Institute of Astronomy

News and Press Releases

Why are young planetary systems so rich in gas?

Published on 11/12/2018 

A new study by an international team (including IoA researchers) may have shed light on a long-standing mystery of planet formation: why are young planetary systems so rich in gas?

Giant planets around young star raise questions about how planets form

Published on 22/10/2018 


Researchers have identified a young star with four Jupiter and Saturn-sized planets in orbit around it, the first time that so many massive planets have been detected in such a young system. 

The system has also set a new record for the most extreme range of orbits yet observed: the outermost planet is more than a thousand times further from the star than the innermost one, which raises interesting questions about how such a system might have formed. 

Gaia reveals major galaxy collision that changed the Milky Way

Published on 20/08/2018 

An international team of astronomers has discovered an ancient and dramatic head-on collision between the Milky Way and a smaller object, dubbed ‘the Sausage Galaxy’. The cosmic crash was a defining event in the early history of the Milky Way and reshaped the structure of our Galaxy, fashioning both the Galaxy’s inner bulge and its outer halo, as reported in a series of new papers.

Paper by IoA Astronomer is Wikipedia's 3rd most-cited journal article

Published on 25/05/2018 

Nature has revealed a list of the most-cited journal articles on Wikipedia -- and IoA astronomer Floor van Leeuwen's 2007 paper comes in at number 3. "Validation of the new Hipparcos reduction", published in 2007 by Astronomy and Astrophysics, is the third-most-referenced paper on Wikipedia, cited by nearly 3,000 English Wikipedia pages.

Gaia mission releases 3D census of over 1 billion stars

Published on 24/04/2018 

The European Space Agency's Gaia mission has released its second batch of data. This release includes information on 1.7 billion objects (including stars, galaxies, quasars, and asteroids). This dataset covers a volume of space 1000 times greater than the previous Gaia release, with a hundredfold improvement in precision. This data will benefit almost all branches of astronomy, shedding light on the formation of our Solar System, the evolution of stars, the history of the Milky Way, the distribution of dark matter, and the calibration the Universe's distance scale.