URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2144/1176

The Department of Astronomy guides students at the undergraduate and graduate levels toward the advanced mathematical skills and physical insight they need to understand the nature of the universe from the modern scientific perspective. The department offers three undergraduate concentrations: astronomy, astronomy and physics, and planetary and space sciences. It offers an MA for students interested in careers in scientific applications, scientific computing, and related fields, and a PhD for students interested in research and academic careers in astrophysics and space physics. The department has two outstanding affiliated research centers, the Center for Space Physics and the Institute for Astrophysical Research.


Department chair: Tereasa Brainerd
Campus address: 725 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 514
Phone: 617-353-2625
Fax: 617-353-5704
Website: www.bu.edu/dbin/astronomy

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Recently Added

  • Investigating hyper-inflated M dwarfs in eclipsing binary systems 

    Healy, Brian (2017-05)
    We study two eclipsing binary systems (EBs), each containing an M dwarf which published literature claims has a radius far larger than expected physical limitations. In order to test these claims of “hyper-inflation,” we ...
  • Portraying the hosts: Stellar science from planet searches 

    Rojas-Ayala, Bárbara; Boisse, Isabelle; Muirhead, Philip S.; Binks, Alexander; Dittman, Jason A.; Donati, Jean-François; Fleming, Scott W.; Lesage, Anna-Lea; Morin, Julien; Raetz, Stefanie; Yee, Jennifer C. (2015)
    We present a compendium of the splinter session on stellar science from planet searches that was organized as part of the Cool Stars 18 conference. Seven speakers discussed techniques to infer stellar information from ...
  • Radial velocity prospects current and future: A white paper report prepared by the Study Analysis Group 8 for the Exoplanet Program Analysis Group (ExoPAG) 

    Plavchan, Peter; Latham, Dave; Gaudi, Scott; Crepp, Justin; Dumusque, Xavier; Furesz, Gabor; Vanderburg, Andrew; Blake, Cullen; Fischer, Debra; Prato, Lisa; White, Russel; Makarov, Valeri; Marcy, Geoff; Stapelfeldt, Karl; Haywood, Raphaëlle; Collier-Cameron, Andrew; Quirrenbach, Andreas; Mahadevan, Suvrath; Anglada, Guillem; Muirhead, Philip (2015-03)
    In this white paper report, we present an assessment of the current capabilities and the future potential of the precise radial velocity (PRV) method to advance the NASA goal to “search for planetary bodies and Earth-like ...
  • High-resolution broadband spectroscopy using externally dispersed interferometry at the Hale telescope: part 2, photon noise theory 

    Erskine, David J.; Edelstein, Jerry; Wishnow, Edward; Sirk, Martin; Muirhead, Philip S.; Muterspaugh, Matthew W.; Lloyd, James P. (International Society for Optics and Photonics, 2016-12-02)
    High-resolution broadband spectroscopy at near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths (950 to 2450 nm) has been performed using externally dispersed interferometry (EDI) at the Hale telescope at Mt. Palomar, with the TEDI interferometer ...
  • Kepler-445, Kepler-446 and the occurrence of compact multiples orbiting mid-M dwarf stars 

    Muirhead, Philip S.; Mann, Andrew W.; Vanderburg, Andrew; Morton, Timothy D.; Kraus, Adam; Ireland, Michael; Swift, Jonathan J.; Feiden, Gregory A.; Gaidos, Eric; Gazak, J. Zachary (2015-03-01)
    We confirm and characterize the exoplanetary systems Kepler-445 and Kepler-446: two mid-M dwarf stars, each with multiple, small, short-period transiting planets. Kepler-445 is a metal-rich ([Fe/H] = +0.25 ± 0.10) M4 dwarf ...
  • Dramatic robustness of a multiple delay dispersed interferometer to spectrograph errors: how mixing delays reduces or cancels wavelength drift 

    Erskine, David J.; Linder, E.; Wishnow, E.; Edelstein, J.; Sirk, M.; Muirhead, Philip S.; Lloyd, J.; Kim, A. (SPIE-INT SOC OPTICAL ENGINEERING, 2016-08-09)
    We describe demonstrations of remarkable robustness to instrumental noises by using a multiple delay externally dispersed interferometer (EDI) on stellar observations at the Hale telescope. Previous observatory EDI ...
  • The transit transmission spectrum of a cold gas giant planet 

    Dalba, Paul A.; Muirhead, Philip S.; Fortney, Jonathan J.; Hedman, Matthew M.; Nicholson, Philip D.; Veyette, Mark J. (2015-12-01)
    We use solar occultations observed by the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer aboard the Cassini Spacecraft to extract the 1 to 5 micron transmission spectrum of Saturn, as if it were a transiting exoplanet. We detect ...
  • NEWS: the near-infrared Echelle for wideband spectroscopy 

    Veyette, Mark J.; Muirhead, Philip S.; Hall, Zachary J.; Taylor, Brian; Ye, Jimmy (International Society for Optics and Photonics, 2016-08-09)
    We present an updated optical and mechanical design of NEWS: the Near-infrared Echelle for Wide-band Spectroscopy (formerly called HiJaK: the High-resolution J, H and K spectrometer), a compact, high-resolution, near-infrared ...
  • No timing variations observed in third transit of snow-line exoplanet Kepler-421b 

    Dalba, Paul A.; Muirhead, Philip S. (IOP Publishing, 2016-07-15)
    We observed Kepler-421 during the anticipated third transit of the snow-line exoplanet Kepler-421b in order to constrain the existence and extent of transit timing variations (TTVs). Previously, the Kepler Spacecraft only ...
  • Multiwavelength transit observations of the candidate disintegrating planetesimals orbiting WD 1145+017 

    Croll, Bryce; Dalba, Paul A.; Vanderburg, Andrew; Eastman, Jason; Rappaport, Saul; DeVore, John; Bieryla, Allyson; Muirhead, Philip S.; Han, Eunkyu; Latham, David W. (2015)
    We present multiwavelength, ground-based follow-up photometry of the white dwarf WD 1145+017, which has recently been suggested to be orbited by up to six or more short-period, low-mass, disintegrating planetesimals. We ...
  • Kepler transit depths contaminated by a phantom star 

    Dalba, Paul A.; Muirhead, Philip S.; Croll, Bryce; Kempton, Eliza M.-R. (IOP Publishing, 2017-01-10)
    We present ground-based observations from the Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT) of three transits of Kepler-445c—a supposed super-Earth exoplanet with properties resembling GJ 1214b—and demonstrate that the transit depth ...
  • The physical mechanism behind M dwarf metallicity indicators and the role of C and O abundances 

    Veyette, Mark J.; Muirhead, Philip S.; Mann, Andrew W.; Allard, France (IOP Publishing, 2016-09-07)
    We present near-infrared (NIR) synthetic spectra based on PHOENIX stellar atmosphere models of typical early and mid-M dwarfs with varied C and O abundances. We apply multiple recently published methods for determining M ...