An artists conception of the discovery of a super-Earth orbiting a red dwarf star 9,000 light years away detected by a search for microlensing events. Image courtesy of David A. Aguilar (CfA)

The Ohio State University Department of Astronomy is engaged in leading-edge research that includes searches for planets around other stars using gravitational lensing, supermassive black holes, and clusters of galaxies; studying the evolution of stars and galaxies; the large-scale structure of the universe; and the origin of chemical elements in stars and the Big Bang.

I always knew I wanted to be an astronomer, even when I was little, but it was Ohio State’s graduate program that made me an astronomer.

{Scott Gaudi, Professor, Department of Astronomy} 


  • Extrasolar Planetary Systems
  • Stellar Structure and Evolution
  • Star Formation and Interstellar Chemistry
  • Supernovae, Gamma-Ray Bursts, and Compact Objects
  • Galactic Structure
  • Gravitational Lensing and Microlensing
  • Galaxy Formation & Evolution
  • Active Galactic Nuclei and Quasars
  • Cosmology and Large-Scale Structure
  • Astronomical Instrumentation
  • Nuclear & Particle Astrophysics
  • Atomic Astrophysics

Arne Sleetebak Planetarium: 

A New Level of Planetarium Education — a space-science learning lab

Ohio State Researchers Play Major Role in Developing NASA WFIRST Mission

In the mid-2020s, NASA will launch a new space telescope that can map the Milky Way galaxy and the distant universe 100 times faster than the famed Hubble Space Telescope. Ohio State researchers Scott Gaudi, Chris Hirata and David Weinberg have played major roles in developing the current design of the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), and over the coming decade they will help NASA refine the mission and prepare to analyze the extraordinary cosmic maps it will send back to Earth.

With three leading members of WFIRST’s Science Investigation Teams, Ohio State has “the largest scientific footprint in WFIRST of any university in the country,” according to Weinberg.

Faculty Focus: Scott Gaudi

Astronomer Scott Gaudi is directly involved in worldwide collaborations that hunt — and find planets that lay beyond our solar system, using the technique of gravitational lensing. A recent NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award funds his efforts to create a new stellar map for these extrasolar planets. By comparing different research methods used to find them, he plans to stitch them together like a patchwork quilt to get a better global sense of their actual demographics.

Degree and Other Programs


  • Major, Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Minor, Astronomy and Astrophysics

Summer Undergraduate Research Program
is sponsored by the department and the Center for Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics (CCAPP). It includes full-time, paid summer research positions in astrophysics with a faculty member in either astronomy or physics.

Graduate and Postdoctoral

  • Masters, Astronomy
  • PhD, Astronomy

Top program in optical/infrared observational astrophysics
Top program in theoretical astrophysics

Recent PhD recipients have received postdoctoral positions at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the Carnegie Observatories, the Institute for Advanced Study, UC Santa Cruz, the Kavli Institute at the University of Chicago, Space Telescope Science Institute, UCLA, Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, University of Leiden, Durham University, DARK Cosmology Centre at the Niels Bohn Institute, Los Cumbres Global Telescope Observatory in Santa Barbara, the National Optical Astronomy Observatories, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech.

Facilities and Partnerships

Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP)
A collaboration between astronomy and physics to pursue research at the interface of cosmology, astrophysics and high-energy physics.

Large Binocular Telescope (LBT)
Mt. Graham, Arizona (16% share of twin 8.4m telescope)

MDM Observatory
Kitt Peak, Arizona (25% share of 2.4m and 1.3m telescopes)

Founding member of the Small and Moderate Aperture Research Telescope System (SMARTS)
Consortium operating the 1.3m, 1.0m, 1.5m, and 0.9m telescopes at CTIO in Chile

Sloan Digital Sky Survey Collaboration

Dark Energy Survey Collaboration

COSI Columbus