Most broadly, astrophysics is the physics of everything beyond the Earth. Its purview ranges from cosmology, the study of the origin and evolution of the Universe, to space physics, the study of rarefied plasma in the solar system.
Astrophysicists seek to understand the origin, evolution, and destiny of the Universe and its constituent galaxies, stars, and planets, and the entire observed Universe serves as their laboratory. All areas of astrophysics are united by their common use of astrophysical laboratories to explore fundamental physics, and still, they can be divided into the areas of Cosmology, Compact Objects, and Stars & Planetary Systems, with significant overlap among these fields.
Astrophysical research is carried out in the Physics Department, the Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), and in close association with the Astronomy Department and the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics (BCCP).