The Half-Astrophysicist Blog

Who is the Half-Astrophysicist?

My name is Rob Sparks and I work at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson in the Education and Public Outreach department. I am heavily involved in a variety of projects including the Galileoscope for the International Year of Astronomy.

I am a former high school physics, math and astronomy teacher at The Good Hope School, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, and the Priaire School.  I went to Grinnell College for undergrad and got my MS at Michigan State.

In my spare time, I do improv with Not Burnt Out, Just Unscrewed in Tucson.  I have performed with the Redondo Music Theater as well.  Other venues I have performed include the Apple Holler, Over Our Head Players, the Riverfront Theater, the Manatee Players, the Players of Sarasota, and the Island Players.  I am a distance runner and do races up to the marathon distance.

I keep in shape by doing a marathon each year and work out at Gold’s Gyms worldwide!



  1. Hi Rob,

    It’s a wonderful thing that you and the Administration will be doing at the White House. Where can I find a list of the telescopes the students will be using?


    Comment by Louis Suarato | October 7, 2009 | Reply

  2. Hi Rob-

    Have you seen this?

    Comment by Jeff Goldstein | October 15, 2009 | Reply

  3. If this is Hal-Bopp my siter Sisterbelle wanted me to let you know they bought a house in Arizona. Queens Creek.

    Comment by Gray Kitty | February 5, 2010 | Reply

  4. sister, I meant to say.

    Comment by Gray Kitty | February 5, 2010 | Reply

  5. Yep, you found me, GK. I see that is up near Phoenix. Tell her to watch for a special star party in Phoenix next month…I’ll be there (but I can’t give more details at this time as it has not been officially announced yet!)

    Comment by halfastro | February 5, 2010 | Reply

  6. Rob
    It has been years but it looks like you have done well 🙂 Sorry I lost touch.
    Suzen your 80s Crystal Castles junkie and penpal

    Comment by "Suzen Reed" Six Flags Crystal Castles Penpal from the 80s | January 28, 2012 | Reply

  7. Rob, so glad to have found your blog. I, too, have strong neck muscles from craning upwards at night in curiosity. And thanks to you, I now have a better understanding of what to look for when I want to see a Green Flash. A red sprite is also on my list.

    Couple humble questions for the expert: I saw a gorgeous shooter a few nights ago that lasted for 2 seconds across the night sky in Portland, Oregon. Is there a place to check if others spotted it, too? Plus, I captured some groovy images on a hike up a volcano once and had to track down an astrophysicist to label them correctly for me. Was he right? Story here:


    Comment by allthoughtswork | February 21, 2013 | Reply

  8. […] The Half-Astrophysicist Blog […]

    Pingback by Liebster Award | Writing a Paige | January 14, 2014 | Reply

  9. Hello there, I want you to know that I have nominated you for the Lebster Award!
    Go here for more details!
    Congrats!!! Keep up the awesome work!

    Comment by Paige | January 14, 2014 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: