Astronomy - Department of Physics and Astronomy Skip Navigation


Students and faculty in astronomy seek answers to fundamental questions about the nature of matter and the nature of the universe, and the advancement of space science.
Students adjust a telescope at the Foggy Bottom Observatory with the guidance of Professor Tom Balonek

Foggy Bottom Observatory

Our location on a rural hilltop with limited light pollution grants us an incredible view of the night sky, even with the naked eye. We take full advantage of this feature of our location with the Foggy Bottom Observatory.

We utilize the advanced research equipment at this facility to conduct high-level research and educate members of our community about the features of the sky above them. Our researchers maintain detailed online records of the work they do, and the history of the facility.

About Foggy Bottom
Students outside the Foggy Bottom Observatory prepare to view the Venus transit

Visualization Lab

An incredible complement to the Foggy Bottom Observatory, the Ho Tung Visualization Lab allows our students to study planets, stars, constellations, and other astronomical objects no matter what the weather is. The state-of-the-art 55-seat digital theater in Ho Science Center features a digital projector that allows us to project 3D animations and shows made in an immersive dome environment.

Visualization Lab

Astronomy Research on Campus

Our students and faculty conduct significant research in the field of astronomy. Many students remain on campus during summer breaks to work on projects with faculty members. Their findings are frequently shared at conferences, in posters, and through publication.

Access to facilities on campus such as the Foggy Bottom Observatory and the Ho Tung Visualization Lab supports these research efforts.