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The Department is involved in a wide variety of observational, experimental, and theoretical projects that cover most active areas of astrophysical research. Penn State is a partner in the Hobby-Eberly Telescope, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, the IceCube neutrino detector, and the Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory. Teams from Penn State built the ACIS camera on the Chandra X-ray Observatory and have played a leading role in the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission. Some of the largest astronomy research efforts at Penn State are coordinated through the Center for Astrostatistics, the Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Planets, the Astrobiology Research Center, the Center for Theoretical and Observational Cosmology, and the Center for Particle and Gravitational Astrophysics. The Department has one of the most productive astronomy research programs in the country, according to the recent multi-year study by the National Research Council. Penn State has the highest number of publications per faculty member per year, and the Department is in the top three (along with Princeton University and the California Institute of Technology) in the NRC Survey-based quality score.

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