Astrophysics Research Group (ARG)

This is a team of hardworking and goal-driven students, led by Dr. John Armstrong, who runs the Public Observatory and the Ott Planetarium and Dr. Palen, who leads up the research. This opportunity provides growth as individuals, encourages critical thinking, and creates numerous professional experiences for resumes and vitaes.


ARG team members


Bio/Research project


Physics Major, Emphasis on Astrophysics

I am a sophomore studying physics here at Weber State. So far it has been such a great experience. Learning about our place in the universe has been my biggest passion. Some of my hobbies include playing basketball, ping pong, and hiking.


Electrical Engineering major

Currently working on my capstone project; designing an autonomous mail delivery robot. Hobbies include Chess, Soccer and tinkering



Jeremy is creating music background tracks for future use in planetarium shows.


Applied Mathematics Major,
Physics Minor

Michael is working on enabling remote operation of the dome wind-shear pins for the observatory.


B.S. 2017, Physics and English teaching

Murielle Parkinson Shallbetter is a Physics and English teacher who volunteers at the Ott Planetarium while she takes some time away from the classroom to be a full-time Mom. She is working on a suite of shows for Girl Scouts!


Physics major, Astrophysics

I’m a Senior attending WSU for the amazing AstroPhysics program. I'm currently starting research on exoplanets and habitable zones in other solar systems. In my free time I silversmith turquoise jewelry!


Physics major, Traditional

Seku is working on a sky brightness survey in the Ogden, UT area.

Jon Rizzo

Physics major, Astrophysics

Assistant Director, WSU Public Observatory

I am a Junior studying physics at Weber State, and I love it here. My current research involves looking for new exoplanets in star clusters.

Nisi Whisler Sorge

Physics  and Math dual major, Astrophysics 

Assistant Director, Ott Planetarium

I am a 5th year senior, perpetually studying physics and math.  I am working on my second bachelor's degree from Weber State (B.A. Journalism, 2001).  I will be starting a project to see if we can measure the velocity of nearby galaxies.



My name is Travis and this is my fifth year at Weber State University. I am currently conducting research on atmospheric inversion by using stellar spectroscopy. My goal is to gather information about what the inversion is made of, and maybe even find clues to predict when it will happen.

 Andrew Greenland

Physics major with an emphasis on Astrophysics


Seku and I have teamed up to study the amount of light pollution around WSU and what can be done to reduce it.  We gather data from the surrounding neighborhoods and businesses. We are now going through all of the data and finding the worst offenders.  We are also working on creating fliers to help people become more aware of light pollution and how it can affect animals, humans, and everything around us.  We are also creating inserts to give to the worst offenders to show them our data from their property and ways they can reduce their light output, which would also save them money.