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:
- Galaxy morphology, disks, and resonance phenomena (Dr. Preethi Nair),
- Galaxy interactions, galaxy evolution, and AGN (Dr. Preethi Nair, Dr. Jimmy Irwin)
- Galaxy formation simulations (Dr. Jeremy Bailin)
- Galaxy halos — observations and simulations (Dr. Jeremy Bailin)
- Stellar populations in nearby galaxies (Dr. Jeremy Bailin, Dr. Preethi Nair)
- Observational and theoretical study of hot gas in galaxies and clusters of galaxies (Dr. Jimmy Irwin, Dr. Ray White)
- Observational study of neutron stars and black holes (Dr. Jimmy Irwin).
- Theoretical study of white dwarfs accretion and SNe explosions (Dr. Dean Townsley).
- Theoretical study of planet formation and its implications for exoplanetary sciences and our Solar System (Dr. Chao-Chin Yang).
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
- SARA Observatory consortium
(telescopes at Kitt Peak, AZ & Cerro Tololo, Chile)
- Galaxy Zoo
- Sloan Digital Sky Survey IV
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.
The astroparticle group consists of three research faculty, one teaching faculty, and one visiting faculty.
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