About Me

My name is Anita Bahmanyar and I am currently a fifth-year PhD student in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto. I am working under supervision of professor Renée Hložek , studying growth of structure in the universe. My thesis project is on measuring galaxy peculiar velocities using supernovae type Ia. My research interests are in Cosmology including growth of structure, Cosmic Infrared Background and Cosmic Microwave background.

I am also active in public outreach events including Sidewalk Astronomy. I am currently one of the two co-directors of keynote lecture at Astrotours. We host annual public lectures followed by planetarium show and telescope viewing events. You can read more about all the activities I am involved in here.


Galaxies move with the expansion of the universe but also have an extra component of movement known as peculiar motion. This is the local motion of galaxies toward over-densities and out of under-densities in the universe. Measuring this motion helps us study growth of structure in the universe. I use supernovae type Ia (SNe Ia) to study this effect as these are distance indicators that reside within host galaxies and can be used as an independant method of measuring distances to galaxies which provide information about peculiar velocities of galaxies.

Galaxy peculiar velocities using SNe Ia have been predicted theoretically but have not been measured using data previously due to insufficient number of SNe Ia data without sufficient sky coverage. Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) which is currently under construction in Chile will detect thousands of transients. Predictions of how precise measurements of peculiar velocity need to be to constrain cosmological models can motivate higher observing cadences for LSST. I study the distribution of SNe Ia and their redshift precision required for accurate measurement of peculiar velocities.

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Other Activities

Outreach, hobbies and turorials


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