About Astronomy at BU

The faculty, students, and researchers of the Astronomy Department and its two affiliated research centers, the Institute for Astrophysical Research and the Center for Space Physics, engage in forefront scientific investigations and mission development across a wide range of active topics. These include studying how Mars lost its water, how magnetic fields in the Milky Way direct stars to form, the nature of planets orbiting nearby and distant stars, how the Sun affects space weather, finding the edge of the solar system, where black holes are found and their detailed natures, and how the largest structures in the universe were formed and evolve.

We offer courses and experiential training leading to BA degrees in Astronomy or Astronomy and Physics, the BA/MA dual degree in Astrophysics & Space Physics, and the PhD in Astronomy. Class sizes tend to be small, with plenty of opportunity for positive student and faculty connections. Many undergraduates pursuing BA degrees with us join departmental research groups, led by individual faculty members, and receive hands-on research training as well as opportunities to attend scientific meetings and to participate in, or lead, scientific publications.

Our research is conducted using a wide variety of tools, from supercomputers on and off the BU campus, to NASA and ESA satellite and spacecraft missions like JUNO and MAVEN, to the SOFIA airborne observatory, to national and international optical and radio telescope systems, and on our own telescopes. These latter include the 72-inch (1.8m) Perkins Telescope Observatory (PTO), whole owned and operated by Boston University through the Astronomy Department, and the 170-inch (4.3) Lowell Discovery Telescope (LDT) for which BU is a 15% permanent partner.

Our Astronomy Department community is made up of 19 faculty members, about 10 research scientists and postdocs, about 30 graduate students, some 50 undergraduate majors, and some 10 technical and administrative staff. This relatively small size allows us to feel and function like a family, with frequent and well attended scientific seminars, practice talks by students, visiting scientists and educators, strong public engagement, and a shared sense of mission and goals. Want to learn more? Check out the many other web pages on this site, or Contact Us with your questions!

Further Information