Institute of Astronomy

News and Press Releases

Unique exoplanet photobombs Cheops study of nearby star system

Published on 30/06/2021 

While exploring two exoplanets in a bright nearby star system, ESA’s exoplanet-hunting Cheops satellite has unexpectedly spotted the system’s third known planet crossing the face of the star. This transit reveals exciting details about a rare planet “with no known equivalent”, say the researchers.
 

Cosmic dawn occurred 250 to 350 million years after Big Bang

Published on 25/06/2021 

Cosmic dawn, when stars formed for the first time, occurred 250 million to 350 million years after the beginning of the universe, according to a new study led by researchers at University of Cambridge and UCL.

The study, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, suggests that the NASA James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), scheduled to launch in November, will be sensitive enough to observe the birth of galaxies directly.

Astronomers spot a ‘blinking giant’ near the centre of the Galaxy

Published on 11/06/2021 

An international team of astronomers observed the star, VVV-WIT-08, decreasing in brightness by a factor of 30, so that it nearly disappeared from the sky. While many stars change in brightness because they pulsate or are eclipsed by another star in a binary system, it’s exceptionally rare for a star to become fainter over a period of several months and then brighten again.

Professor Roger Griffin has died at the age of 85.

Published on 01/03/2021 

(Photograph Credit: Richard Griffin)

Professor Roger Griffin has died at the age of 85.

Professor Roger Griffin spent most of his professional career as an astronomer at Cambridge University, with the exception of a short postdoctoral position at the Mount Wilson and Palomar Observatories in California. 

Dr Floor van Leeuwen awarded the 2021 Jackson-Gwilt Medal

Published on 19/01/2021 

Dr Floor van Leeuwen is awarded the Jackson-Gwilt Medal 2021 for his reprocessing of the entire Hipparcos Catalogue, which remains the reference for the most accurate and complete astrometric data for the brightest stars.

Dr Floor van Leeuwen was the leader of the small team at the Royal Greenwich Observatory who worked on the original analysis of the Hipparcos data alongside astronomers from other countries.