Astronomy at Sacramento State

Astronomy is an important part of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Professors Vera Margoniner and Chris Taylor pursue active programs of research, education and public outreach at Sacramento State.


Public Outreach

Public Outreach information, including information on public observing nights, is available at the Astronomy Events page, or from the Physics Department's Calendar page.


The Department offers a minor in Astronomy. The minor requires a total of 18 units from 7 courses. For more information on the minor in Astronomy, please see the Astronomy Minor page.

We offer seven different Astronomy courses:

ASTR 004A Introduction to the Solar System
ASTR 004B Introduction to Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology
ASTR 004C Introduction to Astrobiology
ASTR 006 Astronomical Observation Laboratory
ASTR 131 Solar System and Space Exploration
ASTR 132 Stars, Galaxies and Cosmology
ASTR 196 Dark Energy and Dark Matter

In addition, the Special Problems course, ASTR 199 is also offered. It serves as a catch-all for what ever seems especially interesting or topical, or as a course for student research projects.


Professors Margoniner and Taylor maintain active research programs in Astronomy at Sacramento State. Professor Margoniner specializes in observational cosmology. Professor Taylor's research area is in observations of interstellar gas in nearby galaxies, especially dwarf galaxies. He investigates the role of this gas in the formation and evolution of these galaxies. See his own research page for futher information. Sacramento State astronomers make their observations using national and international observatories all over the world. Below is a list, and links to the web sites, for some of these observatories.

Observatory Location Observatory Location
The Very Large Array Socorro, New Mexico Kitt Peak National Observatory Kitt Peak, Arizona
Lick Observatory Mt. Hamilton, California Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory Chile
James Clerk Maxwell Telescope Mauna Kea, Hawaii Hubble Space Telescope Earth orbit
IRAM Interferometer France IRAM 30-meter Telescope Spain