The undergraduate and graduate degrees offered by the Department of Astronomy are unique among public universities in New England. The Department includes
- 17 research and teaching faculty (23 total in the Five College Astronomy Department),
- 5 research fellows and associates,
- 25 graduate students and
- 100 undergraduates.
Both undergraduate and graduate students play an important role in all our projects, from building ultra-low temperature cryogenic devices to studying the latest images from space-borne observatories.
Astronomy is the study of the regions beyond the Earth: planets, moons, stars, galaxies, and the universe itself. Astronomers study these objects not only by observing them with telescopes and other instruments, but also with mathematical and computer models. The Department encourages learning in the areas of physics, mathematics, and computer science, as it is very useful in the field.
Astronomers use a wide range of equipment, including radio telescopes half a mile across, high-speed computers, and optical telescopes so big a truck could park on the mirror. UMass' use of the LMT and high-powered computers prepare Astronomy students with a firm background in astronomical uses of technology. The discipline ranges over many areas: radio astronomy; the study of stars, their structure and evolution; the origin of the universe and other astronomical systems; and the atmospheres and surfaces of planets. All these areas and more can be explored at UMass.