Institute of Astronomy

Instrumentation, Surveys and Projects

The IoA is involved in instrumentation and surveys in the optical and infrared. Current instrumentation projects include Super-sharp which is the development of unfolding space telescopes and Lucky Imaging which uses high speed CCDs to remove effects of the atmosphere. The IoA also has a leading role in the Planck and GAIA ESA space missions.

Survey work includes the Vista Hemisphere Survey (VHS) and the Local Volume Legacy Survey (LVL). VHS surveys scales from local stars to z=7 galaxies while LVL uses Spitzer data to survey 258 galaxies within 11MPc.


Cambridge Astronomy Survey Unit

CASU is involved in survey astronomy with expertise covering ground- and space-based projects ranging from data processing and image analysis techniques through to data curation and access to UK facility data archives.


CODEX is a proposed ultra-stable optical high-resolution spectrograph for the E-ELT utilizing the novel laser-comb wavelength calibration technique.

Gaia: a Stereoscopic Census of our Galaxy

Gaia is the ESA cornerstone mission set to revolutionise our understanding of the Milky Way.

GREAT: Gaia Research for European Astronomy Training

GREAT is a pan European science driven research infrastructure which will facilitate, through focused interaction on a European scale, the fullest exploitation of the ESA Gaia 'cornerstone' astronomy mission.

Lucky Imaging

Lucky Imaging.


The PathGrid initiative is a collaboration between the IoA and medical oncology and pathology researchers, utilising advanced image analysis and data handling techniques to handle high throughput medical imaging data.

PLATO (PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars)

PLATO is one of the three medium class (M class) missions selected for definition study in the ESA Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 program.  Its goal is the discovery and study of extrasolar planetary systems using transits.

Stellar Radial Velocities and Binary-Star Orbit Determination

This is the longest-standing of all the Institute's research projects. The majority of the observations is made on-site with the radial-velocity instrument at the 36-inch telescope.


Development of unfolding, thermal infra-red, self-aligning space telescopes and their application to climate change mitigation.

VISTA Hemisphere Survey (VHS)

The aim of the Vista Hemisphere Survey (VHS) is to carry out a deep near Infra-Red survey and discover the most distant quasars in the Universe.

Page last updated: 22 December 2021 at 13:15