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Astronomy & Planetary Science

The astronomy and planetary science program investigates the physics governing the origin, evolution, and current state of our solar system and the universe.


Ongoing research at University of Idaho includes the search for and characterization of exoplanets (planets that orbit stars other than the Sun). We also study Saturn’s moon Titan, the only moon with an atmosphere and lakes, and the physics of impact cratering on the Moon and Mars. Finally, we use theoretical techniques to understand the dynamics of exoplanets and supernovae.


The facilities in the astronomy and planetary science group include:

  • Computing facilities
  • On-campus observing facilities and telescopes for teaching and community outreach

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Students performing research in astronomy and planetary science will gain experience in a highly interdisciplinary field with elements of physics, chemistry and geology. Students can choose projects.

For More Information

For more information about the astronomy and planetary science research program at Idaho contact:

Waves on an Alien World

UI physics researchers find first evidence of waves in Titan’s methane seas

Read about Professor Jason Barnes's research

UI Researchers Help Decode New View of Saturn’s Moon Titan, Contribute to Cassini Mission

A team of NASA researchers around the nation, including Physics Assistant Professor Jason Barnes and his team of students, revealed this week a new view of Saturn’s moon Titan.

Read more about Jason Barnes and Matt Hedman's work

Gwen Barnes

Research Associate Professor

Engineering-Physics 325


Research: Astronomy & Planetary Science
View Gwen Barnes's profile

Engineering-Physics 331


Research: Astronomy & Planetary Science
View Jason Barnes's profile

Zachariah Etienne

Associate Professor

Engineering-Physics 333


Research: Numerical Relativity and Gravitational Waveastrophysics View Zachariah Etienne's profile

Matthew M. Hedman

Associate Professor

Engineering-Physics 323


Research: Astronomy & Planetary Science
View Matthew Hedman's profile


Department of Physics

Physical Address:
Engineering-Physics Rm 311

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 0903
Moscow, ID 83844-0903

Phone: 208-885-6380

Fax: 208-885-4055


Web: Department of Physics