Astronomy — Graduate Research
Our astronomical research ranges from the innermost solar system to the most remote galaxies. Our observers use ten major observatories. These observatories span the spectrum: radio, infrared, optical, X-ray, and gamma-ray. Our observers study the early universe; galaxies; quasars; the energetic interplay between stars, gas, and magnetic fields near the Galactic center; supernovae; accretion of matter onto black holes; stars; and the interstellar medium. Instruments for rockets and ground-based telescopes are built by our high-energy observers. Our theorists study stellar winds, accretion disks, astrophysical turbulence, and the interstellar medium. We also use spacecraft to observe the planets and solar system.
Our PhD astronomy students take a minimum of four semesters of graduate-level astronomy courses and two semesters of physics. Some students spend a period of residence at a radio telescope or gamma-ray observatory. With our instruments on major spacecraft, we are one of the few departments in the U.S. that offer students significant opportunities for spacecraft exploration of the solar system. Students hone their speaking skills in our weekly Space and Astrophysics seminar. Our PhDs are successful in their research careers at national observatories, laboratories, and universities. The degrees we offer are MS Astronomy and PhD Physics (Astronomy Subtrack).