Texas Tech University

TTU Astrophysics Research


The astrophysics research group at Texas Tech opened in January of 2013. We presently focus on ground-based and space-based data of astrophysics in extreme environments and on the stellar populations of nearby galaxies. As of August 2014 we also focus on the new field of gravitational-wave astronomy.

Research Topics

The group has a few key areas of research. The areas of major current effort are listed below. The members of the group take broad interest in new developments in a variety of additional areas of astronomy, so please contact us if you're a prospective graduate student and don't see your topics of interest listed.

Extreme and Explosive Astrophysics

  • Observational studies and modeling of Gamma-ray Bursts (Corsi)
  • Radio observations of relativistic supernovae (Corsi)
  • Rapid responses to characterize supernovae and other transients (Sand)
  • Reverberation mapping of active galactic nuclei to measure their black hole masses (Sand)
  • Observational studies of dynamics of dense star clusters (Maccarone)
  • Accretion onto black holes and neutron stars and jet production mechanisms (Maccarone)
  • Neutron star structure, oscillations, and microphysics (Owen)

Stellar Populations in Nearby Galaxies

  • Searches for and characterization of low surface brightness dwarf galaxies (Sand)
  • Understanding the X-ray binary populations of nearby galaxies (Maccarone)
  • The Chandra Galactic Bulge Survey, characterizing the close binary populations of the Milky Way (Maccarone)


  • FLOYDS – a pair of spectrographs for the Faulkes robotic telescopes (Sand)
  • Science case development for LOFT (Large Observatory for X-ray Timing) (Maccarone)

Gravitational-Wave Astronomy

  • Searches for gravitational waves associated with gamma-ray bursts and magnetars using LIGO (Corsi)
  • Electromagnetic follow-up of gravitational-wave transients (Corsi)
  • Searches for continuous gravitational waves from rapidly rotating neutron stars with LIGO (Owen)

Faculty Members

Dr. Benjamin Owen, Ph.D., 1998, California Institute of Technology
Dr. Alessandra Corsi, Ph.D., 2007, University of Rome Sapienza
Dr. David Sand, Ph.D., 2005, California Institute of Technology
Dr. Tom Maccarone, Ph.D., 2001, Yale University
Dr. Maurice Clark, Ph.D., 2000, Murdoch University, Western Australia

Postdoctoral Fellows

Chris Britt, from Louisiana State University Paul Sell, from University of Wisconsin Denija Crnojevic, from University of Heidelberg Lennart van Haaften, from Radboud Universiteit Rob Coyne, from Geroge Washington University Nipuni Palliyaguru, from West Virginia University Ra Inta, from University of New South Wales Elisa Toloba, from Universidad Complutense de Madrid Santiago Caride, from University of Michigan

Graduate studies
At the present time, all graduate students working in the group are pre-qualifier. Graduate students in astrophysics at Texas Tech study through the MS and PhD programs in physics. The coursework requirements are the same as for other areas of physics, and the students then do theses in physics.

Undergraduate Research
Our own undergraduate students are also strongly encouraged to do research in astronomy and astrophysics. Students interested in a more hands-on research experience using the Preston Gott observatory may also wish to consider working with Dr. Clark as well as discussing such projects with Drs. Sand and Maccarone.

Introductory Courses and Information for the General Public
For undergraduate students taking introductory courses, and for members of the community interested in amateur astronomy, we recommend checking out the web pages below. From Dr. Maurice Clark TTU Introductory Astronomy Page Observatory Information from Gwen Armstrong: TTU Gott Observatpry

Department of Physics and Astronomy