Dr. Allen W. Shafter

BA     Physics         1977   University of California, Irvine

MA    Astronomy   1978   University of California, Los Angeles

PhD   Astronomy   1983   University of California, Los Angeles

Research Interests

My principal research is focused on the study of cataclysmic variable stars:
Novae, Dwarf Novae, and Nova-like variables (An artist's conception is shown below).

Artist's visualization of a nova (NASA/Hardy)

This work includes the study of the fundamental properties of these systems in our own galaxy,
as well as the study of the spatial distribution and population of nova systems in nearby galaxies,
such as M31 (below).

The Andromeda Galaxy (M31)

Doctoral Thesis

My doctoral thesis from 1983 is entitled "On the Masses of White Dwarfs in Cataclysmic Binaries", and can be downloaded here.

M31N 2008-12a, a rapidly-recurring recurrent nova in M31

An image of a portion Andromeda galaxy showing the position of M31N 2008-12a is shown below.
Its annual eruptions have have generated a large "super remnant", visible as an arc to the right of the
nova site (indicated by the green cross hairs).

Our group's recent work on the super remnant has been covered in SDSU NewsCenter.

For more information on my extragalactic nova work generally, visit my Extragalactic Nova web page.

My recent book on Extragalactic Novae

Current Teaching

Spring 2023 Classes

Public Talks

AAS Journals Author and Scientific Editor Interviews


  • Led the effort to secure the principal gift of $750,000 from the estate of Phillips Claud, Jr. for the construction of a new 1.25-m telescope at Mount Laguna Observatory.

  • Some Astronomical Links of Interest...

    Personal Links Follow

    Interesting Podcasts:

  • Aporia
  • The Subversive Podcast with Alex Kaschuta
  • CSPI Podcast with Richard Hanania
  • Manifold Podcast with Theoretical Physicist Steve Hsu
  • Jordan Peterson Podcast
  • Mike Drop Podcast with Retired Navy Seal Mike Ritland
  • The Saad Truth Podcast with Evolutionary Psychologist Gad Saad
  • Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson
  • The Drive Podcast with Peter Attia
  • Uncancelled History with Douglas Murray

    Some early life experiences are chronicled here:

    Hike to the Summit of Mt San Jacinto (October 16, 2011)

    Pictures from the Past ...

    Train Hopping Trip #1 (Summer 1974)

    Train Hopping Trip #2 (Summer 1975)

    Train Hopping Trip #3 (Summer 1977)

    Goat Canyon Hike

    Mojave Desert Heritage & Cultural Association (MDHCA) Fall 2007 Rendezvous

    The Great Barrington Declaration

    A sensible response and policy for Covid-19?

    If you're worried about Climate Change nuclear power is likely the only practical solution

    You can find out more about the Intellectual Dark Web here

    Notable Members

  • Jordan Peterson
  • Gad Saad
  • Christina Hoff-Sommers
  • Dave Rubin
  • Ben Shapiro
  • Bret Weinstein

    Nobel Laureate in Economics Milton Friedman On Capitalism (A Classic)

    Questions or comments?

    The information on this page represents that of Allen Shafter and not necessarily that of San Diego State University.