Institute of Astronomy

News and Press Releases

Sapphires and Rubies in the Sky

Published on 19/12/2018 

Researchers at the Universities of Zurich and Cambridge have discovered a new, exotic class of planets outside our solar system. These so-called super-Earths were formed at high temperatures close to their host star and contain high quantities of calcium, aluminium and their oxides - including sapphire and ruby.

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.