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AST Programs

AST support for astronomy and astrophysics research is provided through two categories:

  1. Research Projects & Instrumentation
  2. Facilities

For More Information For more information write to the Division of Astronomical Sciences, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Room 1045, Arlington, VA 22230; or contact the division by telephone, 703-292-8820. For information on deadlines for proposal submission, visit

Research Projects & Instrumentation

Astronomy & Astrophysics Grants in the following themes:

  • Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology (EXC) - Theoretical and observational studies of extragalactic objects ranging from nearby galaxies to the most distant quasars, and their relevance to galactic evolution and cosmology.
  • Galactic Astronomy (GAL) - Theoretical and observational studies on the structure and evolution of the Milky Way galaxy and nearby galaxies. Research may focus on the stellar populations in these galaxies; the characteristics of star clusters; the interstellar medium; and the properties of atoms and molecular constituents of the interstellar medium.
  • Planetary Astronomy (PLA) - Theoretical and observational studies of the detailed structure and composition of planetary surfaces, interiors, atmospheres, and satellites; the nature of small bodies (asteroids and comets); and the origin and development of the solar system.
  • Stellar Astronomy and Astrophysics (SAA) - Theoretical and observational studies of the structure and activity of the Sun and other stars; the physical properties of all types of stars; all aspects of star formation and stellar evolution; stellar nucleosynthesis; and the properties of atoms and molecules of relevance to stellar astronomy.

Education, Human Resources, and Special Programs - Coordinates research support in special areas and educational and outreach programs that are related to astronomy. Programs include Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites and Supplements, Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER), Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), Research at Undergraduate Institutions (RUI), Research Opportunity Awards (ROA), NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowships (AAPF), and programs for underrepresented minorities. Additional information on NSF-wide programs can be found on visit the NSF Crosscutting Programs home page,

Electromagnetic Spectrum Management - Is responsible for ensuring the access of the scientific community to portions of the radio spectrum that are needed for research purposes. With other Government agencies, it coordinates the uses of the radio spectrum for research purposes and obtains spectrum support for NSF radio communication systems when required.

Advanced Technologies and Instrumentation - Supports the development and construction of state-of-the-art detectors and instruments for the visible, infrared, and radio regions of the spectrum; interferometric imaging instrumentation; adaptive optics; and the application of new hardware and software technology and innovative techniques in astronomical research. Proposals should identify clearly the astronomical measurement objectives that will be enabled and include a brief task implementation plan with milestones, schedules, and costs.

University Radio Observatories - Supports university-based observatories as centers for focussed and innovative scientific and technical achievement, emphasizing the training of young radio astronomers. Fosters hands-on involvement of students in instrument building and telescope operations to help maintain the future health of US radio astronomy.

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4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22230, USA
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