gordon.spear@sonoma.edu

(707) 664-2596

office: Darwin 343D

Professor, Physics and Astronomy

Director of the Observatory

 

My primary research interests focus on the use of variable stars to determine fundamental physical characteristics of stars such as distances, ages, chemical history, masses, and radii. I have special interests in eclipsing binary stars and Cepheid variables. I am also interested in the semi-regular and long-period variables, the optical surveillance of active galaxies, and the optical detection of the light associated with gamma ray bursts. I am particularly interested in the discovery and classification of new variable stars both in our galaxy and in external galaxies.

Yet, I am also interested in minor-bodies in our solar system. I am particularly interested in confirming orbits for NEOs, and for determining absolute magnitudes and light curves for these objects.

My research specialty is optical and infrared photometry of stars using area detectors such as CCDs. The Observatory at Sonoma State is ideally suited for conducting this type of research, and opportunities always exist for students to participate in various on-going research programs. Our course Advanced Observational Astronomy (A482) provides a hands-on introduction to many of the techniques used in contemporary observational astronomy.

 

I teach courses in astronomy, physics, and in software construction (programming) and I am particularly interested in using computer simulations to enhance instruction and learning.

Some courses that I regularly teach include...

A100

Descriptive Astronomy

A231

Introductory Observational Astronomy

A305

Frontiers in Astronomy

A331

Astronomical Imaging

A482

Advanced Observational Astronomy

P116

Introductory Laboratory Experience

P381

Computer Applications for Scientists

 

If you are interested in the SSU Observatory, my research programs, or the courses I teach, contact me by email ( spear@sonoma.edu ) or by phone.

 

Physics and Astronomy Faculty Sonoma State University

Last updated January 2001
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