Texas Tech University

Astronomy and Astrophysics

Overview

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)

Instrumentation

  • FLOYDS – a pair of spectrographs for the Faulkes robotic telescopes (Sand)
  • Science case development for new X-ray missions (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)
Extrasolar planets (only available for undergraduate research)
  • Transit timing measurements in extrasolar planet systems (Morehead)

 

Astro
Tenure Track/Tenured 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

Other Senior Staff Members

Denija Crnojevic, Ph.D., 2010, University of Heidelberg, Research Assistant Professor
Robert Morehead, Ph.D., 2016, Penn State University, Instructor and Director of the Preston Gott Observatory
Gwen Armstrong, Lead Technician for the Observatory

Contact

Department of Physics and Astronomy