Astronomy @ Michigan State

Astronomy research at Michigan State spans the universe from stars to galaxies to cosmology.  Nine astronomy faculty members form the core of the group, and several more physicists at MSU have astronomical interests ranging from nuclear astrophysics to high-energy gamma rays to dark matter and dark energy.  Our primary research facility is the SOAR telescope.  We are also frequent users of NASA missions, including the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope.

Our astronomy group hosts the Center for the Study of Cosmic Evolution.  In partnership with the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, we are members of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics.  We also participate in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

We are partners in the Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope, a 4.1 meter telescope on Cerro Pachon in Chile.  Much of our observing makes use of the SOAR remote observing facility on campus.

SOAR’s primary infrared camera was designed and built at Michigan State.  This innovative instrument offers a 4096 x 4096 pixel detector covering a wide field at extremely high resolution.

The graduate program in astronomy at Michigan State currently has about 15 students.  Our undergraduate program is one of the largest in the country, with about 40 majors.  Members of the public are invited to our Astronomical Horizons lecture series at the Abrams Planetarium and monthly open houses at the MSU Campus Observatory.  See our After Dark newsletter for more info.

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