Astronomy is a multidisciplinary natural
science that deals with the study of celestial objects (such as stars, planets, comets, nebulae, star clusters
that originate outside the Earth's atmosphere (such as the cosmic background radiation).
It is concerned with the evolution, physics,
and motion of celestial objects, as well as the formation and development of the universe.
Research in the Cornell Astronomy Department includes
astrophysics theory, complex numerical simulations of extreme
environments, astronomical observations, from within the Solar System to
the largest cosmic scales, and the engineering design, construction and implementation of
instruments for ground and space based observatories and Mars
Rovers. Our observational work covers
the entire electromagnetic spectrum from radio waves to gamma-rays. A
wide variety of national and international observatories and satellites are utilized to conduct our research.
Gravitational Waves, Dense Matter, and Burst Sources in the Universe
Neutron stars are the exotic end-products of stellar evolution. With masses ranging from 1.2 to 2.0 solar masses but radii as small as 10 km, their interiors approach nuclear densities and provide laboratories for the behavior of matter at extremes of temperature and pressure that cannot be replicated on Earth.
Planetary science is the scientific study of planets (including Earth), moons, and planetary systems, in particular those of the Solar System and the processes that form them. It studies objects ranging in size from micrometeoroids to gas giants, aiming to determine their composition, dynamics, formation, interrelations and history.
In young forming stars, disks form from contracting gas clouds as part
of the process of star formation and jets emanating from the disk-star
interaction play an important role. Planets form from and within these
Research on black holes and neutron stars is an active area of study in
Cornell Astronomy. A large numerical relativity group is devoted to
computing the merger of binary systems containing two black holes, one
black hole and one neutron star or two neutron stars.
Cornell astronomers study the history and evolution of galaxies across
the universe and throughout cosmic time, using both ground- and
space-based telescopes spanning the full wavelength range of the
Cosmology is the study of the evolution of the Universe. At Cornell we
study all aspects of cosmology, ranging from the physics of inflation in
the very early Universe to the development of large scale structure at
modest redshift to the underlying cause of the present phase of
accelerated expansion. Our dual goals are to understand basic physical
principles and to identify specific observations to test theoretical