The Department of Astronomy offers undergraduate and graduate instruction in a wide variety of fields, including theoretical and observational astrophysics; infrared, optical, and radio astronomy; galactic structure and dynamics of stellar systems; high-energy astrophysics and cosmology; and spectroscopy. A considerable amount of research and teaching related to astronomy is done in other units at Berkeley, including the Space Science Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, and the Physics Department. Various professors in the Chemistry, Earth and Planetary Science, Mathematics, Statistics, and Engineering departments have an active interest in astronomy and are available for consultation.
News from the Nebula
Thanks to lucky snapshots taken by an amateur astronomer in Argentina, scientists have obtained their first view of the initial burst of light from the explosion of a massive star. During tests of a new camera, Víctor Buso captured images of a distant galaxy before and after the supernova’s “shock breakout” – when a supersonic pressure wave from the exploding core of the star hits and heats gas at the star’s surface to a very high temperature, causing it to emit light and rapidly brighten. More