Department News

  • For the Good of Science

    December 15, 2016

    Nearly a dozen of the country's leading scholars in physics and astronomy visited the Heising-Simons Foundation to discuss academic and career pathways for women in these fields, and what could be done to help.  View the slideshow by clicking here. 

  • Peering Back in Galactic Time

    December 9, 2016

    The astonishing beauty of galaxies visible from Earth has enchanted humanity ever since our ancestors first gazed into the twinkling night and wondrously beheld them. Some galaxies look like elegant whirling spirals or cosmic frisbees, while others look like elliptical blobs or lumpy irregular clumps smeared across the sky. The variety of galactic shapes prompts questions as old as astronomy: why do galaxies form these characteristic shapes? Can elliptical galaxies become spirals, or vice versa?  

  • Breakthrough Listen and Tabby’s Star

    October 27, 2016

    UC Berkeley's Breakthrough Listen project to spend several exciting nights observing Tabby's star from the Green Bank Telescope, located in West Virginia.  

  • Tracking of Eruptions on Juptier’s moon Io

    October 21, 2016

     Long-term, hi-res tracking of eruptions on Juptier's moon Io.

  • HERA project receives nearly $10 million in funding from NSF

    September 15, 2016

    An experiment, lead by Astronomy's Professor Aaron Parsons, to explore the aftermath of cosmic dawn, when stars and galaxies first lit up the universe, has received nearly $10 million in funding from the National Science Foundation to expand its detector array in South Africa.

  • Recent Faculty Discoveries Include Learning What’s Under Jupiter’s Clouds and the Most Precise Measurement of Universal Expansion to Date

    June 6, 2016

    Professors Imke de Pater and Alex Filippenko have each released information pertaining to findings regarding their respective research last Friday.

  • 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…