• Department Climate Update

    February 10, 2016

    A message from the Chair.

  • Galaxy hunter Hyron Spinrad dies at 81

    January 4, 2016

    Remembering Galactic researcher, Berkeley alumni, and Department of Astronomy Professor Emeritus Dr. Hyron "Hy" Spinrad.

  • Methane Enshrouds Nearby Jupiter-like Exoplanet

    August 24, 2015

    From article by Robert Sanders: "The Gemini Planet Imager has discovered and photographed its first planet, a methane-enshrouded gas giant much like Jupiter that may hold the key to understanding how large planets form in the swirling accretion disks around stars. The GPI instrument, which is mounted on the 8-meter Gemini South telescope in Chile, is the size of a small car and was designed, built and optimized for imaging and analyzing the atmospheres of faint Jupiter-like planets next to bright stars, thanks to a device that masks the star’s glare. “This is exactly the kind of planet we envisioned…

  • Leuschner Observatory Garners New Attention

    August 5, 2015

    The Leuschner Observatory, part of the Astronomy department’s arsenal of research and teaching equipment, continues to receive attention from its hidden home in the hills above Lafayette, CA. As the department works to review and map out much needed upgrades and repairs to the observatory’s infrastructure, Leuschner is seeing increased interest: In January, architect Carol Reif received an award for photography after submitting a picture she snapped of the observatory dome to the “Day in the Life” contest through the Lafayette Friends of the Library. A feature article in the Lamorinda Weekly followed in July, introducing this wonderful little gem…

  • Investor Yuri Milner joins with Berkeley in $100 million search for extraterrestrial intelligence

    July 21, 2015

    On Monday July 20th, the Breakthrough Prize Foundation and it's founder, famed internet investor Yuri Milner, announced a contract with UC Berkeley that will provide a massive boost of funding towards the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. The foundation has pledged $100 million dollars over the next 10 years to UC Berkeley and other additional institutions as part of the Breakthrough Listen project, a project aimed at creating and building new instruments to better analyze information collected by two telescopes that have been contracted through the project: the 100-meter Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and the 64-meter Parkes Telescope…

  • Dr. Gibor Basri’s 2015 Commencement Address

    June 25, 2015

    Read Dr. Gibor Basri's address to the graduating class of 2014-2015.

  • Department of Astronomy Celebrates 2015 Commencement

    June 25, 2015

    On May 20th, the Department of Astronomy held a joint commencement ceremony with the Physics Department to recognize our graduates for the 2014-2015 academic year. The Department of Astronomy is proud to announce 28 Undergraduate students received their A.B. degrees, 5 graduate students completed their Master’s, and 5 students received their Ph.D's.  The Ceremony itself was held at Zellerbach Hall; Dr. Gibor Basri, Astronomy faculty member and Vice Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion, served as guest speaker (you can read his speech here), and Undergraduate Shengkai Alwin Mao was selected as our Astronomy student speaker. Department chairs Steve Boggs (Physics) and Imke de Pater…

  • Campbell-LeConte Bridge Officially Completed

    May 15, 2015

    After months of waiting, the Campbell-LeConte bridge was finally cleared for use last week, marking the achievement of another major milestone towards the completion of the Campbell Hall building renovation. The bridge, which connects Campbell Hall (home of the Astronomy department) and LeConte Hall (home to the Physics Department), aims to help foster a stronger, collaborative relationship between members of each department by allowing for easier movement between buildings. The moment was celebrated with a short ceremony; Astronomy chair Imke de Pater and Physics chair Steve Boggs, in their respective buildings, gave short speeches and performed ribbon cuttings before participating in a shared ribbon cutting at the center of…

  • Berkeley SETI at CalDay

    May 7, 2015

    On CalDay, The Berkeley SETI team set-up shop in the lobby of Campbell Hall and spent the day greeting CalDay attendees and answering questions about stars, planets, and extraterrestrial life; Below is a video provided by Berkeley SETI that captured part of their day!

  • Giant Telescope Takes a Close Look at a Lava Lake on Jupiter’s Moon Io

    May 1, 2015

    Scientists recently confirmed information regarding Loki Patera, a volcanic depression on Io (the innermost of Jupiter's four moons) that, up until recently, scientists were unable to closely examine. Using the combined Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) and Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI), in addition to the LMIRcam, the camera recording images in the LBTI, scientists found evidence that suggests Loki Patera's bright emissions are actually an active overturning lava lake, a finding that points to confirmations of past hypotheses.  From the press release provided by Large Binocular Telescope Observatory: "While we have seen bright emissions – always one unresolved spot – “pop-up” at different locations in Loki Patera over the…