Fred Young Submillimeter Telescope site rendering
Exploration that spans the universe

Department of Astronomy

The Department of Astronomy is one of the leading centers for astronomical research in the world. The department places strong emphasis on the participation of students in ongoing research projects and strives to foster an interdisciplinary approach to solving astronomical problems by maintaining strong ties with other departments. Many undergraduate and graduate alumni of Cornell astronomy have become leaders in the field. The department is also actively engaged in outreach 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

The newly-launched James Webb Space Telescope is the most powerful space telescope ever built.  Its infrared observations will allow scientists to peer back in time to the formation of the earliest stars and galaxies, says Nikole Lewis.
The newly-launched James Webb Space Telescope. NASA; Elizabeth Nelson

Research spotlight

As of 2022, close to 5,000 exoplanets have been found. "We've gotten to the point where missions like TESS [Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite], for instance, are monitoring so many stars that when we process the data, planets just fall out of it," says Nikole K. Lewis, associate professor of astronomy in the College of Arts & Sciences. [The Cornell Chronicle]

Learn more about astronomy research at Cornell.

Astronomy News

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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.

Astronomy Events