Research using cutting-edge observational instruments - School of Science, the University of Tokyo
Aug 24, 2015

Research using cutting-edge observational instruments

03. Delivering the biggest of dreams — Department of Astronomy

Join us and use the latest large-scale telescopes and observational satellites to reveal the mysteries of the birth and development of the cosmos.

Professor Takashi Onaka
2013 Department Chair
Department of Astronomy

Astronomy is a field in which we study how the universe and everything within it came to be, and attempt to understand the various phenomena we see occurring in it. Astronomy is furthermore an attempt to fulfill the curiosity that all humans share and to deliver the biggest of dreams. This is why the discoveries we make in astronomy have such a large impact on society.

Astronomy is a field of study with its roots in the distant past. However, since Galileo in the seventeenth century, we have made constant progress with respect to the telescopes we use, and this has largely formed the basis of studies in astronomy. Recent technological breakthroughs have led to astonishing advances, new discoveries, and the formation of new concepts. Astronomy will no doubt become a central field of science in the twenty-first century.

Education in the Department of Astronomy centers on our classrooms in Hongo and the Institute of Astronomy in Mitaka (both affiliated with the School of Science). There are currently four professors, two associate professors, and four assistant professors teaching at the Hongo classrooms. There are three professors, four associate professors, and five assistant professors at the Institute of Astronomy. The 105-cm Schmidt telescope at the Kiso Observatory is also used as part of our teaching.

An understanding of physics is a vital part of astronomy, so during morning classes you will take the same classes as physics majors, with more specialized astronomy courses in the afternoon. Much of your time during your third year will be devoted to learning basic physics, but there will be many opportunities for learning the basics of astronomical observation through lab exercises at the Kiso Observatory.

Fourth-year students are divided into research groups that will focus on research projects. In third-year lab exercises, too, you will be using the latest observational instruments, and during both years you will be participating in actual research.

We are a small department, normally with fewer than ten students, so we enjoy a very close, family-like atmosphere and student life.

Astronomy is a field that is expected to continue to develop and grow in the future. Japan has made substantial contributions to international astronomical research, and we have ongoing plans for the deployment of new observational instruments and satellites. We are actively seeking young talent who will use these instruments to explore the frontiers of astronomy.



Advancement after graduation

Most of our graduates go on to pursue graduate studies, and approximately 10% take positions as public servants, educators, or employees at private companies.



1877(Establishment of the University of Tokyo) Department of Astronomy
1886(Reorganized as Imperial University under the Imperial University ordinance) Department of Astronomy
1919(Amendment to the Imperial University ordinance) Department of Astronomy
1951Reorganization of the Faculty of Science; unified with the Department of Physics
1967Divided into Departments of Astronomy, Geophysics, and Physics

― Office of Communication ―

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