Skip to main content

Physics professor publishes two astronomy research papers

Share on:

Posted on Monday, February 26, 2024

Dr. Matteo Luisi, assistant professor of physics and director of the Westminster College Planetarium, recently co-authored two astronomy-focused research publications.  

Published by The Astrophysical Journal, Luisi and his co-authors wrote “The GBT Diffuse Ionized Gas Survey (GDIGS): Discrete Sources.” Their research mapped part of the Milky Way using the Green Bank Telescope (GBT). Located in West Virginia, the GBT is the largest fully steerable radio telescope in the world. Their observations concentrated on nebulae, known as HII regions. After analyzing these regions, Luisi and his team discovered radio emission from almost 100 previously uncharacterized HII regions.

The team observed emission from 10 additional sources, whose high velocities are atypical of HII regions, indicating they may have discovered a new class of objects.

“Our observations of these 10 sources raise more questions than answers—what are they and why do they move so fast? We are hoping that follow-up studies with different telescopes will help us answer those questions,” said Luisi.

Focusing on how to best analyze telescope data, Luisi’s paper, “Methods for Averaging Spectral Line Data,” concentrates on observations of light spanning multiple wavelengths akin to colors in a rainbow. The co-authored paper was published by the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. The research determines the optimal averaging method so that observed signals are at the best quality. Luisi is hopeful that this research will support future discoveries of faint radio signals.

“The exciting part about astronomy is that there is so much we don’t yet know and with every telescope observation we learn more about the universe we live in,” said Luisi, a native of Graz, Austria. Luisi joined the Westminster faculty in 2021.

For more information about his research, please contact Luisi at 724-946-7285 or

To learn more about Westminster’s physics major, please visit