Astronomy research at Michigan State spans the universe from stars to galaxies to cosmology. Nine faculty members within the Department of Physics and Astronomy form the core of the astronomy and astrophysics group, and several more physicists at MSU have astronomical interests ranging from nuclear astrophysics to high-energy γ-rays to dark matter and dark energy. Michigan State astronomers use observations from the radio to γ-ray as well as theoretical modeling and numerical computation to study the evolution of stars and galaxies. Our primary telescope is the Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope, a 4.1 meter telescope on Cerro Pachón in Chile. SOAR’s primary infrared camera, the Spartan Infrared Camera, was designed and built at Michigan State. In partnership with the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, we are members of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics.
Our astronomy graduate program currently has about 15 students. Recent alumni of our Ph.D. program have successfully found positions as postdoctoral researchers and as faculty at 4-year colleges. Our undergraduate program is one of the largest in the country, with about 40 majors. We offer a number of public events, from free lectures to public observing, in addition to events at Abrams Planetarium.