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Welcome to the Department of Astronomy!

The NMSU Department of Astronomy strives to develop and communicate the human endeavor to understand the Universe. We accomplish this through continuing development of knowledge in our research program, as well as through our graduate and undergraduate course offerings. Our graduate program provides students the opportunity to become deeply involved in research, and educates students in skills that are useful for a variety of careers. Our undergraduate program educates students in critical thinking in the context of concepts in astronomy. The Department provides outreach to the community to spread knowledge and understanding.

The Department operates the Apache Point Observatory on behalf of the Astrophysical Research Consortium, of which it is a member, and also the Dunn Solar Telescope and Visitor Center at the Sunspot Solar Observatory. The Department also hosts the NASA Planetary Data System Atmosphere Node. 

Please explore our site and learn about the exciting work we are doing. See our calendar for upcoming events and Department talks.

COVID-19 and the Department of Astronomy: The faculty and staff of the Department of Astronomy are available to the community. While Department personnel are working predominantly remotely, we are available during regular business hours to address any questions and to provide support. The easiest way to contact us is via phone or email, but we can also open Zoom rooms for anyone who wishes to “drop in”; note that you will be placed in a waiting room until we admit you. Via email, you can request a scheduled meeting online, or, if necessary and conducted safely, a face-to-face meeting. Our contact information:

  • General Department inquiries : (575) 646-4438
  • Department administrative assistant, Ofelia Acosta: (575) 646-1868, oruiz at nmsu.edu
  • Department financial issues, Lydia Medrano: (575) 646-4438, lymedran at nmsu.edu
  • Department Head, James McAteer: (575)-0646-4087, mcateer at nmsu.edu
TMO at sunset

Graduate Program

The Astronomy Department at NMSU offers programs leading to the Master of Science and the Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Graduate courses cover topics in astrophysics, stellar atmospheres, observational techniques, the interstellar medium, galactic structure, star formation and evolution, extragalactic objects, cosmology, exoplanets, and solar system studies. Students also take courses in other relevant fields to broaden their knowledge and capabilities.

For information about applying to our program, see our graduate admissions page.