Chris Sneden

Chris Sneden
University of Texas
Department of Astronomy
2515 Speedway, Stop C1400
Austin, TX 78712-1205
RLM 17.206
phone: 512-471-1349
FAX: 512-471-6016

Welcome to my home page. I have been a faculty member in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin, since 1979, and have applied to attain Emeritus status beginning in the 2019-2020 academic year.

My research involves aspects of stellar spectroscopy, and I am fortunate to have access to the excellent high-resolution spectrographs of McDonald Observatory. Within the past few years through various collaborations I have also used spectrographic instrumentation at NOAO Kitt Peak and Cerro Tololo, Keck, Lick, European Southern, Las Campanas, and Hubble Space Telescope Observatories.

I study the chemical compositions of stars. Stars generate nearly all elements of the periodic table heavier than hydrogen in their internal fusion cycles (whose primary purpose is to generate energy). The stars return their newly minted heavy elements to the interstellar medium gas clouds at the ends of their lives, either gently in stellar winds, or violently in nova or supernova explosions. Newly forming stars then gather up this enriched gas. So with each succeeding stellar generation the heavy element content builds up in the Galaxy.

I have concentrated on spectroscopic studies of old stars: either giant stars of the Galactic disk that are nearing the end of their lives, or long-lived stars of the old Galactic halo. Analysis of Galactic halo stars especially intrigues me, for these stars were born near the start of the Galaxy and therefore their chemical compositions hold vital clues to "early Galactic nucleosynthesis", or heavy element generation at the beginning of our Galaxy.

More Information

Further discussion of my research on Galactic halo stars can be found at HALOSTARS page.

Further discussion of my research on Galactic disk stars can be found at DISKSTARS page.

My work in support of lab studies of atomic/molecular transition data is at LABDATA page.

To learn about my spectrum analysis programs, please see the MOOG & SPECTRE pages.

For the information on courses that I often teach, please go to TEACHING.

For a list of my past and present graduate students, please see STUDENTS.

My refereed journal publications are listed at the NASA Astrophysical Data Service; click on JOURNAL PAPERS.

My un-refereed (mainly conference) publications are also listed at the NASA ADS; click on CONFERENCE PAPERS.

For my vita, please see VITA.

For for non-astronomy stuff, go to MISC.

To contact me about research or teaching, please email me at