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

  • Close entrainment of massive molecular gas flows by radio bubbles in the central galaxy of Abell 1795 

    Russell, Helen Rebecca; McNamara, B; Fabian, A; Nulsen, P; Combes, F; Edge, A; Hogan, M et al. (Oxford Univeristy Press, 2017-09-07)
    We present new ALMA observations tracing the morphology and velocity structure of the molecular gas in the central galaxy of the cluster Abell 1795. The molecular gas lies in two filaments that extend 5—7 kpc to the N and ...
  • A simple way to improve AGN feedback prescription in SPH simulations 

    Zubovas, K; Bourne, Martin Albert; Nayakshin, S (Oxford University Press, 2016-03-21)
    Active galactic nuclei (AGN) feedback is an important ingredient in galaxy evolution, however its treatment in numerical simulations is necessarily approximate, requiring subgrid prescriptions due to the dynamical range ...
  • Simulating feedback from nuclear clusters: the impact of multiple sources 

    Bourne, Martin Albert; Power, C (Oxford University Press, 2016-01-01)
    Nuclear star clusters (NCs) are found to exist in the centres of many galaxies and appear to follow scaling relations similar to those of supermassive black holes. Previous analytical work has suggested that such relations ...
  • Resolving flows around black holes: Numerical technique and applications 

    Curtis, M; Sijacki, Debora (Oxford University Press, 2015-10-20)
    Black holes are believed to be one of the key ingredients of galaxy formation models, but it has been notoriously challenging to simulate them due to the very complex physics and large dynamical range of spatial scales ...

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