Institute of Astronomy
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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(1987-02-26)The absorption lines found in the spectra of distant quasars provide a unique method of probing the physical conditions in the universe at early epochs. This thesis describes a study of the Lyman alpha forest absorption ...
(2016-01-01)Protoplanetary discs represent the mass reservoir for planet formation, and the chemicophysical mechanisms occurring during their lifetime sculpt the fundamental properties of the planets born within them. Historically, ...
The content of this thesis derives from three projects conducted during my Ph.D, focusing on both the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds. I deploy long period variables, especially Miras, as chronometers to study the ...
Supermassive black holes (SMBHs) at the centres of galaxies are known to actively accrete, forming so-called `active galactic nuclei' (AGN) or `quasars'. These AGN are believed to feed back energy into their host galaxies, ...