COVID-19 vaccine/positive test reporting required for on-campus classes. Masks strongly recommended and may be required in some offices and classrooms. See details here

Night Sky with Stars


About the Astronomy Program

Discover the Universe at Foothill College


The Astronomy Department at Foothill College offers lecture and laboratory classes with astronomy professor Dr. Geoff Mathews.  Courses in solar system and stellar astronomy provide you with a non-technical introduction to the worlds with which we share our solar system, the life and death of stars, the formation of galaxies, and the evolution of the universe.

Dr. Mathews leads the Foothill AstroSims project, which aims to sustain the existing pool of astro-education simulations as well as developing new simulations covering previously unaddressed topics. Our long-time faculty member Andrew Fraknoi retired in June 2017.

Degree & Program Types

We do not offer a degree or certificate program in Astronomy. However, the astronomy courses meet general education requirements for other degrees offered.

The Foothill College Observatory

Observatory from the Library Quad area

Located on the main campus near the Krause Center for Innovation, the observatory provides students and community members with the opportunity for first-hand exploration of the wonders of the universe. 

The observatory is open each Friday night from 9 to 11 p.m., starting January 20, 2023.  It is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon.

Required COVID-19 precautions for visitors are:

1) full vaccination

2) face mask covering nose and mouth

3) outdoor queueing, to avoid crowding within the observatory

Free parking winter 2023


The Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series

Founded in 1999, the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series lectures are presented on six Wednesday evenings during each school year at Foothill College.  Speakers over the years have included Nobel-prize winners, members of the National Academy of Sciences and many other well-known scientists explaining astronomical developments in everyday language.

The series, moderated by Foothill College Astronomy instructor emeritus Andrew Fraknoi, is sponsored by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the SETI Institute, the University of California Observatories, and Foothill College. Topics range from the exploration of the planets to the speeding up of the expanding universe; from planets around other stars to black holes at the centers of distant galaxies.

Lectures are free to the general public, and video versions of the lectures (starting February 2013) are available on the lecture series YouTube Channel.  Free audio files (podcasts) of the lectures are available as well through Buzzsprout.

The Peninsula Astronomical Society

The Peninsula Astronomical Society operates the Foothill College Observatory, and conducts other events throughout the south Bay Area.

Astronomy on the Web

For further explorations of the universe, check out these selected astronomy sites on the Web.



Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series

 Planet formation

On June 21, at 7pm, in person at Foothill College Smithwick Theater, Dr. Eugene Chiang from UC Berkeley, will give a free, illustrated, non-technical lecture titled "Earth to Earth, Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust - the Birth and Death of Worlds"

This event will be live at Smithwick Theater.  Parking is free during spring quarter 2023.

We ask that attendees be vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 and wear a mask while indoors at the event. Extra masks will be provided.

Learn more about the series

Podcasts | Videos | YouTube

Foothill College Observatory

Open each Friday from 9 pm to 11 pm, and each Saturday  from 10 am to noon

COVID-19 precautions required:

1) full vaccination

2) face mask

3) outdoor queuing


David Marasco

We're Here to Help!

David Marasco, Dept. Chair


Office Room 4405

Division Office Contacts

Zachary Cembellin, Division Dean
Phone: 650.949.7383
STEM Division
STEM Success Center