werren, B.A. Whitney, R.W. Russell, G.H. Schneider, M. Momose, T. Muto, A.K. Inoue, J.T. Lauroesch, J. Hornbeck, A. Brown, M. Fukagawa, T.M. Currie, J.P. Wisniewski, and B.E. Woodgate. 2015, ApJ, 798, 94 pdf


 “Resolving the Gap and AU-Scale Asymmetries in the Pre-Transitional Disk of V1247 Orionis”, S. Kraus, M. Ireland, M.L. Sitko, J.D. Monnier, N. Calvet, C. Rspaillat, C.A. Grady, T.J. Harries, S. F. Hönig, R.W. Russell, J.R Swearingen, C. Werren, and D.J. Wilner. 2013, ApJ, 768, 80 pdf


“Spiral Arms in the Asymmetrically Illuminated Disk of MWC 758 and Constraints on Giant Planets”, C.A. Grady, T. Muto, J. Hashimoto, M. Fukagawa5, T. Currie, B. Biller, C. Thalmann, M. L. Sitko, R. Russell, J. Wisniewski, R. Dong, J. Kwon, S. Sai, J. Hornbeck, G. Schneider, D. Hines, A. Moro Martín, M. Feldt, J. Olofsson, Th. Henning, A. Sicilia-Aguilar, R. van Boekel, J.-U. Pott, M. Benisty, M. Bonnefoy, J. Bouwman, S. Lacour, A. Mueller, A. Juhász, A. Crida, G. Chauvin, S. Andrews, D. Wilner, A. Kraus, S. Dahm, T. Robitaille, H. Jang-Condell, L. Abe, W. Brandner, T. Brandt, J. Carson, S. Egner, M. Goto, O. Guyon, Y. Hayano, M. Hayashi, S. Hayashi, K. Hodapp, M. Ishii, M. Iye, M. Janson, R. Kandori, G. Knapp, T. Kudo, N. Kusakabe, M. Kuzuhara, M. McElwain, T. Matsuo, S. Miyama, J.-I. Morino, T. Nishimura, T.-S. Pyo, G. Serabyn, H. Suto, R. Suzuki, M. Takami, N. Takato, H. Terada, D. Tomono, E. Turner, M. Watanabe, T. Yamada, H. Takami, T. Usuda, and M. Tamura. 2013,  ApJ, 762, 48 pdf


Detection of Inner Spiral Structures in the Disk of SAO 206462 (HD 135344B) and the Implications of the Physical State of the Disk by Spiral Density Wave Theory”, T. Muto, C. A. Grady, J. Hashimoto, M. Fukagawa, J. B. Hornbeck, M. Sitko, R. Russell, C. Werren, M. Curé, T. Currie, N. Ohashi1, Y. Okamoto, M. Momose, M. Honda, S. Inutsuka, T. Takeuchi1, R. Dong, L. Abe, W. Brandner, T. Brandt, J. Carson, S. Egner, M. Feldt, T. Fukue, M. Goto, O. Guyon, Y. Hayano, M. Hayashi, S. Hayashi, T. Henning, K. W. Hodapp, M. Ishii1, M. Iye, M. Janson, R. Kandori, G. R. Knapp, T. Kudo, N. Kusakabe, M. Kuzuhara, T. Matsuo, S. Mayama, M. W. McElwain, S. Miyama, J.-I. Morino, A. Moro-Martin, T. Nishimura, T.-S. Pyo, E. Serabyn, H. Suto, R. Suzuki, M. Takami, N. Takato, H. Terada, C. Thalmann, D. Tomono, E. L. Turner, M. Watanabe, J. P. Wisniewski, T. Yamada, H. Takami, T. Usuda, and M. Tamura. 2012, ApJ, 748, L22 pdf


“Variability of Disk Emission in Pre-Main Sequence and Related Stars. II. Variability in the Gas and Dust Emission of the Herbig Fe Star SAO 206462”, M.L. Sitko, A.N. Day, R.L. Kimes, L.C. Beerman, C. Martus, D.K. Lynch, R.W. Russell, C.A. Grady, G. Schneider, C.M. Lisse, J.A. Nuth, M. Curé, A.A. Henden, S. Kraus, V. Motta, M. Tamura, J. Hornbeck, G.M. Williger, & D. Fugazza. 2012, ApJ, 745, 29 pdf