Institute of Astronomy


Accretion onto Compact Objects

A major area of research in X-ray astronomy is the accretion of matter on to black holes and neutron stars in the context of AGN and galactic X-ray binaries. Accretion is an energetic process and can give high luminosities.

Galaxy Clusters

Galaxy clusters are the largest virialized objects in the Universe and are very sensitive probes of the underlying cosmological framework.

Galaxy Formation

Galaxies provide us with valuable clues on the large scale properties of the Universe in which they are embedded. Equally important, they tell us about the physical processes which are responsible for star formation

First Quasars

Observations of nearby galaxies and high-redshift quasars suggest that  black holes are present in  the majority of galaxies. The first quasars harbor already black holes as massive as several billion solar masses.

Forming Supermassive Black Holes

Black holes are among the most fascinating phenomena thought to exist in the Universe. A black hole is a region of space in which the gravitational field is so powerful that nothing, not even light, can normally escape.

Cosmic Microwave Background

Observations of tiny fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background radiation give powerful constraints on cosmological parameters and theories of the early universe.


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.

X-ray Group

X-ray astronomy research in Cambridge is carried out by an active X-ray Astronomy group whose research focusses on accretion on to compact objects and the physics of clusters of galaxies.