Carlton (Tad) Pryor

Department of Physics and Astronomy
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Contact Information:

Office: 302W Physics and Astronomy Bldg
Phone: (848) 445-8873
FAX: (732) 445-4343

Mailing Address:
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
136 Frelinghuysen Road
Piscataway, NJ 08854-8019

Professional Information:


While at Rutgers, the undergraduate astronomy courses that I have taught include topical lecture courses, advanced labs, and surveys for both science and non-science majors. At the graduate level, I have taught courses on stars, cosmology, and observational techniques.

The course that I am teaching in Fall 2018 is the undergraduate lab Physics 344: Observational Optical Astronomy.

Web pages for some courses that I have taught in the past several years are Physics 109: Astronomy and Cosmology, Physics 110: Astronomy and Cosmology, Physics 441/541: Stars and Star Formation, and Physics 606: Stars and Planets.


My research interests are centered on observational and theoretical studies of the structure and evolution of both star clusters and individual galaxies. Currently I am using imaging obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope to measure the systemic proper motions of the dwarf spheroidal satellite galaxies of our own Milky Way Galaxy. These motions yield the space velocity of each galaxy and, hence, its orbit around the Milky Way. Our goals are to use this information to determine if the dwarf spheroidals move together in coherent streams in the halo of our Galaxy, to constrain the importance of the Galactic tidal force in determining the structure and star-formation history of the dwarf spheroidals, and to compare the observed orbits with the predictions of models for the formation of our Galaxy. We also use the motions of the dwarf spheroidals to constrain the mass of the Milky Way.

I am also surveying the kinematics, mass distributions, and stellar contents of the dense centers of globular star clusters, the oldest clusters in our Galaxy. With the Rutgers Imaging Fabry-Perot Spectrometer in Chile, we have been able to increase the number of stellar radial velocities in these regions by an order of magnitude, thus providing a clearer picture of some of the most extreme stellar environments known. Another way to study the kinematics of globular clusters is using proper motions for individual stars measured with images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. One use for such data is searching for a massive black hole near the center of a cluster. I am a member of a group with such data for several clusters.

In the past I have studied the amount and spatial distribution of dark matter in the dwarf spheroidal companions of our Galaxy in an attempt to determine what the dark matter is.

Please send any comments on this page to Tad Pryor,

Revised July 26, 2018