The group is led by Prof. Elliott Horch and Prof. Dana Casetti. Other current group members at SCSU include Dr. Terry Girard, Rich Pellegrino, Melissa Shea, Torrie Sutherland, Xavier Lesley, and Jonathan Leonard.
Past graduate students include Nicole Granucci (Quinnipiac University), Caitlin Hansen (Yale University), Paul Klaucke (Quinnipiac University), Hang Pham (Yale University), Justin Rupert (MDM Observatory), and Sam Weiss (Yale University)
- December 2022. The Physics and Earth Science Departments successfully install a new digital planetarium projector in the University Planetarium. Stay tuned for news on planetarium shows next semester!
- November 2022. Graduate Student Xavier Lesley wins the Astronomy Poster Prize at the National Society of Black Physicists meeting in Charlottesville, VA. Congratulations Xavier! The conferring of the award is shown here, and Xavier’s winning poster is here.
- August 2022. New graduate student Jonathan Leonard joins the group. Welcome Jon!
- August 2022. Dr. Horch’s work with Dr. Venu Kalari at the Gemini Observatory featured in a National Observatory press release.
- July 2022. Dr. Horch is awarded a new NSF grant in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin entitled “Collaborative Research: RUI: Integral Field Unit Speckle Imager.”
- June 2022. Dr. Casetti is awarded a second Hubble Space Telescope grant entitled “Extending HST's Astrometric Reach: 3-D Velocities of Satellites of the Andromeda Galaxy from Archival Observations.”
Current Research Projects
Astronomical Instrumentation. The group is involved in the construction of high-resolution imaging systems used with large telescopes at major observatories, and in novel, prototype high-resolution imaging systems used on campus.
Galactic Dynamics. This field studies the formation and evolution of our Milky Way galaxy in a cosmological context. The work at SCSU is focused on building and analyzing surveys of stars and stellar systems in our Galaxy and its satellites. Specifically, measurements are made of transverse velocities of these objects, and these are combined with other properties to constrain cosmologically-motivated Milky-Way models.
Intensity Interferometry. A high-resolution technique first used in the 1950's is being revisited at SCSU with modern instrumentation. The goal is to develop and use a wirelessly connected, multiple-telescope instrument capable of measuring stellar diameters from our campus.
Speckle Imaging Surveys of Low-Mass Stars and Exoplanet Hosts. Two current NSF grants fund our observational program, in collaboration with the RECONS Institute and Lowell Observatory. These projects are systematic high-resolution imaging surveys of K and M dwarf stars, that is, those less massive than the Sun. We also team with researchers at NASA's Ames Research Center to provide high-resolution images of exoplanet host stars, in support of the K2 and TESS satellite missions. Our work involves observing at the WIYN Telescope, Lowell Observatory's Discovery Channel Telescope, and both Gemini telescopes. The work will result in a volume-limited sample of stars for which the binary and multiple-star statistics are well-known, which will inform theories of star and planet formation.
Further astronomy activities on campus are conducted in the Earth Science Department.