Christopher G. De Pree

Professor of Physics & Astronomy, Agnes Scott College

Director, Bradley Observatory

Office: 102 Bradley Observatory
Phone: (404) 471-6266
Fax: (404) 471-5389
Email: cdepree at

Bradley Sky Cam

The image below is a live view from a zenith-pointed AXIS 214 camera. These data allows us to monitor the sky day and night above Bradley Observatory. During the day, the images are used in correlation with the LIDAR atmospheric science project (see below). At night, the images are a useful way to gauge the quality of the night sky for observing. The image updates automatically every 30s. Current weather conditions are monitored by a Davis Instruments Vantage Pro2 Plus.


Teaching and Current Work

Teaching: Spring 2014

This spring, I am on sabbatical. No teaching. :D

Research and Writing


Most of my astronomical research is focused on the early phases of massive star formation in the Milky Way Galaxy. I use radio telescopes like the Jansky Very Large Array in Socorro, NM to observe ionized gas that is lit up near young massive stars. The regions that I study are basically like "hidden" versions of the familiar Orion Nebula--concealed behind a veil of molecular gas that only very long wavelengths can penetrate. Last summer, I was awarded 20 hours of observing time on the JVLA. The first four hours of that data have been observed, and I reduced some of the data at the recently held data reduction workshop held in Socorro, NM (February 22-24, 2012). I will post results of that research as it happens (link above). I have also made observations with the Spitzer Telescope (an orbiting infrared telescope), the Gemini North telescope, and the Submillimeter Array (SMA). Some of my more recent papers are listed below.

One general characteristic of massive stars is that they have much shorter lifetimes than stars like the Sun. Solar type stars live for perhaps 10 billion years. Massive stars are lucky if they live 10 million years. As a result, the early stages of massive star formation are likewise short lived, and due to the location of young massive stars--often within dense molecular clouds--they are impossible to observe at optical wavelengths. I use the Very Large Array of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory to make most of my observations of massive star forming regions in our Galaxy.

The College has been a member of the SARA consortium since 2005. The consortium operates two telescopes remotely, a 0.9-m at Kitt Peak and a 0.6-m at CTIO in Chile. In the past year, I have become interested in observations of exoplanetary transits, and will soon join the Transit Ephemeris Refinement and Monitoring Survey (TERMS) consortium. I am also active with the LIDAR project, a pulsed laser that is used in atmospheric sensing in an NSF-supported collaboration with GTRI (Georgia Tech Research Institute). The image above is a zenith view from the Observatory (day or night), and it updates each time you reload the page.

Popular Science Writing

I am interested in conveying astronomical discoveries to a wide audience, which has led me to do some popular science writing. I am co-author of the Complete Idiot's Guide to Astronomy (4th edition, 2008), and also co-author of Recent Advances and Issues in Astronomy and Van Nostrand's Concise Encyclopedia of Science (Wiley, 2003). I am also the author of Physics Made Simple (Doubleday, 2004).

Bradley Observatory at Agnes Scott College is located at the center of the Metro Atlanta Solar System (MASS), which is a scale model of the solar system. This model (MASS) connects the College to locations throughout the greater Atlanta area. I am currently working on a book for Pearson entitled Idiot's Guide: The Cosmos

Student-Faculty Research

This spring, I am working with Ashley Monsrud ('15), one of the students who worked with me as a research student last summer.

The following is a listing of some of my recently published scholarship:

1. Flickering of 1.3 cm Sources in Sgr B2: Towards a Solution to the Ultracompact HII Region Lifetime Problem, De Pree, C. G., Peters, T., Mac Low, M.-M., Wilner, D. J., Goss, W. M., Galv‡n-Madrid, R., Keto, E. R., Klessen, R. S., Monsrud, A., 2014, The Astrophysical Journal, 781, L36

2. MUSCLE W49 : A Multi-Scale Continuum and Line Exploration of the Most Luminous Star Formation Region in the Milky Way I. Data and the Mass Structure of the Giant Molecular Cloud, R. Galv‡n-Madrid, H. B. Liu, Z.-Y. Zhang, J. E. Pineda, T.-C. Peng, Q. Zhang, E. R. Keto, P. T. P. Ho, L.F. Rodriguez, L. Zapata, T. Peters, C. G. De Pree, 2013, The Astrophysical Journal, 779, 121

3. Ionized Gas Kinematics and Morphology in Sgr B2 Main on 1000 AU Scales, C. G. De Pree, D. J. Wilner, W. M. Goss, 2011, 142, 177, The Astronomical Journal

4. A search for the transit of HD 168443b: Improved orbital parameters and photometry, Genady Pilyavsky, Suvrath Mahadevan, Stephen R. Kane, Andrew W. Howard, David R. Ciardi, Chris De Pree, Diana Dragomir, Debra Fischer, Gregory W. Henry, Eric L. N. Jensen, Gregory Laughlin, Hannah Marlowe, Markus Rabus, Kaspar von Braun, Jason T. Wright, 2011, The Astrophysical Journal, 743, 162

5. Exploring the Invisible Universe: A Tactile and Braille Exhibit of Astronomical Images, Kimberly Kowal Arcand, Megan Watzske, Chris De Pree, 2010, 8, 15, Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal

Questions or comments? Send me an email

Department of Physics and Astronomy
Agnes Scott College
141 E. College Avenue
Decatur, GA 30030
Phone: (404) 471-6266