RYAN HENNESSY Owner / Astronomer
Ryan’s passion for the night sky began with childhood trips to the Palomar Observatory in his hometown of San Diego. Fascinated by the interactions of galaxies and the idea of an expanding universe, Ryan went on to study physics at Carleton College where he was able to work with the historic Goodsell Observatory. A year spent studying at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, Scotland confirmed his love of cosmology and led him to the University of Chicago’s graduate program in Astronomy and Astrophysics. While at Chicago, he helped build the Sunyaev-Zel’dovich Array, a group of state-of-the-art radio telescopes that studied the afterglow of the Big Bang and helped define critical parameters such as the expansion rate and density of the universe. His research also took him to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, where he worked with x-ray satellite images of galaxy clusters. In 2011, Ryan moved to Jackson Hole for its clear skies and began establishing one-of-a-kind stargazing programs for the valley’s many guests, culminating in of the formation of Teton Skies in 2015. When not stargazing, he is most likely to be found skiing the area’s rugged mountains or on the rugby pitch with his teammates, the Jackson Hole Moose.
MELANIE ROSS Astronomer
Melanie grew up in a small town on the coast of Maine where as a girl she learned to love the ocean, forests and night sky. She carried these interests to Colby College where she graduated with a degree in Physics. After discovering the college’s observatory during an Astrophysics class, Melanie founded and grew the Colby Space Club to allow open access to the facility. Engaging students, faculty and members of the community with guest lecturers, planetarium shows and community stargazing events realized a desire to share a love of astronomy, physics and science with everyone. She is specifically interested in exoplanet science, but also enjoys the history, lore and myths of constellations and astronomy’s colorful history. Melanie moved to Jackson Hole for the open spaces and open skies. She enjoys all the outdoors have to offer here, especially skiing (both nordic and alpine), mountain biking, hiking and camping.
ZEENATH KAHN Astronomer
Zeenath first started to explore astronomy her freshman year at Carleton College after taking a course in cosmology. Since then she has conducted research on the evolution of the Local Group Galaxies at Carleton and on the modeling of neutron stars at the Dr. Karl Remeis Observatory in Bamberg, Germany. Zeenath has worked extensively in public outreach at the Goodsell Observatory where she hosted open houses and middle school astronomy programs, through which she developed a love of science education and community volunteerism. She also enjoys capturing the beauty of celestial objects, especially nebulae, through astrophotography. In her free time, Zeenath enjoys hiking, reading, drawing, and volunteering at the Humane Society.