Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics

At a time of astonishing discoveries about the universe, the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics is at the forefront of research and education in astronomy and astrophysics.

Tradition of excellence

Minnesota astronomers have a proud tradition dating back to the discovery of the true nature of white dwarf stars in the early 1900s. Our astrophysicists pioneered the infant field of infrared astronomy in the 1960s. In recent decades, we have played key roles in discoveries made with ground and space-based observatories.

World-class academic programs

Students in our undergraduate and graduate programs find a challenging, yet personal environment, where they can prepare themselves for careers in research, teaching, and other scientific areas. They receive a rigorous foundation in astronomy and physics while working closely with world-renowned faculty on the most important astrophysical research problems of the day.

Cutting-edge research

Our breadth of expertise at the Institute is exceptional for a department of moderate size, covering optical, infrared, and radio observations along with instrument development and theoretical and computational astrophysics. Students may find themselves exploring such diverse fields as star formation and stellar evolution, the structure and makeup of the interstellar medium in the Milky Way and other galaxies, the structure and evolution of galaxies, and much more.

Business and industry connections

Our institute collaborates with other astronomers around the world and receives support from major corporations and government agencies to provide outstanding facilities and research opportunities for our students and faculty. Facilities include:

  • 30-inch reflector near Minneapolis
  • 60-inch reflector on Mt. Lemmon near Tucson, Arizona
  • Share in Large Binocular Telescope on Mount Graham near Safford, Arizona
  • Access to ground and space-based facilities: Arecibo Radio Observatory, Kitt Peak National Observatory, Mauna Kea Observatory, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), Chandra X-ray Observatory


In addition to educating university students and conducting research, our faculty share the exciting results of their research with Minnesota students in kindergarten through 12th grade during numerous public outreach visits. For more information about outreach activities, contact Astro-outreach@umn.edu.