Institute of Astronomy

Press Releases

Fifth Gaia-ESO Data Release: the Catalogue with the Astrophysical Parameters for ~115,000 Stars

Published on 24/05/2022 

ESO has now released the very major results from the Gaia-ESO survey. This 10+-year effort has been co-led by Cambridge (Gerry Gilmore) and Arcetri (Sofia Randich), with substantial support from a dedicated IoA team and CASU. The Cambridge Project Office included Clare Worley, Anna Hourihane and Anais Gonneau, with additional support in IoA over the years from Jim Lewis, Sergey Kosopov, Mike Irwin, Eduardo Gonzalez Solares, Maria Bergemann, Andy Casey, Keith Hawkins, Karin Lind, Paula Jofre, Thomas Masseron, George Kordopatis, and David Murphy.

Professor Nikku Madhusudhan awarded ERC Consolidator Grant

Published on 24/03/2022 

 

Professor Nikku Madhusudhan, Professor of Astrophysics and Exoplanetary Science at the Institute of Astronomy, has been awarded a prestigious Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council.

Planetary bodies observed in habitable zone of dead star

Published on 14/02/2022 

A ring of planetary debris studded with moon-sized structures has been observed orbiting close to a white dwarf star, hinting at a nearby planet in the “habitable zone” where water and thus life could exist, according to a new study.

White dwarfs are glowing embers of stars that have burned through all their hydrogen fuel. Nearly all stars, including the Sun, will eventually become white dwarfs, but very little is known about their planetary systems.

Cambridge launches new Leverhulme Centre for Life in the Universe

Published on 18/01/2022 

With a £10 million grant awarded by the Leverhulme Trust, the University of Cambridge is to establish a new research centre dedicated to exploring the nature and extent of life in the Universe.

 

The 2022 Royal Astronomical Society Gold Medal in Astronomy is awarded to Professor George Efstathiou.

Published on 14/01/2022 

The 2022 RAS Gold Medal in Astronomy is awarded to Professor George Efstathiou.

Astronomers find remains of ancient globular cluster

Published on 05/01/2022 

An international team of researchers (including astrophysicists from the University of Cambridge) have discovered a the remains of a unique globular cluster which appears to be a relic from the very early Universe. 

Unveiling substructures at the edge of the Galaxy

Published on 14/12/2021 

An international team of astronomers, including researchers at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, has revealed a new map of the Milky Way’s outer disc using data from the Gaia space misison. The findings have been published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Astronomers detect gas released in a giant planetary collision

Published on 20/10/2021 

An international team of astronomers from MIT, the National University of Ireland at Galway, University of Cambridge, and elsewhere have discovered evidence of a giant impact that occurred in a nearby star system, just 95 light years from Earth. The study represents the first detection of a planetary atmosphere that was vaporised by a giant impact.

New class of habitable exoplanets represent a big step forward in the search for life

Published on 26/08/2021 

A new class of exoplanet very different to our own, but which could support life, has been identified by astronomers, which could greatly accelerate the search for life outside our Solar System.

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.