A team of astronomers, including UCL's Prof. Serena Viti imaged for the first time one of the doughnuts of dust long thought to encircle some supermassive black holes. These supermassive black holes are believed to be obscured by a doughnut-shaped structure of dust and gas, called a “torus.” However because the centres of these active galaxies are so distant, a dusty torus has never been seen – until now! More...
You never know what hidden treasures can be uncovered in the archives. And this was certainly the case at Carnegie Observatories’ collection when research for an article led to the unexpected discovery of a 1917 glass plate showing the first-ever evidence of a planetary system beyond our own Sun. More...
Two UCL astrophysicists, Dr Andrew Pontzen and the late Professor Bruce Swinyard (UCL Physics & Astronomy), have been recognised in this year’s Royal Astronomical Society awards. The announcements were made at the Ordinary Meeting of the society held on Friday 8 January 2016. The awards will be made formally at the Society's 2016 National Astronomy Meeting in June. More...
Dusty doughnut around massive black hole spied for first time
Publication date: 25 April 2016
A team of astronomers, including UCL's Prof. Serena Viti imaged for the first time one of the doughnuts of dust long thought to encircle some supermassive black holes. These supermassive black holes are believed to be obscured by a doughnut-shaped structure of dust and gas, called a “torus.” However because the centres of these active galaxies are so distant, a dusty torus has never been seen – until now!
Hidden in the archives: Finding the first-ever evidence of exoplanetary system
Publication date: 18 April 2016
Two UCL astrophysicists win Royal Astronomical Society awards
Publication date: 9 March 2016
Two UCL astrophysicists, Dr Andrew Pontzen and the late Professor Bruce Swinyard (UCL Physics & Astronomy), have been recognised in this year’s Royal Astronomical Society awards. The announcements were made at the Ordinary Meeting of the society held on Friday 8 January 2016. The awards will be made formally at the Society's 2016 National Astronomy Meeting in June.
Astronomers find hottest and most massive touching double star
Publication date: 27 October 2015
A team of astronomers including UCL's Ian Howarth have found the hottest and most
massive double star with components so close that they touch each other.
ARIEL mission to reveal 'Brave New Worlds' among exoplanets
Publication date: 17 July 2015
An ambitious European mission is being planned to answer fundamental questions about how planetary systems form and evolve. ARIEL will investigate the atmospheres of several hundreds planets orbiting distant stars. It is one of three candidate missions selected last month by the European Space Agency (ESA) for its next medium class science mission, due for launch in 2026. The ARIEL mission concept has been developed by a consortium of more than 50 institutes from 12 countries, including UK, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal. The mission will be presented today at the Pathways 2015 conference in Bern, Switzerland, by ARIEL’s Principal Investigator, Prof Giovanna Tinetti of UCL.
In memoriam: Professor Bruce Swinyard
Publication date: 22 May 2015
May 22nd 2015
It is with great sadness that we must report the death today of Professor Bruce Swinyard. Bruce joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy's Astrophysics Group in the summer of 2010, as a joint appointment between UCL and STFC's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, spending half his time at Gower Street and half at RAL's Space Science and Technology Department, where he was Leader of the Astronomy Group.
A brand new sky from Planck
Publication date: 3 March 2015
New maps from ESA's Planck satellite, forming the second major data release (February 2015) from the project, have unveiled the polarised light from the early Universe across the entire sky, revealing that the first stars formed much later than previously thought.
IN MEMORIAM: DR BILL GLENCROSS
Publication date: 10 February 2015
It is with great regret that we must announce the death of Dr William (Bill) M. Glencross.
Bill was a long-standing and well-respected member of the Astrophysics group and worked in the Department from 1963 to 2002. Bill’s research focussed on infrared photometery and mapping, initially achieved by flying telescopes to the edge of space using helium balloons and later through producing, modelling and testing ground and satellite based instruments. Bill loved to teach and served as the Astronomy Tutor twice.
Dark Energy Survey kicks off second season cataloguing deep space
Publication date: 21 August 2014
The Dark Energy Survey, which has just begun its second year of observations, is gathering data about one of the most puzzling phenomena to be discovered in the past century: that the universe is not only expanding, but is doing so at an ever faster rate. Some as yet unknown force dubbed ‘dark energy’ is driving this acceleration.
UCL cosmologists weigh into the debate about neutrino mass
Publication date: 11 August 2014
The standard model of particle physics needs to be extended: it predicts that neutrinos have zero mass, but this does not fit with experimental data. Recent work has suggested an unexpectedly high mass for the neutrino, but UCL cosmologists say this is wrong. They argue that a low mass is more consistent with the observed properties of the universe. The Dark Energy Survey (which UCL is also involved in) will provide data that could resolve this debate in the next few years.
All the Sky – All the Time: UK astronomers debate involvement in the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST)
Publication date: 24 June 2014
Dr Steve Fossey- wins UCL Communication and Culture Award
Publication date: 4 April 2014
UCL open letter to Paul Dacre, Editor of the Daily Mail
Publication date: 20 March 2014
Dr Hiranya Peiris discusses 'Gravity waves seen for the first time. What does it prove?' on BBC Two Newsnight
Publication date: 20 March 2014
Professor David Walker wins IOP Optics and Photonics Prize
Publication date: 10 March 2014
Supernova in Messier 82 discovered by UCL students
Publication date: 23 January 2014
Students and staff at UCL’s teaching observatory, the University of London Observatory, have spotted one of the closest supernova to Earth in recent decades. At 19:20 GMT on 21 January, a team of students – Ben Cooke, Tom Wright, Matthew Wilde and Guy Pollack – assisted by Dr Steve Fossey, spotted the exploding star in nearby galaxy Messier 82 (the Cigar Galaxy).
Royal Astronomical Society honours Astrophysics staff
Publication date: 13 January 2014
ALMA spots supernova dust factory 160,000 light years away
Publication date: 9 January 2014
Physics World Top 10 Breakthrough of the Year awarded to Planck space telescope
Publication date: 7 January 2014
A Physics World Top 10 Breakthrough of the Year has been awarded to the scientists working on the European Space Agency’s Planck space telescope "To scientists working on the European Space Agency's Planck space telescope for making the most precise measurement ever of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation."
Astronomers discover first noble gas molecule in space
Publication date: 13 December 2013
Dr Hiranya Peiris selected as one of ten "rising stars" by Astronomy Magazine
Publication date: 5 November 2013
Raman Prinja commended for children's science book
Publication date: 4 October 2013
Prof Raman Prinja has been awarded
the School Library Association Information Book Award (age 7-12
category). His book, Science Crazy, co-authored with Steve
Parker, explores science, with facts and activities covering physics,
chemistry, astronomy and biology. The award was decided by a public vote
of children around the country.
UK scientists begin 5 year quest to solve cosmic detective puzzle
Publication date: 12 September 2013
Listen: Scientists aim to lift the veil on so called dark matter and energy
Publication date: 4 September 2013
Dr Chamkaur Ghag & Prof Ofer Lahav (UCL Physics and Astronomy)
discuss the concept that Physics can only account for 5% of the 'stuff'
that makes up the universe.
Dr Chamkaur Ghag
Prof Ofer Lahav
Festival of the Planets comes to London
Publication date: 23 August 2013