Astronomy and Astrophysics
About Our Research
The astronomy and astrophysics program within the Department has close ties to the efforts in gravity physics and nuclear physics, as well as between theory and observations in general.
Our department is involved in partnerships on several world class telescopes, guaranteeing observing time on these facilities. More information is available at the UNC Observatories page. We also use national facilities, including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the Gemini Observatory, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, selected other facilities including the Australia Telescope, the Anglo-Australia Telescope, and the Keck Observatory, as well as follow-up of discoveries from large space observatories including the TESS and Kepler exoplanet missions.
Theoretical astrophysics employs data from all these facilities. Dedicated Departmental computational facilities in Phillips and Chapman Halls (Linux workstations and 32-core computational processors) are augmented by the campus research computing clusters.
Astronomical instrumentation also plays a major role in the Department, represented currently by the high-throughput Goodman multi-slit Spectrograph for the SOAR Telescope, development of large-format curved volume phase holographic gratings for high-efficiency spectroscopy on telescopes up to ELT’s, robotic telescope design and construction including Evryscopes being used for an all-sky survey of time-variable phenomena, a Robo-AO high-order adaptive optics system for SOAR, a multi-unit, integral-field feed for the Goodman Spectrograph, and the design and launch of small satellites (CubeSats) for exoplanets and stellar astrophysics.
Faculty and Research Specialties