The astronomy department at New Mexico State University came into existence in 1970, arising out of a research group founded in 1955 by the planet Pluto’s discoverer, Clyde Tombaugh. That early research group had a strong focus upon solar system studies. The department’s astrophysical expertise and research efforts have subsequently expanded to cover all facets of the field.
Today, the department is a site of active research in theoretical and numerical cosmological studies, galactic and extragalactic studies with emphasis upon the ISM, galaxy evolution, quasar absorption lines, stellar populations, variable stars, interacting binaries, solar physics, space weather, and planetary atmosphere studies. Each of these research topics are furthered by telescope observations obtained at facilities with which the department is affiliated, many of which are within driving distance of campus.