Among the international community, Yonsei Astronomy has been well-known for its international collaboration in various fields of Astronomy and Space Science. This tradition begun when modern Astronomy lectures were initiated at Yonsei. For the first time in Korea, Dr. W. C. Rufus (then on leave from University of Michigan) and later Dr. A. L. Becker opened courses on Astronomy in 1915. It is not surprising that the first Korean Ph. D. in Science was an astronomer. Dr. Won-Chul Lee, who obtained his degree at the University of Michigan, and returned to assume a professorship at Yonsei in 1926. A 15cm refracting telescope was installed in the campus and used for education as early as 1928.
After the official opening of the Department of Astronomy and Meteorology in 1968 (later divided into two separate departments), both education and research in Astronomy have made significant advances at Yonsei. With its 40cm telescope, an extensive program of photo-electric photometry for eclipsing binaries began in 1976. A few years later, Yonsei opened the University Observatory with a new off-campus 61cm telescope. Since then, the Department has produced significant scientific output as well as several Ph.Ds in the area of variable stars and star clusters.
The Department of Astronomy offers undergraduate and graduate work to provide training in preparation for the practice of astronomy / space technology and careers in pertinent areas of research. Programs leading to the degrees of B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. are offered. Astronomy areas of current interest are stellar evolution, stellar fluid dynamics, star clusters, galaxies, evolution of stellar population, observational cosmology, observational instruments, and space optics. Yonsei research also pays attention to space technology, including astrodynamics, space mission design and analysis, satellite orbit, satellite attitude, space vehicle dynamics and control, and trajectory optimization. Several laboratories, having readily accessible equipment, provide a wide array of opportunities for the study and research in these and other areas.
The strength of the Yonsei Astronomy program has its foundation at the close tie with the 4 additional research organizations, namely, Yonsei University Observatory, the Center for Space Astrophysics, the Korean VLBI Network and Astrodynamics and Control Laboratory. The University Observatory is established in a few remote sites worldwide, which are equipped with wide-field fully automatic 0.5m telescopes. The Observatory is convinced that this network of telescopes will form an important asset for Yonsei Astronomy. The Center for Space Astrophysics has developed a space mission of UV space telescope through international cooperation. Combined with other research efforts at the department, this center has published fruitful results in the evolution of galaxies and the origin of the universe. A part of the Korean VLBI Network (KVN), a 20m-diameter radio telescope will be constructed and operated at Yonsei campus. The KVN project will be one of the first Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) facilities in Korea. The Astrodynamics and Control Laboratory is developing various research activities on satellite formation flying, spacecraft dynamics and control, astrodynamics. The laboratory has been financially supported by the Korea Ministry of Science and Technology as one of National Research Laboratories for 5 years (2006-2011).