Institute of Astronomy


Gaia satellite and amateur astronomers spot one in a billion star

Published on 17/07/2015 

An international team of researchers, with the assistance of amateur astronomers, have discovered a unique binary star system: the first known such system where one star completely eclipses the other. It is a type of two-star system known as a Cataclysmic Variable, where one super dense white dwarf star is stealing gas from its companion star, effectively ‘cannibalising’ it.

UK Infrared Telescope discovers 'impossible' binary stars

Published on 04/07/2012 

UK Infrared Telescope discovers 'impossible' binary stars

A team of astronomers have used the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) on Hawaii to discover four pairs of stars that orbit each other in less than 4 hours. Until now it was thought that such close-in binary stars could not exist. The new discoveries come from the telescope’s Wide Field Camera (WFCAM) Transit Survey, and appear in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Variable Universe

Variable stars, RR Lyrae, transients, supernovae, microlensing events.


The STARS code was originally developed in the 1970's by Peter Eggleton. Over the years, the code has been gradually updated to it's current form.

N-Body Simulation

Sverre Aarseth's research into numerical simulations of many-body (N-body) gravitational interactions has developed into a set of FORTRAN codes which describe the dynamics very closely, and freely downloadable.