Astronomy & Astroparticle Group

HST image of M51


The astronomy group consists of six research faculty and one teaching faculty. Our research focuses predominantly on extragalactic and stellar astronomy, with approximately equal emphasis on theory and observation. Active research areas include the following:

In addition to the faculty mentioned above, the following faculty contribute to the astronomy group

  • Dr. Sergei Gleyzer, an experimental particle physicist working with the CERN CMS experiment, also works on studying dark matter via strong gravitational lensing.
  • Dr. Julia Cartwright, an assistant professor in the Department of Geology, studies meteorites to better understand the formation and evolution of our Solar System.
  • Dr. Murray Silverstone is a teaching faculty in the Department of Physics and Astronomy with expertise in planet formation, specifically with circumstellar disk detection & imaging.

Major Collaborations and Resources

The astronomy group also uses the high-speed computing facilities of the Alabama Research and Education Network in Huntsville are available.

Astronomy group members are regular users of NASA satellite observatories (Hubble, Chandra, XMM-Newton, GALEX, Swift, Suzaku) and ground-based telescopes worldwide. Research is supported by the NSF and NASA.

Particle Astrophysics

Particle Astrophysics Group

The astroparticle group consists of three research faculty, one teaching faculty, and one visiting faculty.

the IceCube facility at night.
The IceCube lab, with star trails.

Dr. Dawn Williams is developing techniques to identify tau neutrinos detected by IceCube, which is the largest neutrino detector on Earth and is located at the South Pole.

Dr. Marcos Santander is interested in high-energy neutrino astrophysics and multi-messenger searches for neutrino sources using gamma-ray and X-ray telescopes. He is involved with IceCube and the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS), a ground-based gamma-ray instrument operating at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (FLWO) in southern Arizona, USA

Dr. Nobu Okada, a theorist, is investigating signals for new physics at the Large Hadron Collider and in astrophysical observations.

In addition to the faculty mentioned above, the following faculty contribute to the astroparticle group

  • Dr. Patrick Toale is a teaching faculty in the department of Physics and Astronomy with expertise in particle astrophysics.
  • Adjunct Prof. Biermann is active in high-energy astrophysics, particularly in theoretical studies of cosmic rays and active galactic nuclei.

Contact Us

If you are a student (undergraduate or graduate) with a possible interest in astronomy or astroparticle physics we would be glad to hear from you via e-mail or otherwise. Please contact one of the physicists above or email for information about graduate study. Information about our graduate program is also available on our website.