Adler Planetarium

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Astronomy

Guest peers through the Doane Observatory to catch a  glimpse of the night sky.

Look Up!

The Adler has taken the lead among planetariums world-wide in establishing an astronomy and astrophysics research group in a museum setting. Our astronomers possess rich and diverse expertise in many areas of astronomy as well as other closely related science fields, such as particle physics and geophysics. Their studies include planetary geology, star formation, gamma-rays, and telescope observing.  

Adler’s Astronomy Department actively publishes research in a variety of formats, written for both colleagues and the general public. Learn more about the the department's mission, featured projects and publications on this page.

The Forefront of Research

Adler Astronomy Department Mission

  • Conduct forefront research in astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology, while effectively integrating research programs with public outreach.
  • Be a leading resource in conveying the methodology, concepts and discoveries of astronomy to the public.
  • Provide content for Adler projects that convey the process of science.
  • Be a leading center of highly skilled science interpreters, who can effectively bridge the gap between the research and educational communities, and help train other scientists to become more effective in their outreach efforts.

Several members of the Adler Astronomy Department also hold joint appointments at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. These joint appointments strengthens the integration of the Adler and its educational mission with the research community.


Featured Astronomy Projects

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Asteroid Characterization

Mark Hammergren, Ph.D.
Geza Gyuk, Ph.D.

The Adler's Asteroid Characterization group is carrying out a program of visible to near-infrared spectroscopy using the Apache Point Observatory 3.5-meter telescope to search for asteroids that are fragments of the destroyed planetesimals. The identification of these fragments provides important information on the early history of our Solar System.

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Star Formation

Grace Wolf-Chase, Ph.D.
Chris Lintott, Ph.D.
Kim Arvidsson, Ph.D.

Through infrared and radio astronomy, the Adler Star Formation Group is learning about the processes that are important in building new stars. We are also part of the science team for the Milky Way Project, a Citizen Science project that is part of the Zooniverse.

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Veritas

Jeff Grube, Ph.D.
Gayle Ratliff 
Larry Ciupik, M.S.

Geza Gyuk, Ph.D.

Since 2004, the Adler has been an official science team member of the VERITAS collaboration, participating in the construction of four 12-meter gamma-ray telescopes at Mt. Hopkins in southern Arizona. The array, completed in April 2007, maps the northern sky in gamma ray energies from 50 GeV to 50 TeV. 


Publications

Discovery of TeV Gamma-ray Emission from CTA 1 by VERITAS, E. Aliu et al. (the VERITAS collaboration--including L. Ciupik, J. Grube, and G. Gyuk), ApJ 764, 38 (2013)

Constraints on Cosmic Rays, Magnetic Fields, and Dark Matter from Gamma-Ray Observations of the Coma Cluster of Galaxies with VERITAS and Fermi, T. Arlen et al. (the VERITAS collaboration--including L. Ciupik, J. Grube, and G. Gyuk), ApJ 757, 123 (2012)

VERITAS Deep Observations of the Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy Segue 1, E. Aliu et al. (the VERITAS collaboration--including L. Ciupik, J. Grube, and G. Gyuk), Phys. Rev. D 85 (2012), 062001.

Detection of Pulsed Gamma Rays Above 100 GeV from the Crab Pulsar, E. Aliu et al. (the VERITAS collaboration--including L. Ciupik, J. Grube, and G. Gyuk), Science 334 (2011), 69.

VERITAS Observations of Gamma-Ray Bursts Detected by Swift, V. Acciari et al. (the VERITAS collaboration--including L. Ciupik, J. Grube, and G. Gyuk), ApJ 743 (2011), 62.

The 2010 gamma-ray flare and 10 years of multi-wavelengths observations of M87: Clues to the origin of the VHE emission?, A. Abramowski et al. (the VERITAS collaboration--including L. Ciupik, J. Grube, and G. Gyuk), ApJ 746 (2011), 151

VERITAS Observations of the TeV binary LS 1 +61 303 during 2008-2010, V.A. Acciari et al. (the VERITAS collaboration--including L. Ciupik, J. Grube, and G. Gyuk), ApJ 738 (2011), 3.