About this community

The Institute of Astronomy (IoA) came into being in 1972 by the amalgamation of three institutions which had developed on the site. These were the Cambridge University Observatory which was established in 1823, the Solar Physics Observatory (1912) and the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy (1967).

The IoA is a department of the University of Cambridge and is engaged in teaching and research in the fields of theoretical and observational Astronomy. A wide class of theoretical problems are studied, ranging from models of quasars and of the evolution of the universe, through theories of the formation and evolution of galaxies and stars, X-ray sources and black holes.

Much observational work centres around the use by staff of large telescopes abroad and in space to study quasars, galaxies and the chemical constitution of stars. A programme on the velocities of stars is conducted using the 36-inch telescope in Cambridge. Instrumentation development is also an important area of activity, involving charge coupled devices and detector arrays for rapid recording of very faint light and the design and construction of novel spectrographs.

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Recent Submissions

  • Tracing the stellar component of low surface brightness Milky Way dwarf galaxies to their outskirts 

    Cicuéndez, L; Battaglia, G; Irwin, Michael John; Bermejo-Climent, JR; McMonigal, B; Bate, Nicholas Frazer; Lewis, GF et al. (2018-01-01)
  • Binary stars in the Galactic thick disc 

    Izzard, Robert George; Preece, Holly; Jofre, Paula; Halabi, Ghina M; Masseron, Thomas; Tout, Christopher Adam (2018-01)
    The combination of asteroseismologically-measured masses with abundances from detailed analyses of stellar atmospheres challenges our fundamental knowledge of stars and our ability to model them. Ancient red-giant stars ...
  • Gravitationally lensed quasars in Gaia: I. Resolving small-separation lenses 

    Lemon, Cameron A; Auger, Matthew W; McMahon, Richard Gerard; Koposov, Sergey E (Oxford University Press, 2017-12)
    Gaia’s exceptional resolution (FWHM ~ 0.1 arcsec) allows identification and cataloguing of the multiple images of gravitationally lensed quasars. We investigate a sample of 49 known lensed quasars in the Sloan Digital Sky ...
  • X-ray lags in PDS 456 revealed by Suzaku observations 

    Chiang, Chia-Ying; Cackett, EM; Zoghbi, A; Fabian, Andrew Christopher; Kara, E; Parker, ML; Reynolds, Christopher Stephen et al. (Oxford University Press, 2017-12-01)
    X-ray reverberation lags from the vicinity of supermassive black holes have been detected in almost 30 active galactic nuclei (AGNs). The soft lag, which is the time delay between the hard and soft X-ray light curves, is ...

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