Research in Astronomy & Astrophysics

Since its inception, when astronomers moved from Lick Observatory to Santa Cruz, the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics has enlarged its research scope to participate in every major area of astronomical discovery and investigation. Our ensemble of large telescopes remains at the core of our productivity in observational astronomy: the twin 10-meter Keck telescopes in Hawaii, and at Lick the 3-meter Shane and the new 2.4-meter automated planetary telescope. While optical and infrared wavelengths are fundamental to our understanding, for more comprehensive investigations observers at UC Santa Cruz exploit radio as well as X-ray and gamma ray space observations. Research in theoretical and computational astrophysics at Santa Cruz has also increased in size and repute to international eminence. Large beowulf computers on campus and elsewhere permit ground-breaking studies of cosmological structure formation, galaxy evolution, gas dynamics, exploding stars, solar physics, turbulence and magnetic phenomena, star and planet formation, asteroid impacts, and many other areas of current interest. In recent years the scientific papers published by our department have been cited more often than any other in the nation.

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Latest News

Thirty-Meter Telescope focuses on two candidate sites

Doug Lin has a featured article in the May 2008 Scientific American entitled "The Chaotic Genesis of Planets." Read more...