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

  • The influence of planetary and stellar companions on debris discs 

    Yelverton, Ben
    Around 20% of main-sequence stars are known to host debris discs composed of planetesimals and the dust produced in their collisions. The structures of these discs can be constrained through spectral energy distribution ...
  • Galactic Archaeology with Gaia 

    Myeong, Gyuchul (2020-07-17)
    The halo of our Galaxy is believed to be mainly formed by the materials accreted/merged in the past, and so has "extragalactic" origin. Such formation process will leave dynamical traces imprinted in the halo, like stellar ...
  • Spectra and variability of accreting black holes 

    Buisson, Douglas John Keith
    In this thesis, we present various results concerning the structure of matter close to black holes when they are actively accreting. The two components (apart from the black hole itself) most relevant to this work are the ...
  • The Effect of Tidal Interactions On Hot Subdwarf B Stars and Their Pulsations 

    Preece, Holly (2020-02-22)
    Hot subdwarf B (sdB) stars are evolved core He-burning stars. The sdBs are formed by binary interactions on the red giant branch (RGB) which cause the stars to lose most of their H envelopes. Over half of all observed hot ...

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