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Astronomy & Astrophysics

Carina nebula

The Astronomy Group at Cal Poly Pomona is both very active on-campus and well-connected off-campus through collaborations with research institutions throughout California, across the country, and around the globe. Astronomy research at Cal Poly Pomona focuses on the fundamental astrophysical problems of star and planet formation, emphasizing the strong connections to galaxy evolution and the origins of life itself. The Astronomy Group maintains a dedicated computer laboratory for the use of our students, featuring powerful Macintosh computers running state-of-the-art astronomy and graphics design software packages. Students engaged in astronomy research gain a depth and breadth of knowledge in astrophysics well beyond our course curriculum and learn fundamentals of data acquisition and analysis, computer programming, communication and presentation skills.

About the Faculty

Assistant Professor Matthew PovichN49M17.jpg studies the formation and evolution of massive star clusters/associations and their H II regions in our Milky Way Galaxy. His research involves the analysis of large astronomical datasets obtained primarily through survey observations in the X-ray, infrared, and radio. Dr. Povich is a core member of the GLIMPSE and MYStIX research collaborations and lead scientist for the Milky Way Project. He is also the Associate Director of CAMPARE. Students working with Dr. Povich have pursued a variety of research projects, from triggered star formation and protoplanetary disks to the identification of extremely red galaxies and SETI.

ARO_12m.jpgProfessor Alexander Rudolph provides numerous research opportunities for students as the Principal Investigator and Director of the CAMPARE summer research program. His own past astronomy research probed the formation of stars and planets and the structure and abundance gradients of the Milky Way, primarily through radio and near-infrared observations. Dr. Rudolph has also been very active in Physics and Astronomy Education Research.

Professor Suketu Bhavsar, Director of the Kellogg Honors College, has a research background in computational astrophysics and cosmology, in particular the formation of superfilaments, the largest structures in the universe. Honors College students interested in astronomy and astrophysics research are encouraged to consult with Dr. Bhavsar or any other astronomy faculty member to lean more about opportunities offered through the Department of Physics & Astronomy.

Selected Publications

M. S. Povich, H. A. Busk, E. D. Feigelson, L. K. Townsley, and M. A. Kuhn, Candidate X-Ray-emitting OB Stars in MYStIX Massive Star-forming Regions. (2017) The Astrophysical Journal, 838, 61, DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/aa5b99

M. S. Povich, L. K. Townsley, T. P. Robitaille, P. S. Broos, W. T. Orbin, R. R. King, T. Naylor, and B. A. Whitney, Rapid Circumstellar Disk Evolution and an Accelerating Star Formation Rate in the Infrared Dark Cloud M17 SWex. (2016) The Astrophysical Journal, 825, 125, DOI: 10.3847/0004-637X/825/2/125

R. L. Griffith, J. T. Wright, J. Maldonado, M. S. Povich, S. Sigurđsson, and B. Mullan, The Ĝ Infrared Search for Extraterrestrial Civilizations with Large Energy Supplies. III. The Reddest Extended Sources in WISE. (2015) The Astrophysical Journal Supplement, 217, 25, DOI: 10.1088/0067-0049/217/2/25

R. O. Sexton, M. S. Povich, N. Smith, B. L. Babler, M. R. Meade, and A. L. Rudolph, Extended red objects and stellar-wind bow shocks in the Carina Nebula. (2015) Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 446, 1047, DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stu2143

M. S. Povich, M. A. Kuhn, K. V. Getman, et al., The MYStIX InfraRed Excess Source Catalog. (2013) The Astrophysical Journal Supplement, 209, 31. DOI: 10.1088/0067-0049/209/2/31

J. A. Eisner, G. H. Rieke, M. J. Rieke, K. M. Flaherty, T. J. Arnold, Jordan M. Stone, S. R. Cortes, E. Cox, C. Hawkins, A. Cole, S. Zajac and A. L. Rudolph, Time-monitoring observations of the ro-vibrational overtone CO bands in young stars. (2013) Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 434, 407. DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stt1029

R. J. Simpson, M. S. Povich, S. Kendrew, et al., The Milky Way Project First Data Release: a bubblier Galactic disc. (2012) Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 424, 2442. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2012.20770.x

L. Chomiuk & M. S. Povich, Toward a Unification of Star Formation Rate Determinations in the Milky Way and Other Galaxies. (2011) The Astronomical Journal, 142, 197. DOI:  10.1088/0004-6256/142/6/197

M. S. Povich, N. Smith, S. R. Majewski, et al., A Pan-Carina YSO Catalog: Intermediate-mass Young Stellar Objects in the Carina Nebula Identified Via Mid-infrared Excess Emission. (2011) The Astrophysical Journal Supplement, 194, 14. DOI: 10.1088/0067-0049/194/1/14

M. S. Povich, L. K. Townsley, P. S. Broos, et al., Candidate X-ray-emitting OB Stars in the Carina Nebula Identified Via Infrared Spectral Energy Distributions. (2011) The Astrophysical Journal Supplement, 194, 6. DOI: 10.1088/0067-0049/194/1/6

J. C. Carson, K. D. Hiner, G. G. Villar III, et al., A Distance-Limited Imaging Survey of Substellar Companions to Solar Neighborhood Stars. (2009) The Astronomical Journal, 137, 218. DOI: 10.1088/0004-6256/137/1/218

M. S. Povich, J. M. Stone, E. Churchwell, et al., A Multiwavelength Study of M17: The Spectral Energy Distribution and PAH Emission Morphology of a Massive Star Formation Region. (2007) The Astrophysical Journal, 660, 346 DOI: 10.1086/513073

A. L. Rudolph, M. Fich, G. R. Bell, et al., Abundance Gradients in the Galaxy. (2006) The Astrophysical Journal Supplement, 162, 346 DOI: 10.1086/498869

S. Bharadwaj, S. P. Bhavsar, & J. V. Sheth, The Size of the Longest Filaments in the Universe. (2004) The Astrophysical Journal , 606, 25 DOI: 10.1086/382140

A. L. Rudolph, R. Bachiller, N. Q. Rieu, et al., A Molecular Line Study of the HH 7-11 Outflow. (2001) The Astrophysical Journal , 558, 204 DOI: 10.1086/322440

J. P. Bernstein & S. P. Bhavsar, Models for the magnitude-distribution of brightest cluster galaxies. (2001) Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 322, 625. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-8711.2001.04124.x

J. D. Barrow, S. P. Bhavsar, & D. H. Sonoda, Minimal spanning trees, filaments and galaxy clustering. (1985) Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 216, 17.

Featured Astronomy Students

Stephanie (shown at left) and Courtney pose in front of the LSST mirror at the University of Arizona Mirror Lab.

Stephanie Zajac

Stephanie was a physics major who graduated from Cal Poly Pomona in 2011. During summer 2010, she worked with Dr. Josh Eisner at the...

Vicente Gonzaga

Vicente Gonzaga

Vicente Gonzaga at the SETI Institute. Vicente is a Mechanical Engineering major who is also pursuing a minor in Physics, with an...