Institute of Astronomy

News and Press Releases

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.

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.