Developing new technologies for the study of stars and planets, their origins and fates

Advances in detectors, optics, and photonics have fueled progress in the field of Optical Interferometry, allowing stars and their surroundings to be probed with unprecedented spatial resolution. Research in my group is focused on visible and infrared imaging with milliarcsecond resolution, developing the precision-calibration techniques necessary to directly detect extra-solar planets, and building the novel instrumentation to make these experiments possible. In addition, we are pursuing other high-resolution projects using large ground-based telescopes, such as adaptive optics, aperture masking, and speckle interferometry.

This research involves a number of facilities, including the CHARA Interferometer, Keck Observatory, Magellan Observatory, Kepler Space Telescope and the VLA . While extragalactic work is only just now becoming possible with optical interferometers, a rich variety of galactic sources are able to be imaged with startling detail, including nearby evolved stars (red supergiants, Miras , carbon stars, and Wolf-Rayets) and young stellar objects (dust enshrouded Herbig Ae/Be stars).

John D. Monnier
Professor of Astronomy

University of Michigan
303B West Hall
1085 S. University Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1107
(734) 763-5822
FAX: (734) 763-6317


  • 1999-2002 Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Fellow
  • 1999 Ph.D. Physics, U.C. Berkeley
  • 1996 M.A. Physics, U.C. Berkeley
  • 1993 B.S. Physics, Purdue University

Professor Monnier awarded 2014 Michelson Prize

CHARA/MIRC makes first images of an exploding Nova fireball