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Explaining how it all began


Some say the Universe began with a ‘Big Bang,’ causing space to expand faster than the speed of light. Others believe a higher power summoned light and life. Still others credit a raven …

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Avoiding "false positives" in the search for living worlds

Recent research has shown that planets orbiting cool stars are potentially susceptible to the abiotic accumulation of oxygen, often considered a key biosignature. A new study led by UW docto…

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Prof. Matt McQuinn receives Sloan Fellowship for early-career research

Astronomy professor Matt McQuinn is one of four UW faculty members who was awarded an early-career fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He is a theoretical astrophysicist and cosmologis…

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UW astronomers find a rare supernova ‘imposter’ in a nearby galaxy

University of Washington postdoctoral researcher and lecturer Breanna Binder and colleagues recently uncovered the mystery behind ‘supernova imposter‘ SN 2010da. Initially thought to be a supernov…

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Professor Emeritus George Wallerstein celebrates 60 years since first observing run

Professor Emeritus George Wallerstein is celebrating the 60th anniversary of his first telescope observing run with an Echelle spectrograph observing session on the Apache Point Observatory (APO) …

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Astronomy is the quest to make the Universe comprehensible, an adventure into the beginning of time and through the infinite recesses of space.


The Astronomy Department at the University of Washington (UW) began in 1965 and has grown to 15 full and part-time faculty, approximately 20 postdocs, and 30 graduate students. Like every department at the UW, our goals and responsibilities can be summarized as excellence in education, research, and public service. The Astronomy Department provides the most engaging and challenging of research opportunities covering the spectrum of modern astrophysics. Courses provide the background; the close, diverse community of learning provides the excitement; and the array of observational and computational tools provides the opportunities for everyone to participate and learn together.