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

  • Gaia16apd – a link between fast and slowly declining type I superluminous supernovae 

    Kangas, T; Blagorodnova, N; Mattila, S; Lundqvist, P; Fraser, M; Burgaz, U; Cappellaro, E et al. (Oxford University Press, 2017-07-01)
    We present ultraviolet (UV), optical and infrared photometry and optical spectroscopy of the type Ic superluminous supernova (SLSN) Gaia16apd (=SN 2016eay), covering its evolution from 26 d before the g-band peak to 234.1 ...
  • Complexity in the light curves and spectra of slow-evolving superluminous supernovae 

    Inserra, C; Nicholl, M; Chen, T-W; Jerkstrand, A; Smartt, SJ; Krühler, T; Anderson, JP et al. (Oxford University Press, 2017-07)
    A small group of the newly discovered superluminous supernovae show broad and slow-evolving light curves. Here we present extensive observational data for the slow-evolving superluminous supernova LSQ14an, which brings ...
  • Tidal heating and stellar irradiation of Hot Jupiters 

    Jermyn, AS; Tout, CA; Ogilvie, GI (Oxford University Press, 2017-08-01)
    We study the interaction between stellar irradiation and tidal heating in gaseous planets with short orbital periods. The intentionally simplified atmospheric model we employ makes the problem analytically tractable and ...
  • Is the Sun a Magnet? 

    Gough, DO (Springer, 2017-05-01)
    It has been argued (Gough and McIntyre in Nature394, 755, 1998) that the only way for the radiative interior of the Sun to be rotating uniformly in the face of the differentially rotating convection zone is for it to be ...

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