Department of Astronomy Center for Radiophysics & Space Research

Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science


The Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science (CCAPS) was founded in 1959 as the Center for Radiophysics and Space Research, by Cornell professor Thomas Gold (1920-2004). Renamed in 2015, CCAPS fosters cooperative research among astronomers, engineers, geologists and other researchers with specialties relevant to space sciences. Connected to and contained within the Department of Astronomy, CCAPS administers research grants and contracts across several Cornell Departments. CCAPS personnel are involved in research with a variety of ground- and space-based facilities including Arecibo, Mt. Palomar observatory,  Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars Science Laboratory, Cassini-Huygens at Saturn, Juno to Jupiter, Spitzer Space Telescope, SOFIA the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, LRO the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Dawn to Vesta and Ceres, New Horizons to Pluto, and the upcoming Europa Mission. CCAPS scientists also conduct extensive theoretical investigations in cosmology, general relativity, galactic and extragalactic astronomy, plasma astrophysics, stellar and black hole astrophysics, planetary physics and chemistry, exoplanets, and astrobiology. With development of new space missions and ground-based facilities such as the Cerro Chajnantor Atacama Telescope (CCAT), CCAPS will continue to provide the Department of Astronomy with organizational support for cutting-edge astronomical research.


Director: Jonathan Lunine

            Sabbatical Leave January 1, 2018- December 31, 2018

Acting Director: Phil Nicholson

Associate Director: Mary Mulvanerton