About Me

Yasmeen Asali

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Astronomy Department at Yale University working with the SAGA Survey.

I work with Professor Marla Geha on characterizing star formation in satellite galaxies around Milky Way analogs. I graduated from Columbia University in 2020 with a BA in Astrophysics and Departmental Honors in Physics. As an undergraduate, I was a member of the LIGO Collaboration and I worked with Professor Szabi Marka and Dr. Zsuzsa Marka. I contributed to the LLAMA pipeline to search for gravitational wave and high energy neutrino coincidences, and I worked on both the software and hardware of the LIGO timing diagnostic system. As part of the University of Florida International REU program, I worked with Professor Chris Van Den Broeck at Nikhef in the testing GR subgroup of the LIGO - Virgo Collaboration. I was also a participant in the Columbia Astronomy research exchange program with Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, where I spent a summer working on dark matter annihilation using simulated CTA data with Dr. German Gomez-Vargas.

I care deeply about mentoring, pedagogy, and public education, and I devote time to building community in a variety of ways. I serve as an elected representative on the Astronomy Student Council at Yale, and am a member of the Astronomy Climate and Diversity Committee. I am also a McDougal Graduate Teaching Fellow at the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning and a Graduate Affiliate at Ezra Stiles College. Outside of astronomy, I love to care for my constantly growing collection of plants. I enjoy visiting museums and learning about art history, and I love to travel. I am also a big fan of sudoku and sudoku variants, and I often (try to) solve the puzzles from the Cracking the Cryptic youtube channel.

I was interviewed by the Blue and White maganzine in early 2020. You can check it out here to read more about me!


I work with the SAGA Survey, a spectroscopic galaxy redshift survey aiming to characterize satellites around 100 Milky Way (MW) analog systems. As an undergraduate, I was a member of the LIGO Collaboration. You can find summaries of my work on this page.

You can view my publications at the following links:

Star Formation Histories of SAGA Satellites

Proposed quenching mechanisms including gas starvation or strangulation, tidal stripping, or ram pressure stripping operate on different timescales as a function of stellar mass. Star formation histories (SFHs) can provide constraints on how long a galaxy has been quenched or how long it takes to transition from star forming to quiescent. Additionally, there is a known dichotomy between quenched Local Group dwarf satellites and star forming isolated dwarf galaxies. This implied transition from star forming in isolation to quenched as a satellite is indicative of a strong environmental dependence on quenching, and a rapid transition from star forming to quiescent upon infall. I work with the Prospector SED fitting software to investigate the SFHs of SAGA satellites and effect of environment.

Dwarf Galaxy Dynamical Masses

Complete satellite mass functions of a statistical sample of Milky Way analog systems are critical for quantifying host-to-host variance at a given mass. The SAGA survey has identified satellite galaxies around about 100 systems analogous to the Milky Way down to the luminosity of the Leo I dwarf galaxy. This represents an unprecedented sample of complete satellites luminosity functions, and obtaining dynamical mass estimates are a crucial next step. I am using the Palomar Cosmic Web Imager (PCWI) to obtain dynamical mass measurements for star-forming satellites in our sample through mapping H\(\alpha\) emission, as part of a longer term program to obtain complete dynamical mass functions for all SAGA systems.


Increasing the accesibility and inclusivity of science is deeply important to me, and below are some of the ways I engage with both my professional and public communities.

Outreach and Mentoring



You can email me at: yasmeen.asali@yale.edu