The Astronomy Department is a 25% partner in the MDM Observatory, which comprises the 1.3-meter McGraw-Hill telescope and the 2.4-meter Hiltner telescope. Graduate students doing observational research receive a large fraction of Columbia's 150 nights per year of observing time on the two telescopes. In addition, the Observatory provides the opportunity for designing, building, testing, and using innovative optical and near-IR instrumentation developed in our laboratories. In addition, the department maintains telescopes in two domes atop Pupin Hall, used primarily for teaching and public outreach.
We have joined the LSST Corporation, whose mission is to support the community (scientific and beyond) in engaging with data from the Rubin Observatory's Legacy Survey for Space and Time (LSST).
Columbia Astrophysics Laboratory (CAL)
The Columbia Astrophysics Laboratory, a joint endeavor involving the Astronomy and Physics Departments, has extensive experience in the design and construction of new astronomical instruments for rocket, satellite and balloon missions, as well as groundbased telescopes.
Facilities at our Nevis Labs include laboratories and equipment for testing and assembling experiments, an electronics shop, and an instrument machine shop. In addition, there is a fully equipped machine shop available for student use in the Pupin Building and additional laboratories for instrument development.
Current projects include NuSTAR (the first hard X-ray imaging satellite), instrumentation for the Laser Interferometer Gravity-wave Observatory, UV instrumentation, laboratory astrophysics and CCD cameras.
The Astrophysics Laboratory and Astronomy department maintain a large network of workstations and each student is assigned a private computer on arrival. Additionally, the department has a share of two large compute clusters, and individual faculty have extensive allocations on national supercomputers.