About the Astronomy Program
Discover the Universe at Foothill College
The Astronomy Department at Foothill College offers lecture and laboratory classes with astronomy professor Dr. Geoff Mathews. Courses in solar system and stellar astronomy provide you with a non-technical introduction to the worlds with which we share our solar system, the life and death of stars, the formation of galaxies, and the evolution of the universe.
Dr. Mathews leads the Foothill AstroSims project, which aims to sustain the existing pool of astro-education simulations as well as developing new simulations covering previously unaddressed topics. Our long-time faculty member Andrew Fraknoi retired in June 2017.
Degree & Program Types
We do not offer a degree or certificate program in Astronomy. However, the astronomy courses meet general education requirements for other degrees offered.
The Foothill College Observatory
Located on the main campus near the Krause Center for Innovation, the observatory provides students and community members with the opportunity for first-hand exploration of the wonders of the universe.
The observatory is open on on the 1st and 3rd Friday night of each month from 9 to 11 p.m., starting May 6, 2022.
Required COVID-19 precautions for visitors are:
1) full vaccination
2) face mask covering nose and mouth
3) outdoor queueing, to avoid crowding within the observatory
Free parking spring 2022
The Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series
Founded in 1999, the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series lectures are presented on six Wednesday evenings during each school year at Foothill College. Speakers over the years have included Nobel-prize winners, members of the National Academy of Sciences and many other well-known scientists explaining astronomical developments in everyday language.
The series, moderated by Foothill College Astronomy instructor emeritus Andrew Fraknoi, is sponsored by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the SETI Institute, the University of California Observatories, and Foothill College. Topics range from the exploration of the planets to the speeding up of the expanding universe; from planets around other stars to black holes at the centers of distant galaxies.
Lectures are free to the general public, and video versions of the lectures (starting February 2013) are available on the lecture series YouTube Channel. Free audio files (podcasts) of the lectures from 2005 through 2017 are available through some podcast streaming services.
The Peninsula Astronomical Society
The Peninsula Astronomical Society holds its meetings on the campus of Foothill College at 7:30 p.m. on the second Friday of each month in room 5015 next to Parking Lot 5. There is a $3 charge for parking — visitor parking permits are available from the machines in the parking lots (see map). Meetings feature lectures by prominent members of the professional and amateur communities, and are open to the public.
Astronomy on the Web
For further explorations of the universe, check out these selected astronomy sites on the Web.
Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series
On May 25 7pm, live streamed on YouTube, Dr. Sandra Faber of the University of California, Santa Cruz, will give a free, illustrated, non-technical lecture titled “Do Humans Have What It Takes to Thrive in This Universe?"
This event will be live.
Foothill College Observatory
Open 1st and 3rd Friday of each month, 9 pm to 11 pm
COVID-19 precautions required:
1) full vaccination
2) face mask
3) outdoor queuing
We're Here to Help!
David Marasco, Dept. Chair
Office Room 4405