Dr. Jason P. Smolinski

Assistant Professor

Follow SUNY Oneonta Astronomy:

The SUNY Oneonta Astronomy Program

SUNY Oneonta Observatory's 1-meter Newtonian reflector, the largest optical telescope in New York.


The astronomy program at SUNY Oneonta is centered around a two-year program for students to minor in astronomy (see below), as well as observational and theoretical research opportunities for advanced undergraduates in physics and astronomy. Students in the astronomy program benefit from outstanding resources, including a state-of-the-art planetarium and observatory which is home to several telescopes including the largest optical telescope in New York state. In addition, we host regular public observing nights at the observatory and planetarium shows which are open to the general public.

Astronomy Minor

On some level astronomy fascinates nearly everyone. Are you curious about the planets and stars? Does the possibility of extraterrestrial life intrigue you? Do you wonder how the Universe originated, how it is structured today, and how its future may be estimated? Are you pondering your choice of a major or a career? Perhaps you already have narrowed your choices down. Are you interested in a career in teaching or in scientific research? Perhaps another career related to the sciences?

"What can I do in astronomy with a major in..."

The Orion Nebula (M42), a nearby region where massive stars are being born. The gas is ionized by a group of bright, massive stars located inside the cloud.

If these are questions you have, or the option sounds intriguing to you, then you should carefully consider the astronomy and astrophysics possibilities available through the SUNY College at Oneonta.

For students strongly drawn to astronomy, physics, and mathematics the campus offers an astronomy minor, which consists of a four-course sequence:

  • ASTR 270: Our Solar System - Offered fall semester of even years
  • ASTR 271: Stars & Galaxies - Offered spring semester of odd years
  • ASTR 360: Observational Methods - Offered fall semester of odd years
  • ASTR 376: Topics in Modern Astronomy - Offered spring semester of even years.
This sequence, along with the math background and physics major, will prepare you for graduate study in astronomy elsewhere and possibly a career in astronomy. Computer programming knowledge is also recommended. Students interested in this program should consult with the instructor as quickly as possible.

For more information about the astronomy courses offered at SUNY Oneonta, please see the entry in the Undergraduate Catalog. You can also learn more about our physics major program from the department website.