Astronomy

Our research covers a wide range from exoplanet searches, star formation, black holes, galaxies and large scale structure, to studies of the early universe and cosmology. We use a combination of theory, numerical simulation and observational astronomy to address key questions such as: What is the nature of dark matter and dark energy? How do galaxies and black holes form and evolve? What processes drive the formation of stars and planets? Are we alone in the universe?

Our exoplanets group has discovered over a hundred new planets using transits and microlensing. There is theoretical work on modelling substellar and planetary atmospheres, and planet formation within self-gravitating discs. We have developed models of star formation including energy feedback into the interstellar medium, and plan to extend this work to understand galaxy evolution. We are also studying how star formation occurs near supermassive black holes. With the Hubble Space Telescope we have performed wide field surveys of M31, tracing the history of a spiral galaxy similar to our own Milky Way. In the distant universe we have discovered the first quasar and the first galaxies at redshift z=7-12.

Our expertise in statistical analysis and cosmology gives us leadership in weak lensing surveys, high redshift astronomy and studies of the cosmic microwave background. We are the main data centre for wide field survey astronomy, and have released new data from UltraVISTA, and the first large-scale dark matter maps and galaxy group mass functions.

Last updated: 03 Dec 2013 at 14:40