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 effects of high density on the X-ray spectrum reflected from accretion discs around black holes 

    Garcia, JA; Fabian, AC; Kallman, TR; Dauser, T; Parker, ML; McClintock, JE; Steiner, JF et al. (Oxford University Press, 2016-10-11)
    Current models of the spectrum of X-rays reflected from accretion discs around black holes and other compact objects are commonly calculated assuming that the density of the disc atmosphere is constant within several Thomson ...
  • A global look at X-ray time lags in Seyfert galaxies 

    Kara, E; Alston, WN; Fabian, AC; Cackett, EM; Uttley, P; Reynolds, CS; Zoghbi, A (Oxford University Press, 2016-10-11)
    X-ray reverberation, where light-travel time delays map out the compact geometry around the inner accretion flow in supermassive black holes, has been discovered in several of the brightest, most variable and well-known ...
  • A strongly truncated inner accretion disk in the Rapid Burster 

    Eijnden, JVD; Bagnoli, T; Degenaar, N; Lohfink, AM; Parker, ML; Zand, JJMIT; Fabian, AC (Oxford University Press, 2017-03-01)
    The neutron star (NS) low-mass X-ray binary (LMXB) the Rapid Burster (RB; MXB 1730-335) uniquely shows both Type I and Type II X-ray bursts. The origin of the latter is ill-understood but has been linked to magnetospheric ...
  • Gaia data release 1, the photometric data 

    Leeuwen, FV; Evans, DW; Angeli, FD; Jordi, C; Busso, G; Cacciari, C; Riello, M et al. (EDP Sciences, 2017-03)
    CONTEXT. This paper presents an overview of the photometric data that are part of the first Gaia data release. AIMS. The principles of the processing and the main characteristics of the Gaia photometric data are presented. ...

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