Institute of Astronomy


UK-led robotic sky scanner reveals its first galactic fingerprint

Published on 13/12/2022 

A major telescope upgrade has peered through to the distant Universe to reveal the spectra of a pair of galaxies 280 million light years away from Earth.

The spectra provide a first glimpse of the sky from the WHT Enhanced Area Velocity Explorer (WEAVE) – a unique upgrade to the William Herschel Telescope (WHT) in La Palma on the Canary Islands.

Hubble Goes to the eXtreme to Assemble Farthest Ever View of the Universe

Published on 25/09/2012 

Like photographers assembling a portfolio of best shots, astronomers have assembled a new, improved portrait of humanity's deepest-ever view of the universe.

Called the eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, the photo was assembled by combining 10 years of NASA Hubble Space Telescope photographs taken of a patch of sky at the centre of the original Hubble Ultra Deep Field. The XDF is a small fraction of the angular diameter of the full Moon.

Milky Way Galaxy

Milky Way research at the IoA involves reconstructing the assembly history of the Galaxy through observational work involving large scale surveys and theoritical studies with numerical simulations and galactic dynamics.

High Redshift Galaxies

By studying high redshift galaxies, we can learn about the evolution of galaxies throughout the history of the Universe.

Clusters of Galaxies

Clusters of galaxies are the largest objects in the Universe that are held together by their own gravity, and provide great tools for studying the processes that govern AGN feedback.

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 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

Isolating the stellar discs of Andromeda

Published on 15/02/2011 

A team of astronomers from the UK, the US and Europe have identified a thick stellar disc in the nearby Andromeda galaxy for the first time. The discovery and properties of the thick disc will constrain the dominant physical processes involved in the formation and evolution of large spiral galaxies like our own Milky Way.

By analysing precise measurements of the velocities of individual bright stars within the Andromeda galaxy using the Keck telescope in Hawaii, the team have managed to separate out stars tracing out a thick disc from those comprising the thin disc, and assess how they differ in height, width and chemistry.

Gravitational Lensing

Gravitational lensing is used to determine the masses of lensing galaxies and clusters and to study more distant galaxies that can be magnified by a factor of more than 20.

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.