Research Activities

The members of our department engage in a wide variety of astronomical research, with topics ranging from the nearby stars to the most distant galaxies in the Universe. To help maintain these research efforts, our department supports an interest in several astronomical observatories.

Observational resources available to the Caltech community are best described as unparalleled. From the historic Palomar 200-inch telescope for which graduate students can propose projects as the principle investigator to the twin 10 meter Keck Telescopes, students wishing to perform optical or NIR observational projects easily gain access to world-class data. If you are more interested in longer wavelengths, Caltech co-operates CARMA, the most sensitive millimeter wave array on the planet prior to the commissioning of ALMA, and also a dedicated Sub-millimeter telescope, CSO. If your interest is in higher-energy photons, Caltech is currently building the first focusing hard x-ray telescope, NuSTAR, and built and operates the UV GALEX mission.

For students more interested in instrumentation, there are always new telescopes, space-missions, and instruments being built in the many labs in Cahill or in other spaces across the campus. One graduate student is currently characterizing high-energy detectors for the NuSTAR mission, while another is beginning to design a new high-precision camera for the Palomar 60-inch telescope which will be optimized to detect transiting extra-solar planets.