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
Most exploding stars flare brightly and then slowly fade over weeks to months, but an unusual group of supernovas noticed only in the last 10 years flare up and disappear within days. Thanks to the ability of NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope to precisely measure starlight over long periods of time, astronomers now have a pretty good idea what these flash-in-the-pan supernovas are: exploding stars probably too dim to be detectable until the stellar matter ejected during the explosion collides with a shell of material puffed off years earlier by the star. More