Department News

  • Astronomers may have detected a ‘dark’ free-floating black hole

    June 11, 2022

    A team of astronomers led by UC Berkeley graduate student Casey Lam and associate professor Jessica Lu has for the first time discovered what may be a free-floating black hole by observing the brightening of a more distant star as its light was distorted by the object’s strong gravitational field — so-called gravitational microlensing. Read more...

  • AI reveals unsuspected math underlying search for exoplanets

    May 24, 2022

    UC Berkeley astronomers used AI to find unsuspected connections hidden in the complex mathematics arising from general relativity — in particular, how that theory is applied to finding new planets around other stars. Read more...

  • Chung-Pei Ma is one of six Berkeley faculty members elected to National Academy of Sciences

    May 4, 2022

    Chung-Pei Ma, the Judy Chandler Webb Professor in Physical Sciences in the departments of astronomy and physics, is one of six Berkeley faculty members elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Congratulations! Read more

  • Alex Filippenko Awarded the AAS 2022 Education Prize

    February 2, 2022

    Professor Alex Filippenko has been awarded the American Astronomical Society’s 2022 Education Prize "for his passionate and wildly popular teaching of non-science majors; his mentoring of hundreds of teaching assistants and undergraduate research students; his dedication to public education through lectures, TV documentaries, and video courses; his textbook and other popular writings; and his leadership in saving Lick Observatory, a prominent California observatory that faced defunding in 2014." The AAS Education Prize recognizes outstanding contributions to the education of the public, students, and/or the next generation of professional astronomers.   Congratulations! Read More...

  • Berkeley astronomers to put new space telescope through its paces

    January 25, 2022

    NASA’s latest and snazziest satellite, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), launched on Christmas Day, deployed its 21-foot-wide mirror a mere two weeks ago and reached its orbital destination earlier this week. With a flashy new telescope now nearly a reality, astronomers at the University of California, Berkeley, are chomping at the bit to start observing. Read more...

  • Three faculty named 2022 Fellows of American Astronomical Society

    January 5, 2022

    Three UC Berkeley astronomers have been named 2022 Fellows of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), an accolade the society instituted in 2020 to honor members for extraordinary achievement and service. The new fellows are Imke de Pater, now professor emerita of astronomy and of earth and planetary science; Richard Klein, adjunct professor of astronomy; and Chung-Pei Ma, the Judy Chandler Webb Professor in the Physical Sciences and a professor of astronomy and of physics. Read More...

  • Q&A with Sarafina Nance, a Ph.D. candidate selected for Forbes “30 Under 30”

    December 10, 2021

    UC Berkeley Astronomy graduate student Sarafina Nance was recently selected for the Forbes "30 Under 30") list.  In a Q&A produced by UC Berkeley Letters and Science, Nance shares a bit about her work, her love of the cosmos, and what's next on the horizon.  Congratulations Sarafina!   Read more

  • Prof. Margutti receives Breakthrough Prize

    September 9, 2021

    Raffaella Margutti, a newly arrived associate professor of astronomy is one of nine winners of the 2022 New Horizons in Physics Prize, awarded every year to early-career scientists by the Breakthrough Prize Foundation.  Congratulations Professor Margutti! Read More

  • Black hole at center of swirling new women-in-science mural

    July 1, 2021

      Professor Chung-Pei Ma contributed to the creation of a mural celebrating women in STEM.  Ma worked with artist/scientist Amanda Phingbodhikpakkiya to depict a black hole in the mural. Read The Full Story Here...  

  • Stellar explosion in 1054 C.E. may have been a third flavor of supernova

    June 29, 2021

    A team of astronomers including UC Berkeley professor Alex Filippenko have found convincing evidence that supernovae come in a third flavor, powered by a long-suspected explosive mechanism that may explain a bright supernova humans observed 1,000 ago and that birthed the beautiful Crab Nebula. The evidence is an exploding star observed in 2018, the first that fits all six criteria for a hypothesized type of supernova called an electron-capture supernova. Read more...