Bez Thomas launching a model rocket


The science of astronomy deals with some of the most fundamental issues of human existence and the nature of the universe in which we live. It has had a natural appeal to thoughtful and curious men and women throughout human history.

A black hole in the Orion Nebula

Ask an Astronomer!

Since they first stepped out of the proverbial cave, humans have always been intrigued by the beauty and wonder of the night sky and the almost infinite possibilities of space. 

Ask an Astronomer is run by volunteers in the Astronomy Department. Most are graduate students at Cornell, and all contribute voluntarily, on their own time, so please take the time to browse the site and first try to use the existing resources to find an answer to your question.


The Cornell Astronomical Society & Fuertes Observatory

The Cornell Astronomical Society & Fuertes Observatory

Founded in 1972, the Cornell Astronomical Society (CAS) is a Cornell University undergraduate student organization, and has run public observing nights at the Fuertes Observatory for nearly 50 years. The club is open to Cornell undergraduate and graduate students, but faculty and staff members also occasionally volunteer at Fuertes Open House Nights and other Astronomy Department outreach events. Club members are given opportunities to learn how to use the historic 12" Irving Porter Church Refractor (finished in 1922) as well as many other telescopes at Fuertes.  

We open the observatory every Friday night during the academic year from 8:00 PM until midnight, regardless of weather. During the summer, winter, and other Cornell breaks, we generally try to be open from 8pm to midnight if the weather is clear.  To find out if the observatory is currently open, call (607)-255-3557 for a prerecorded message. You can visit our Hours & Directions page for directions to the observatory, parking information, and a schedule of upcoming events.