Institute of Astronomy

News and Press Releases

The death of a planet nursery?

Published on 22/09/2016 

Planetary disc around the star known as TW Hydrae. Source: S. Andrews (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA); B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF); ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

The dusty disc surrounding the star TW Hydrae exhibits circular features that may signal the formation of protoplanets. Cambridge astronomer Giovanni Rosotti is one of a team of astronomers led by LMU astrophysicist Barbara Ercolano who argue that the innermost feature actually points to the impending dispersal of the disc.

Astronomers identify a young heavyweight star in the Milky Way

Published on 19/08/2016 

Astronomers identify a young heavyweight star in the Milky Way

A young star over 30 times more massive than the Sun could help us understand how the most extreme stars in the Universe are born.

The First Atmospheric Study of Earth-Sized Exoplanets

Published on 19/07/2016 

First atmospheric study of Earth-sized exoplanets excites researchers

Two Earth-sized exoplanets have become the first rocky worlds to have their atmospheres studied using the Hubble Space Telescope.

Planets similar to Jupiter are likely able to form on orbits shorter than the Earth’s

Published on 15/07/2016 

Planets similar to Jupiter are likely able to form on orbits shorter than the Earth's

After analyzing four years of Kepler space telescope observations, astronomers from the University of Toronto, and of the University of Cambridge have given us our clearest understanding yet of a class of exoplanets called “warm Jupiters”, showing that many have unexpected planetary companions

Gravitational vortex provides new way to study matter close to a black hole

Published on 11/07/2016 

Gravitational vortex provides new way to study matter close to a black hole

An international team of astronomers has proved the existence of a ‘gravitational vortex’ around a black hole, solving a mystery that has eluded astronomers for more than 30 years. The discovery will allow astronomers to map the behaviour of matter very close to black holes. It could also open the door to future investigation of Albert Einstein’s general relativity.