Astronomy is one of the few sciences that relies on observations from afar (very afar).   Many of the Illinois researchers specialize in obtaining data from state-of-the-art observatories.

Research Highlights 

Observation facilities
Facilities used at UIUC Astronomy: SOFIA, JWST, SDSS, SPT, ALMA, DES (top to bottom, left to right) 

Observational Cosmology

Prof. Vieira’s group works across the electromagnetic spectrum to characterize the formation and evolution of galaxies. The group uses all the major space facilities (Hubble, Spitzer, Chandra, Fermi, Herschel) and ground based facilities (ALMA, SPT, DES, Gemini) to observe galaxies within the first billions years of cosmic history. Recently, Prof. Vieira was granted 50 hours of Early Release Science observations with JWST — these will be the first observations made with Hubble’s successor!

Links to research groups and facilities: Joaquin Vieira


SDSS V consists of three surveys: the Milky Way Mapper, the Black Hole Mapper and the Local Volume Mapper. Image credit: M. Seibert (OCIS) & SDSS-V team

Sloan Digital Sky Survey 

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey is a dedicated imaging and multi-object spectroscopic survey in the optical and near-IR. Started around 2000, SDSS has conducted four generations of surveys that have enabled statistical studies of stars, galaxies and supermassive black holes (SMBHs). Starting from around 2020, the SDSS-V survey will perform all-sky, optical and near-IR, multi-epoch spectroscopy for Milky Way stars and distant SMBHs, as well as integral field spectroscopy of the Milky Way and nearby galaxies.

Links to research groups and facilities: Yue Shen, SDSS

Faculty Interested in Observation

Name Research Interests
Survey Science; Galaxies; ISM; LMC and SMC
Survey Astronomy and Data Science; Gravitational Lensing; Theory of Interferometry; Astrophysical Masers
Astronomical Survey and Data Science; Origin and Cosmic Evolution of Galaxies and Galactic Nuclei; The Nature of Black Holes and Gravity
Low-Mass Star Formation in the Milky Way; Properties of Circumstellar Disks; Magnetic Fields in Star Formation
Astrochemistry; Laboratory Spectroscopy; ISM; Diffuse Interstellar Bands
Observational Cosmology; Clusters of Galaxies and Sunyaev-Zeldovich Effect; Large Surveys; Data Analysis Pipelines for Surveys; Algorithms for Data Mining; Galaxy Formation and Evolution
Observational Cosmology; Quasars and Active Galactic Nuclei; Galaxy Formation and Evolution; Surveys and Time-Domain Science
Cosmology; Extragalactic Surveys; Galaxy Evolution; Instrumentation; Observation
Molecular Clouds; Star Formation in Nearby Galaxies; Evolution of Disk Galaxies