Star Trails over Magellan

Exploring outer space to find distant planets and understand their origin

We aim to discover and understand solar and extrasolar planets through pioneering detection studies, observations of their nebular birthplaces, modeling of their formation and evolution, and using the detection of small bodies in the outer Solar System to understand the origin of our own planetary system.

Our Top Questions


National Medal of Science

Vera Rubin | 1993


Henry Draper Medal

Paul Butler | 2001

Major Achievements

For decades, the Earth and Planets Laboratory has been home to astronomic excellence.

Two outstanding examples include:

Carnegie's Vera Rubin won the National Medal of Science—America's highest scientific award— for discovering evidence of dark matter—the invisible material that makes up more than 80 percent of the universe's mass.

The United States National Academy of Sciences awarded Carnegie's Paul Butler "for their pioneering investigations of planets orbiting other stars via high-precision radial velocities. They have proved that many other planetary systems exist in the universe."