A Window to the Universe

The history of 20th century astronomy is inextricably linked to the Carnegie Observatories. From the revelation of the universe’s expansion to the discovery of dark energy, Carnegie Observatories scientists have transformed humankind’s understanding of the cosmos.

The groundbreaking work continues today at our world-famous Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, home to the twin Magellan telescopes, and site of the future Giant Magellan Telescope. Carnegie scientists are still at the vanguard of research on galaxy formation and evolution, the chemical evolution of stars and planets, stellar variability, supernovae, and more.

Carnegie astronomers are also playing a forefront role in developing the next generation Giant Magellan Telescope, currently under construction at our Last Campanas Observatory in Chile, as well as designing and building state-of-the-instruments that will enhance the capabilities of our entire suite of telescopes.

Our on-site machine shop means that Carnegie observers and theorists can work closely with engineers and machinists to advance the pace of discovery and drive breakthroughs at every scale of astronomy and astrophysics.

Swope telescope at Las Campanas Observatory

Our Telescopes

Carnegie's Las Campanas Observatory is located at a superb site high in the southern reaches of Chile’s Atacama Desert,. It is home to our du Pont, Swope, and twin Magellan telescopes. The next-generation Giant Magellan Telescope is also under construction at the facility. 

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Our Campus

Our scientists are empowered to pursue long-term projects whose pace is dictated by the pace of discovery itself. It is this exceptional culture that has enabled the relatively small staff to make such disproportionately large contributions to astronomy.

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Observatory dome of the Hooker 100–inch telescope, Mount Wilson Observatory.

Our History

Our founder George Ellery Hale was determined to push beyond the descriptive astronomy of earlier generations to understand the internal physics of the Sun and the stars. The Mount Wilson telescopes that he built transformed astronomy and astrophysics.

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Raised hands

Our Commitment

The Carnegie Observatories is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion for every member of our community and throughout the scientific enterprise. To work toward this goal, the Observatories has launched a grassroots DEI effort at our Pasadena campus. 

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What Our Postdocs & Alumni Say

The Carnegie Observatories is one of the best places anywhere in the world to start one’s astronomy career. The Carnegie Fellowship has given me the opportunity to pursue my own research program, as well as collaborate with the many incredible people who call it home.

Fakhri Zahedy Carnegie Postdoctoral Fellow
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I came here for the access to Magellan and the culture that values discovery and exploration. ... At Carnegie, people still go out and follow their intuition.

Allison Strom Former Carnegie Postdoctoral Fellow
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This is one of the top-notch best places for anyone, but in particular for me. My field would not have existed without the astronomers that are here now: George Preston, Ian Thompson, Steve Shectman, Andrew McWilliam, and Josh Simon. The search for old stars is kind of a Carnegie special.

Alexander Ji Former Carnegie Observatories Hubble Fellow
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Fakhri Zahedy
Alexander Ji