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Current Cornell Research

Astronomer Eric Lagadec studies the giant, pulsating stars which will soon end their lives as Planetary Nebulae. His interest is in the production of dust which returns to space some of the nuclear ashes generated during the stars' lives. Without previous generations of stars enriching the Universe with this material, the Earth -- and us -- could not have formed.
Astronomer Greg Sloan studies dust in the atmospheres of stars and in the space between the stars. Much of the dust comes from stars which are either ending their lives as planetary nebulae or about to do so. Greg played a significant role in the Spitzer Space Telescope mission, partially led by a Cornell team, which provided a new and more sensitive view of dust in the universe.
James Houck led forty years of cutting edge research in infrared astronomy at Cornell, including significant leadership of the Infrared Astronomical Satellite and team lead of the Infrared Spectrograph on the Spitzer Space Telescope. He discovered water vapor in Mars' atmosphere and was a co-discoverer of Ultraluminous Infrared Galaxies (ULIRGs), and contributed to the understanding of the rate of star formation and dust in the early Universe.
Professor Joseph Burns has studied the stability and evolution of Saturn's rings as a member of the Cassini spacecraft team. Cassini was launched in 1997 and arrived at Saturn seven years later. It remains in orbit around Saturn today and is still in operation, photographing Saturn's moons and ring system as it maneuvers to new orbits to gain different perspectives.
Professor Peter Gierasch studies the winds, clouds, and atmospheric processes on the outer planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
Professor Phil Nicholson has discovered a number of new moons orbiting the outer solar system gas giants Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. His research involves uncovering how the distribution of moons of various sizes and orbits encodes information about the formation of the outer planets and Solar System.

Fuertes Observatory
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