Earth and Planetary Sciences
Click to view digital images of: (1) celestial objects taken by WestConn students and faculty at the WCSU Westside observatory and at our affiliated site, the National Undergraduate Research Observatory; (2) students and faculty; (3) facilities and features in Connecticut and elsewhere.
The Earth and Planetary Sciences program at Western is a dynamic field that incorporates elements of physics, chemistry, astronomy, and other physical sciences as well as mathematics and computer science. Earth and Planetary Sciences students form a select group of capable, patient, motivated people who study the origin, structure, and evolution of the Sun, Earth and other stars and planets, as well as the processes that formed and modified them. These studies are done with instrumentation (data gathering) during local work and field trips, and with computers (data analysis, including mathematical models).
Western offers a full range of undergraduate and graduate courses, serving general education requirements as well as leading to Minors in Astronomy, Earth Science, Physics and Meteorology and to Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Earth and Planetary Sciences.
Opportunities for students:
- Observatory internships
- Planetarium show development and production
- Science exhibit development
- Independent research projects
- Research at the National Undergraduate Research Observatory (NURO) in Flagstaff, Arizona
- Presentation and publication of research
- Interaction with other science students and faculty at conferences
- Astronomy Club
We have modern equipment, including 14- and 20-inch Ritchey-Chrétien computer-controlled telescopes, digital CCD cameras and CCD spectrometers, solar telescopes, numerical modeling and image processing software, and a Spitz A3p star projector with ancillary computer-controlled projectors.
We apply the personal touch! Students work closely with faculty to develop their scientific skills and research projects. We want our graduates to succeed!
We have a record of accomplishment. Graduates have gone on to productive careers in research and education.
Facilities AND EQUIPMENT
Among the astronomical facilities available for use are two observatories, a planetarium, and computers on the Midtown and Westside campuses. Western is also a charter member of a consortium of colleges and universities that uses the National Undergraduate Research Observatory near Flagstaff, Arizona. Modern equipment includes 14- and 20-inch Ritchey-Chrétien computer-controlled telescopes, digital CCD cameras and CCD spectrometers, solar telescopes, numerical modeling and image processing software, and a Spitz A3p star projector with ancillary computer-controlled projectors.
The Instrumentation Laboratory contains research-grade meteorological and radiometric instruments, data loggers and telecommunication systems. Students also have access to a state-of-the-art Temperature Calibration Facility.
Degrees, Concentrations and Options
- Research excursions to the National Undergraduate Research Observatory (NURO) in Flagstaff, Arizona as well as the Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater and the San Francisco volcanic field
- Public Nights at the WCSU Observatory and Planetarium, Westside Campus (please call (203) 837 - 8671)
- Special viewings and planetarium shows for school, scout and other groups (call (203) 837 - 8671)
- Invited speakers and other activities in the Science Building (WCSU Midtown Campus)