Astronomy and Astrophysics Imaging Program at Prairie View A&M University

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the numbers of physics majors at PVAMU. We currently have 25 physics majors including double majors. As such we need a support structure (in terms of academic excellence and research opportunities) for these majors to complete their degrees and astronomy component is a popular and a competitive aspect of this structure. In addition to serve our existing majors, implementing and increasing an astronomical presence within the program will appeal to a broader audience: education majors planning to teach science, chemistry majors looking for another application for their subject area including spectroscopic applications, visiting teachers and students (e.g. summer programs, academic year visits from Texas schools, etc.) and future physics majors. Astronomy has a certain draw to it that attracts more people to the physical sciences and we would like to use that to not only attract more people to the program, but also to provide another resource for these students to gain practical, hands-on experience in a physical science that is literally “out of this world.” As a central part of this activity, we plan to erect a small observatory to serve as a multi-faceted, primarily nighttime (but with a daytime, solar component) teaching-learning-research observatory that will be used by science students in collaboration with existing and future research projects. Some examples of these projects include senior research and capstone requirements of majors as well as the upcoming lunar mission LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer). NASA-Ames research center (the institution in charge of LADEE) has requested collaboration between their program and our physics majors. They would like to have a network of ground based observatories monitor the moon in support of this mission, set to launch in July 2013.

Contact :

Dr. Premkumar saganti- Professor of Physics and Faculty of NASA-CARR (NASA Center for Applied Radiation Research)
Chair: Research Advisory Committee, Dept of Physics
Phone: (936) 261-3134
Fax: (936) 261-3149