• Related Links:
  • Department Website
  • Courses/Requirements
A Sampling:

Astrobiology: Life in the Universe
(interdisciplinary introduction to scientific investigation of life in the Universe; team-taught by astronomy and biology faculty)

The Solar System
(introductory discussion of contents, formation and evolution of the Solar System with laboratory)

elativity, Black Holes and Quasars
(descriptive introduction to special and general relativity, with applications to black holes and quasars)

Introduction to Astrophysics
(intro to scientific understanding of stars and galaxies)

Introduction to Planetary Sciences
(intro to formation, evolution and physical processes in the Solar System; shares lectures with AST050)

Cosmology and General Relativity
(upper-level study of the universe, including shape, size, age and future of the Universe)

Radio Astronomy
(upper-level laboratory-based course using Union's 2-meter radio telescope)

Astronomy Practicum
(activities that provide on-the-job experience relevant to possible careers for astronomy majors)

Department of Physics and Astronomy - Astronomy
Department of Physics and Astronomy - Astronomy
Science & Engineering 308
807 Union Street
Schenectady, NY 12308
(518) 388-6254
Rachel Almodovar '16 with the College's 20-inch optical telescope.
Rachel Almodovar '16 with the College's 20-inch optical telescope.


See where Union takes you:
  • Homer Dodge Fellowship Awardee, University of Oklahoma
  • Astronomy Educator, Astronomical Society of the Pacific
  • Adjunct Professor, Schenectady County Community College
  • Graduate Student, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Graduate Student, University of Innsbruck
  • Ph.D. Student in Astrobiology, Penn State
  • Creative Technologist, Primacy
Students in the Field
At the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center in Puerto Rico
National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center near Arecibo, Puerto Rico

Searching for extrasolar planets, observing galaxies to study how they form and evolve, modeling nuclear reactions in stellar explosions and collisions, contemplating the origin and fate of the Universe — Union College Astronomy is all of this and more.

There is no better place to pursue Astronomy than Union College. Here, your physics and astronomy classes will be small and personal, with labs taught by full-time faculty rather than by graduate students, and instruction that is truly characterized by individual attention. The department of Physics and Astronomy offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and a Bachelor of Arts in Astronomy, as well as minors in Physics, Astrophysics and Astronomy.

Our state-of-the-art equipment is comparable to what might be found at larger institutions. We have a 20-inch optical telescope equipped with CCD cameras and a spectrograph and a 7.5-foot radio telescope – both used by students. Four of our faculty members pursue astrophysics research, with specialties in galaxy evolution, active galactic nuclei, star formation and stellar nucleosynthesis.

Astronomy students enjoy the opportunity to work with professors on cutting edge research funded by Department of Energy and National Science Foundation research grants. Students are eligible for an independent study term abroad at Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in Chile.

Some of the best education a young scientist can obtain occurs outside the classroom. The Department of Physics and Astronomy provides a variety of extracurricular opportunities with this in mind. Independent research with a faculty colleague is required for the degree in physics or astronomy, and many of our majors go well beyond the minimum requirements, spending summers at Union or at observatories or national laboratories doing research. The results of these student research projects have been presented at national and international conferences, and in student-coauthored articles for scientific journals.