astrophysics and plasma physics Engineering/Physical Sciences Research Area uri icon

Associated Departments


  • Cornell’s research programs in planetary astronomy, infrared astronomy, theoretical astrophysics, and radio astronomy are internationally recognized. Studies involving radar and radio astronomy are conducted at the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center at Arecibo, Puerto Rico, which is operated by Cornell for the National Science Foundation. Through a cooperative agreement with the California Institute of Technology, Cornell astronomers use the Palomar two hundred-inch telescope for optical and infrared studies on ninety nights each year. Other observational programs use planetary spacecraft, telescopes mounted in aircraft and satellites, and a wide variety of other ground-based instruments. Many of these studies use instrumentation designed and built at Cornell. Theoretical studies include the investigation of planetary atmospheres, numerical models of high-energy objects such as quasars and pulsars, and the evolution of galaxies and dense star clusters under the influence of general relativity.