Page address: http://cset.mnsu.edu/pa/about/facilities.html

Physics Laboratories

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is located in the Trafton Science Center, which houses several well-equipped instructional and research laboratories for physics. The general physics laboratories are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment that interface with computers, and students in introductory courses often use computers for data acquisition and analysis. The upper-level physics laboratories are equipped with apparatus for experiments in atomic physics, nuclear physics, condensed matter physics, and optics. Research equipment acquisitions include a computerized X-ray diffraction system, an optical microscope with digital camera, a high-resolution optical spectrometer, an Auger spectrometer, a scanning electron microscope, and a 450 keV Van de Graaff facility. Well-equipped machine and electronics shops are staffed by full-time, highly trained personnel.

Physics & Astronomy Weather Station
Weather Station

Weather Station

The department hosts a Weather Station, providing current local weather conditions and other related data.

Astronomical Observatories

The department operates two observatories on the southern edge of the MSU campus:

Standeford Observatory

Standeford Observatory contains a 14-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, used for visual observations by general education students and other observatory visitors. Several other 10- to 13-inch telescopes are also available for instructional use by students in Astronomy 125.

Andreas Observatory

Andreas Observatory, located 150 yards east of Standeford Observatory, houses a 20-inch computer-controlled Cassegrain telescope. This instrument, which is equipped with CCD cameras for photometry and spectroscopy, is used primarily for advanced instruction and faculty research.

Observing Schedule

During the fall and spring observing seasons Standeford Observatory is open to students and other visitors. Thursdays at Standeford provide regular public access to the observatory. Other special viewing nights at the observatories are held occasionally during the year as weather permits; announcements are made in the local press and on the Special Observing Events page.

Student Resources

The Academic Computing Center, with over 550 workstations, is in Wissink Hall, adjacent to Trafton Science Center. Students also have wireless access to the Internet everywhere on campus. The university has extensive off-campus dial-in facilities, allowing students to access the Internet from off campus. The student dormitories are provided with high-speed Ethernet connections.

Students majoring and minoring in astronomy have access to the Astronomy Reference Lab in Trafton Science Center, which contains a collection of astronomical periodicals and reference works, including the Palomar Sky Survey Atlas, along with additional computing equipment.


The MSU Memorial Library has holdings of 5,500 physics and electronics related books and 175 related journals. This collection is augmented through the Minnesota Interlibrary Telecommunications Exchange, which permits rapid access and retrieval of materials in library collections throughout Minnesota and surrounding states.