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An ultimate speed limit for cooling

How cold can it get? That depends how long you are willing to wait. The third law of thermodynamics, conjectured in 1912 by the Nobel laureate Walter Nernst, states that it takes an infinite time to cool a system to absolute zero – the coldest temperature possible.

Galaxy A2744_YD4

Ancient stardust sheds light on the first stars

A huge mass of glowing stardust in a galaxy seen shortly after the Universe’s formation has been detected by a UCL-led team of astronomers, providing new insights into the birth and explosive deaths of the very first stars. More...

Disc of rocky debris

First evidence of rocky planet formation in Tatooine system

Evidence of planetary debris surrounding a double sun, ‘Tatooine-like’ system has been found for the first time by a UCL-led team of researchers.Published on the 27th Feb 2017 in Nature Astronomy and funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council and the European Research Council, the study reports on the remains of shattered asteroids orbiting a double sun consisting of a white dwarf and a brown dwarf roughly 1000 light-years away in a system called SDSS 1557. More...

Panasas aisle (Credit: STFC)

UCL secures STFC funding to teach next generation of data-science experts

After a very competitive selection process, UCL has been chosen by STFC to host the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Data Intensive Science (DIS) and Technologies, the first CDT funded by STFC.

UCL-led Twinkle exoplanet mission completes design milestone

27 June 2016

Twinkle, a mission led by UCL scientists that will unravel the story of planets in our galaxy, has completed a key design milestone.  The results of the “payload study” demonstrate that Twinkle’s instruments will be able to achieve the mission’s science objectives.

Twinkle illustration

Twinkle’s will analyse light transmitted through, and emitted or reflected by, the atmospheres of exoplanets in order to give radical insights into worlds orbiting distant stars.

“This is a big step for Twinkle,” said Dr Giorgio Savini (UCL Physics and Astronomy), and Twinkle’s Payload Lead, who is responsible for the study. “We can now demonstrate that Twinkle will have the agility, stability and sensitivity required to pick out this light, analyse the spectra and allow us to extract information on the gases present.”

Twinkle Exploded View

The Twinkle spacecraft will be constructed by the world-leading small satellite company, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), and will carry a payload weighing less than 100kg that includes the scientific instrumentation, electronics, a cooling system and a fine guidance system.

The whole payload package is about the size of a water boiler and will be built by a consortium of UK companies and institutions.  The UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory is responsible for the overall mechanical design.

Page last modified on 27 jun 16 13:48