Maria Womack
mariawomack @; 

©2019 by Maria Womack



Scientist with extensive experience using telescopes at optical, infrared and millimeter/ submm wavelengths. Highly skilled in mentoring student research, scientific merit review, evaluation, creation and oversight of federally funded research programs.



Ph.D. Physics, Arizona State University, 1991
B.S. Physics, Florida State University, 1985

Professional Experience

  • Researcher, Florida Space Institute, University of Central Florida, Mar 2019 -

  • Professor, Department of Physics, University of South Florida, 2015 - 2019

  • Program Director, Division of Astronomical Sciences, National Science Foundation, 2011-2016

  • Asst, Assoc, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, St. Cloud State University, Minnesota, 1997-2015

  • Assistant Professor of Physics, Pennsylvania State University at Erie, 1994-1997

  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Northern Arizona University, 1992-1994

External Grant Funding History

  • 2016-, PI, NSF Planetary Astronomy

  • 2010-2015, PI, NSF Planetary Astronomy

  • 2001-2005, PI, NSF Planetary Astronomy

  • 2001-2004, PI, NASA Planetary Astronomy

  • 1999-2001, Co-I, Toyota Tapestry Grant

  • 1996-2002, PI, NSF Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER)

  • 1997-1999, PI, NASA Comet Hale-Bopp Program

  • 1994-1997, NASA Planetary Astronomy tenure-track faculty appointee (PI R. Knacke)

  • 1992-1996, Co-I, NASA Origins of Solar Systems Program

Recent Refereed Publications

Wierzchos, K., Womack, M., "CO gas and dust outbursts in Centaur 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann," under review. 

Sickafoose, A.A., Bosh, A.S., Emery, J.P., Person, M.J., Zuluaga, C.A., Womack, M., Bianco, F.B., Zangari, A.M., "Characterization of material around the centaur (2060) Chiron from a visible and near-infrared stellar occultation in 2011," under review.

Sarid, G., Volk, K., Steckloff, J.K., Harris, W., Womack, M., Woodney, L.M., 2019, "29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1, A Centaur in the Gateway to the Jupiter-Family Comets," ApJLetters, 883, L25.

McKay, A.J., DiSanti, M.A., Kelley, M.S.P., Knight, M.M., Womack, M., Wierzchos, K., Harrington Pinto, O., Bonev, B., Villanueva, GL., Dello Russo, N., Cochran, A., Viver, N., Bauer, J., Vervack, Jr., J.V., Gibb, E., Roth, N., Kawakita, H., 2019, "The peculiar volatile composition of CO-dominated comet C/2016 R2 (PanSTARRS)," Astron. J., 158, 128, 1-24.

Wierzchos, K., Womack, M., 2018, "C/2016 R2 (PANSTARRS): A Comet Rich in CO and Depleted in HCN, Astron. J., 156, 34.

Womack, M., Curtis, O., Lastra, N., Harrington Pinto, O., Rabson, D.A., Wierzchos, K., Cox, T., Rivera, I., Mentzer, C., Ruffini, N., Jackson, C., and Micciche, A., 2018, “Comet C/1995 O1(Hale-Bopp) Visual Lightcurve V1.0,” NASA Planetary Data System, PDS4, 8301E 

Wierzchos, K., Womack, M., Sarid, G. 2017, "Carbon monoxide in the distantly active Centaur (60558) 174P/Echeclus at 6 au," Astronomical J., 153, 5, 230.

Womack, M., Sarid, G., Wierzchos, K. 2017, “Carbon monoxide and other volatiles in distant comets,” Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, topical review article, 129, 973.

Telescope access granted at national and international facilities

  • 2019: Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)

  • 2016 - 2019: Arizona Radio Observatory Submillimeter Telescope (ARO SMT) 10-m

  • 2016-2018: Arizona Radio Observatory Kitt Peak 12-m telescope

  • 2016-2017: NASA Kepler 2 space observatory (K2)

  • 2016: Institut de Radioastronomie Millimetrique (IRAM) 30-m telescope, Spain

  • 2011: W.M. Keck Observatory 10-m telescope, Hawaii

  • 1990-2005: National Radio Astronomy Observatory 12m telescope, Kitt Peak

  • 1990-1993: Caltech Submillimeter Observatory 10-m telescope, Hawaii.

  • 1993-1995: National Undergraduate Research Observatory, Arizona

  • 1993-1994: James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, 15-m, Hawaii

  • 1988-1990: Kitt Peak National Observatory coude-feed