Carina Nebula as captured by the Jamess Webb Space Telescope
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Department of Astronomy

Astronomy News

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Together the Department of Astronomy and Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science represent one of the world’s leading institutes for space science with over 110 active researchers.  Research emphases include cosmology, solar system exploration, exoplanet science, and fundamental astrophysics. Graduate students, early career researchers and undergraduates, are actively engaged in current NASA missions, NSF consortia, and CCAT-Prime/FYST. The department and center also run an extensive and robust outreach program to the broader community.


Department of Astronomy research

The Department of Astronomy is a leading center of astrophysics and planetary science research.

Visit CCAPS, the Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science

Learn about the Carl Sagan Institute

Twaites Glacier
Researchers collected the first close-up observations of the grounding line where the remote Thwaites Glacier, one of Antarctica’s fastest changing and most unstable glaciers, meets the Amundsen Sea. Provided

Research spotlight

“These new ways of observing the glacier allow us to understand that it’s not just how much melting is happening, but how and where it is happening that matters in these very warm parts of Antarctica,” said Britney Schmidt, associate professor of astronomy and earth and atmospheric sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) and Cornell Engineering.

By James Dean, Cornell Chronicle

Learn more about astronomy research at Cornell.

2021 graduate student cohort

Undergraduate program

The Astronomy Major at Cornell University is designed to be flexible so that it can be customized to the needs of each student. 

Learn about the undergraduate program

Graduate program

Astronomy offers a wide variety of world-class research opportunities in astronomy, astrophysics and space science, with strong multidisciplinary connections, and a friendly and supportive atmosphere.

Explore the graduate program

Students at an eclipse viewing event

Reaching beyond campus

In the spirit of the renowned Cornell Professor Carl Sagan, the Department of Astronomy reaches beyond campus in numerous ways. The Spacecraft Planetary Image Facility (SPIF) is a repository of spacecraft data, a facilitator of research, and a hub for PreK-12 education and public outreach activities. Ask an Astronomer has been answering questions from the curious since 1997. The Cornell Astronomical Society conducts viewing nights at the Fuertes Observatory and offers educational programing to the public.