Chris Mihos

Department of Astronomy
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH 44106
email: mihos [at]
phone: 216-368-3729

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Professional Information


PhD in Astronomy, University of Michigan, 1992
BS in Astronomy, California Institute of Technology, 1987

Professional Employment

Case Western Reserve University, 1998-
Professor of Astronomy, CWRU, 2006-
Chair of Astronomy and Director of the Warner and Swasey Observatory, 2009-2015
Associate Professor of Astronomy, 2001-2006
Assistant Professor of Astronomy, 1998-2001

Johns Hopkins University, 1995-1997
Hubble Fellow

University of California, Santa Cruz, 1992-1995
Postdoctoral Research Associate

Full CV (pdf format)

Research Interests

My research interests include galaxy formation and evolution, galaxy clusters, galactic dynamics, and observational and computational astronomy. I use observational data from ground- and space-based telescopes combined with start-of-the-art computer modeling to study the evolution of galaxies and galaxy clusters.

I have been using CWRU's wide-field Burrell Schmidt telescope to survey the nearby Virgo cluster of galaxies for the ghostly intracluster light that traces the history of galaxy collisions inside the cluster. I am a member of the Next Generation Virgo Cluster Survey team, an international project studying the structure and evolution of galaxies within Virgo. Other observational projects of mine include deep multi-wavelength studies of the faint outskirts of nearby galaxies to probe their assembly history, star forming properties, and stellar populations.

I have also developed computer simulations to study the evolution of colliding galaxies, as well as galaxies orbiting within massive galaxy clusters. These simulations have shown how colliding spiral galaxies can merge to trigger starbursts and quasar activity and transform spirals into elliptical galaxies. Other simulations have shown how the intracluster stars found strewn throughout galaxy clusters have been torn out of their parent galaxies by gravitational encounters between cluster galaxies, and how the kinematics of these stars can be used as signatures of past encounters.

Many CWRU Astronomy students, including both undergraduates and graduate students, have been involved in these projects, taking and analyzing data from CWRU's Burrell Schmidt telescope in southwest Arizona, modeling the evolution of galaxies in clusters, and studying the kinematics of colliding galaxies.

Research Publications
Refereed journal articles
All bibliographic sources

Courses Taught

Here are links to various courses I've taught at CWRU. Course websites only get updated when the course is actually being taught, so course materials for older courses may be significantly out of date. Buyer beware....

ASTR 151 - Doing Astronomy (topical seminar for 1st year undergraduates; Spring 2012)
ASTR 201 - The Sun and Its Planets (general education course; Fall 2014)
ASTR 221 - Stars and Planets (introductory astrophysics for 2nd year undergrads; Fall 2005)
ASTR 222 - Galaxies and Cosmology (introductory astrophysics for 2nd year undergrads; Spring 2015)
ASTR 306/406 - Astronomical Techniques (upper level undergraduate / graduate course; Fall 2013)
ASTR 328/428 - Cosmology and the Structure of the Universe (upper level undergraduate / graduate course; Fall 2010)
USNA 229 - Astronomical Arguments (SAGES general education seminar; Fall 2009)