Research in the Astronomy department is centered around ground-based observational astronomy, computer simulations of dynamical and hydrodynamical motions in astronomical objects, and investigation of dark matter and dark energy. Within these broad categories can be found studies of the origin of the light elements using stellar spectroscopy, studies of globular clusters and compact objects in these clusters, and observational tests of galaxy evolution.
In the last two decades, astronomers have discovered thousands of exoplanets – planets that orbit stars other than our sun.
Searches for white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes in binary systems inform us about the endpoints of stellar evolution.
Large stellar systems like galaxies and star clusters contain different populations of stars formed at different times or under different conditions.
How do star clusters evolve over time? How do the dynamical interactions among the stars affect the stellar content of clusters? N-body simulations of star clusters over time can help us answer these questions.
How do galaxies form and evolve? How and why do galaxies form stars – or stop forming stars? Observations of galaxies across the full electromagnetic spectrum help us to understand the origin and evolution of galaxies.