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.
Many instruments are available to students and staff, including
two 10-meter telescopes at the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea in Hawaii,
30-inch, 40-inch and 120-inch telescopes at Lick Observatory, a
16-element millimeter-wave interferometer in Southern California,
the PAPER Array in South Africa, and
a 30-inch telescope at Leuschner Observatory (near the campus).
Laboratories are available for the development of radio, infrared, and
optical instruments, and for the precise measurement of images and
Enroll Now in Summer Courses!
We are offering three courses for the Summer 2015 session. Please see our
Summer Sessions 2015 PDF for more
Reaction to ESA Press Conference (Nov. 2014)
On 12 November 2014, the European Space Agency (ESA) completed a decade-long journey towards comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and landed a probe on the comet. Regrettably, at a press conference announcing the success of the mission, the Lead Project Scientist, acting in his official capacity, wore attire and made comments that portrayed women in a sexualized manner.
The UC Berkeley Astronomy Department is troubled by this incident, and by the lack thus far of an official response from ESA. We recognize that women in our Department and elsewhere have made important contributions to science throughout the ages and we feel the deepest respect for these women and their discoveries.
We affirm our commitment to creating and maintaining an environment that is safe for and supportive of all scientists. We hope that other scientific agencies and institutions, including ESA, will join us and make similar statements of support.
Tenure-Track Faculty Position in Astronomy at UC Berkeley
The Astronomy Department of the University of California, Berkeley invites applications for a faculty appointment with an expected start date of July 1, 2015. This position is open to all subfields of Astronomy and Astrophysics, with a preference for observational astronomy and/or instrumentation.
Eruptions on Io
Department chair Imke de Pater and graduate student Katherine de Kleer
discover three massive, short-lived volcanic eruptions over a 2-week period.
Astronomy C12 - The Planets
This 3 unit course fulfills the L&S breadth requirements for Physical
Science. Please see this flyer
Summer Session Course begins May 27th
Professor Eugene Chiang Receives 2014 Distinguished Teaching Award
On March 13th 2014, Chancellor Nicholas Dirks announced faculty member Dr. Eugene Chiang as a recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Teaching Award. Dr. Chiang has been a professor with the Astronomy department since 2001 and currently serves as director of the Berkeley Center for Integrative Planetary Science. His research focuses on theoretical astrophysics, with an emphasis on understanding the origin of planetary systems, both extra-solar and solar. Dr. Chiang is an active member within the campus community: In addition to acting as head Graduate Advisor for the Astronomy Department, he serves on multiple committees which include the Berkeley Committee on Undergraduate Scholarships, Honors, and Financial Aid and is the Astronomy Liaison and Co-I for the Berkeley Science and Diversity program. On April 23rd the campus honored Dr. Chiang's excellence in teaching with a public ceremony: in attendance were members of the chancellor's office, the department, Dr. Chiang's family and colleagues, and many of his undergraduate and graduate students.
Raymond & Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture in Astronomy
David Spergel, Princeton University
What happened during the first moments of the big bang? What is the dark
energy? What were the properties of the first stars? In this free public
lecture held last October 16, Dr. Spergel discussed the role of ongoing and
future CMB observations and described how the combination of large-scale
structure, supernova and CMB data could be used to address these key
2013 Winning T-Shirt Design
The Annual Departmental T-Shirt Design Contest continues to provide
distraction from the rigors of astrophysics and an opportunity to explore
hidden artistic and creative talents.
This year's winner was "Baseball," submitted by graduate student, Adam
Morgan. His design, as well as previous designs, are all
available for purchase online.
2013 Shirts: $16 plus shipping
Shirts prior to 2013: $14 plus shipping
The T-shirt design contest is held each year at the start of the Spring
Semester, with the winning design selected and printed in time for Cal Day in
April. All Astronomy Department students, staff, faculty, postdocs, and
researchers are welcome to submit their designs for consideration. The
winning design is determined by departmental vote. The new contest will
launch in January 2014 -- stay tuned for more information.
Kinematic SZ effect observation highlighted by Physics World
Nick Hand from the University of California, Berkeley and colleagues at the
Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) and the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic
Survey (BOSS) were named by Physics World as one of the top 10 breakthroughs
in 2012 for being the first to detect the large-scale motion of galaxy
The motions of distant galaxy clusters tell us much about how the universe
formed and sheds light on the mysterious dark matter and dark energy. Some
40 years ago, the Russian physicists Rashid Sunyaev and Yakov Zel'dovich
discovered that this motion could be observed by measuring a slight
temperature shift in the cosmic-microwave-background (CMB) radiation. Now,
in a triumph of precision cosmology, Nick Hand and colleagues at ACT and
BOSS have produced the first ever observation of the kinematic
Following on from the Astronomy Department's successful
celebration of the International Year of Astronomy 2009, volunteers and
speakers from the department are taking part in a series of talks and other
activities which celebrate the breadth of scientific research, including
astronomy, taking place at UC Berkeley. For more
details, visit the Science@Cal Lecture Series website.