The group is led by Prof. Elliott Horch and Dr. Dana Casetti. Other current group members include Dr. Terry Girard, Dr. Rob Ryder, Nicole Granucci, Rich Pellegrino and Paul Klaucke. 

Astronomy Faculty


Group News

  • August 2019. Dr. Horch is awarded a new grant from the National Science Foundation to continue a major on-campus astronomy project. A description of the award is given here.
  • June 2019. Dr. Horch and a collaborator from Lowell Observatory in Arizona are awarded a Defense University Research Instrumentation Program grant. This will help complete a new speckle camera at Lowell Observatory and also bring a state-of-the-art photon-counting camera to Southern’s on-campus astronomy activities.
  • May 2019. Rick Hahne successfully defended his Master's Thesis project entitled “A Determination of M Dwarf Multiplicity Rates Using High-Resolution Imaging.” Congratulations Rick!
  • May 2019. Dr. Horch and Dr. Casetti are awarded a new grant from the National Science Foundation, in collaboration with Georgia State University. A description of the project is given here.
  • March 2019. Dr. Casetti is awarded funding from the Space Telescope Science Institute for her project archival research project which will enable a new understanding of the formation and evolution of the Milky Way Galaxy. Read more here.

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.