When completed, the light-collecting area of the GMT mirror segments will be approximately the size of a basketball court.

Departmental researchers have institutional access to advanced ground-based telescopes worldwide, including the 6.5-m twin Magellan Telescopes and the South Pole Telescope, with its ongoing development of powerful new imagers for measuring the cosmic microwave background. Researchers also make use of a number of leading space telescopes, including Hubble, Kepler and Fermi and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and are actively developing forefront programs for cutting-edge facilties, such as the Extreme Universe Space Observatory (EUSO), Probe of Extreme Multi-Messenger Astrophysics (POEMMA), James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) and Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). 

The University of Chicago is a founding member of the world's largest optical telescope, the 25-meter Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), now under construction in the Chilean Andes, with first light expected early in the next decade. We are a leader in cosmic ray detection at the Auger Observatory, and are home to the Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility and an ISO Class 5 cleanroom.

A CCD detector with unprecedented sensitivity is installed into the electronics enclosure as part of the DAMIC (Dark Matter in CCDs) experiment.

Key partnerships with Argonne and Fermilab National Laboratories enable collaborations with research groups in quantum science and particle physics, as well as access to facilities for nanofabrication, particle detector development, and supercomputing resources.


The department enjoys strong connections with the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, the Departments of Physics and Geophysical Sciences, and the Enrico Fermi Institute at UChicago, and we have active relationships with scientists, historians and public educators at the Adler Planetarium. These connections enable our faculty and students to expand their collaborative partnerships, broadly explore research themes, and further extend their outreach to the community.