Eric Wilcots and Julie Davis look at the Southern African Large Telescope

Astronomy Professor Eric Wilcots and his graduate student, Julie Davis, look at the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) in Sutherland, South Africa.

Members of the public take in a nighttime view of the stars using Washburn Observatory vintage telescope

Members of the public take in a nighttime view of the stars using Washburn Observatory vintage telescope.

Our Mission

The UW-Madison Astronomy Department’s mission is to conduct cutting edge research and to offer students and postdocs the highest quality of education. We conduct research in diverse areas of astronomy, from the physics of stars to cosmology, in observation and theory, and through the construction of cutting edge instruments for our complement of telescopes. We pride ourselves in an inclusive, diverse, and friendly scientific environment.

The department consists of 150 members, with currently 18 faculty members, 8 scientists, 5 postdocs, and 33 graduate students. We offer an undergraduate major in Astronomy and Physics and graduate studies towards a Ph.D. in astrophysics. Regular seminars, group meetings and lunches, and many intra- and inter-department collaborations enrich the exchange of ideas that is vital to developing new ideas and to perfect scientific inquiry.

From a traditional strength in observational astronomy and space- and ground-based instrumentation, and a long history of first rate research in the study of astrophysical gases and the interstellar medium, the department is pursuing traditional as well as new avenues, with a recent emphasis on the observational and theoretical study of structure formation and the physics of stars.

This website, implemented in 2011, aims to convey some of the exciting science and the engrossing learning environment you can find at the UW-Madison Astronomy Department.

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Upcoming Events in Astronomy

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News & Announcements

The department is hosting an event in Naples, Florida on March 21, 2024 with speakers Susanna Widicus Weaver and Michael Maseda. Learn more and RSVP here.
The largest magnetic fields in galaxy clusters have been revealed for the first time. Read more here or here.
Undergraduate Astronomy major Sebastian Banaszak was selected as a winner of the AAS 243 Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Award poster competition!
A team of astronomers at UW-Madison and around the world have discovered a planet closer and younger than any other Earth-sized world yet identified. Learn more here.
Many astronomy department members attended AAS 243. See a picture here.
Stephen McKay has been awarded the ALMA Ambassadorship. Learn more here.

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