As Sky & Telescope's News Editor, Monica commissions, writes, and edits articles on the latest news in astronomy science, observing, and technology. She writes and edits feature articles for the print magazine as well, including a November 2020 feature article on the Parker Solar Probe that won the Solar Physics Division's Popular Media Award. She enjoys corresponding with readers about that bright star in the sky and the nature of black holes, among many other things.

Monica joined the staff in 2012 as web editor, with a primary mission of creating, maintaining, and updating website content. She guided the website through a major migration in 2014 and managed the overhaul of the site's interactive sky chart.

Monica fell into astronomy the way you might fall into a black hole — with no hope of return! At the University of Pittsburgh, Monica majored in Physics & Astronomy, with a second major in Journalism. She went on to complete her Ph.D. at Boston University, where she studied how quasars — the supermassive black holes lurking in distant galaxies — accumulate matter. To do this, she amassed data for 792 quasars from the XMM-Newton X-ray space telescope and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. She conducted part of her research at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and graduated from Boston University in 2010 before taking a postdoc at The Pennsylvania State University.

Meanwhile, Monica spent her free time writing for the Association for Women in Science magazine, Penn State's media relations, and various other media outlets. Soon, what started as a hobby became her reason for getting up in the morning. So when an opportunity at Sky & Telescope arose, Monica was delighted to join the team.

When Monica's not editing, writing, or reading about astronomy, she can be found playing the clarinet, hiking, and chasing after her three children.


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April 9, 2014 at 11:35 pm

Monica - great new look to the S&T site. I am a long-time user of the site and I am delighted at the new format. Great job!
Dave Weixelman

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January 3, 2018 at 6:10 pm

Hi Monica,
You did a great job a year ago back digging out that Nov 1979 article on globular clusters in M31 for me. Here's another. I am trying to find an article (or just a defensible value) that stated the minimum magnitude per arcsec (MSA) required to stimulate the cones in our eyes. This concerns seeing color in extended objects such as nebula. I think the article actually was about planetary nebula, was within the last year or two, and listed the threshold when referring to why one object may be seen as bluish green while another is just grey (colorless). Thanks.
Dave Wickholm ([email protected])

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October 4, 2019 at 8:19 pm

First let me say how much I appreciate your articles and your work guiding so much of what happens at S&T. My wife and I have been subscribers since 1962 (I gave her a subscription as her main present for the first Christmas after we were married) and I definitely think the magazine continues to improve.
But what prompts this comment is really a question for you: In your fine piece on the early cosmic web, there is the sentence "But even though computer simulations first revealed this large-scale structure decades ago, it’s difficult to picture — literally." I got to thinking about that, and wondering about whether something is truly a simulation before we know in some other form what it is we are simulating. I am mostly a retired mathematician with a stong interest in astronomy, but I also have spent a lot of time dealing with computing including simulations. Somehow the phrasing "simulations" "first revealed" seemed strange: I don't have any better way to say what I think you were saying! But I think of a simulation as being something like a translation of a theory into images, or a simplification of some motion pictures that emphasizes particular points. Somehow it (to me) implies imitation, although without the negative connotations that can have.
Thanks again for your wonderful writing!
Bob Wilson

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