Institute of Astronomy

News and Press Releases

Stephen Hawking (1942–2018)

Published on 14/03/2018 

Professor Stephen Hawking has died peacefully at his home in Cambridge at the age of 76.

Stephen Hawking was one of the most famous scientists in the world -- acclaimed as a world-leading researcher in mathematical physics, for his best-selling books about space, time and the cosmos, and for his astonishing triumph over adversity.

Dark Energy Survey publicly releases first three years of data

Published on 10/01/2018 

At a special session held during the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, D.C., scientists of the Dark Energy Survey (DES) announced  the public release of their first three years of data. This first major release of data from the Survey includes information on about 400 million astronomical objects, including distant galaxies billions of light years away as well as stars in our own galaxy.

Habitable planets around pulsars theoretically possible

Published on 19/12/2017 

Artistic impression of a habitable planet near a pulsar (right). Credit: Amanda Smith, IoA, Cambridge

Hitomi Mission Glimpses Cosmic 'Recipe' for the Nearby Universe

Published on 13/11/2017 

Before its brief mission ended unexpectedly in March 2016, Japan's Hitomi X-ray observatory captured exceptional information about the motions of hot gas in the Perseus galaxy cluster. Scientists have been able to analyze more deeply the chemical make-up of this gas, providing new insights into the stellar explosions that formed most of these elements and cast them into space.

First detection of gravitational waves produced by colliding neutron stars

Published on 16/10/2017 

In a galaxy far away, two dead stars begin a final spiral into a massive collision. The resulting explosion unleashes a huge burst of energy, sending ripples across the very fabric of space. In the nuclear cauldron of the collision, atoms are ripped apart to form entirely new elements and scattered outward across the Universe.

It could be a scenario from science fiction, but it really happened 130 million years ago -- in the NGC 4993 galaxy in the Hydra constellation, at a time here on Earth when dinosaurs still ruled, and flowering plants were only just evolving.