Astronomy Emphasis

Welcome to the Astronomy Home

The Astronomy branch of Macalester's Physics Department provides a variety of courses as well as edifying faciities for students interested in the study of the universe itself.

The Astronomy Emphasis physics major allows interested students to explore both theoretical and observational astrophysics. These classes build fundamental skills that are suitable for graduate study in exciting areas such as planets, stars, galaxies, and the nature of the cosmos itself.

Astronomy Emphasis

Astronomy News


Macalester students and staff attended the 225th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, WA, 4-8 January 2015. (l to r): Ned Molter, Andrew McNichols, Yaron Teich, Tayeb Zaidi, Asra Nizami, Sophia Wiedmann, Erik Alfvin, Charlotte Martinkus, Cedric Hagen. (Photo by John Cannon)AAS Meeting-Jan 2015.jpg

Macalester part of three-year collaborative NSF grant promoting undergraduate research

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Macalester College and 18 other colleges and universities across the United States a three-year collaborative grant in the amount of $437,883 in support of undergraduate research.  The 19 undergraduate-focused institutions are a consortium known as “The Undergraduate ALFALFA Team” (UAT). This NSF-funded work with UAT will provide Macalester Astronomy Professor John M. Cannon and his undergraduates hands-on observation and data analysis experience at world-class observing facilities in Puerto Rico and New Mexico. NSF grant promoting undergraduate research press release

NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Grant Received

This “Research at Undergraduate Institutions” award, totaling $295,659, provides three years of support for the “Survey of HI in Extremely Low-mass Dwarfs” (SHIELD). SHIELD, led at Macalester by Professor John Cannon, is an ongoing study, using data from various ground- and space-based observatories, of the physical characteristics of extremely low-mass galaxies in the local universe. Grant to study mysterious galaxies 10-11-2012

Spring 2016--No Public Nights 

During spring semester 2016, there will be no Public Nights, private observatory tours, or other public observing sessions. The Observatory is being heavily used for research projects by students in our Observational Astronomy course, and we are consequently unable to offer any Public Observing Nights at the Observatory from now until June 2016 (at the earliest).  When we are able to resume Public Nights, we will publish a schedule on this webpage, so please check back here for further announcements.

Physics and Geology Teas

Please join the Physics & Astronomy and Geology Departments for coffee, tea, and refreshments.

When: Wednesdays at 3 p.m.
Where: The Olin/Rice Hall first floor Atrium
(outside the Physics & Astronomy and Geology faculty offices)