Astronomy students have access to hands-on research and state-of-the-art equipment in the study of our universe.
Astronomy is the study of the formation and evolution of the universe and celestial objects. We apply the laws of physics to the largest scales of space and time to study the formation and structure of stars, galaxies and the early universe.
Astronomy at Pomona is part of our Physics and Astronomy Department and majors graduate with a B.A. in physics with astrophysics, astronomy, or Earth, planetary and space science (EPSS) tracks. You may also minor in astronomy.
Courses range from Introduction to Astrophysics and Stellar Structure and Evolution to Introduction to Galaxies and Cosmology and Archaeoastronomy and World Cosmology. One popular course, the interdisciplinary Life in the Universe, covers topics such as astrobiology and water on Mars.
Students may assist on faculty research as early as their first year. An important aspect of the major is the required senior thesis. Majors are strongly encouraged to elect independent research projects, usually in conjunction with a faculty research program. Recent subjects have included:
- monitoring active galactic nuclei,
- quasar absorption line spectroscopy,
- telescope instrument design,
- adaptive optics,
- and analyzing Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescope data.
The College’s exceptional astronomy facilities dedicated to undergraduate study include:
- the Table Mountain one-meter telescope equipped with optical and infrared-wavelength CCD cameras,
- an on-campus observatory equipped with two computer-controlled 14-inch telescopes,
- an adaptive optics lab,
- and, coming in fall 2015, a 3D digital planetarium.
Adding to its rich resources, the astronomy program has a partnership with the Carnegie Observatories, which involves summer research jobs at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Students have also interned at the Brookhaven National Lab, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, among other institutions.