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Departmental Teaching Prize

The 2015/16 Departmental Teaching Prize has been awarded to Raman Prinja. The award will be presented at the Gala Dinner on Friday 28th October. More...

Prof Hiranya Peiris - Oskar Klein Centre

Congratulations to Prof Hiranya Peiris on her recent appointment to Director of the prestigious Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmoparticle Physics in Stockholm, starting in October 2016.
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Astrophysics Head of Group

After five years in the role, Prof Mike Barlow has handed over the Headship of the Astrophysics Group to Prof Serena Viti as of 01st September 2016.
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STFC Science Board

Ofer Lahav (Astrophysics Group, P&A Department) has been appointed to the STFC Science Board, with effect from 1 August 2016, for 3 years. More...

News

Departmental Teaching Prize

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The 2015/16 Departmental Teaching Prize has been awarded to Raman Prinja. The award will be presented at the Gala Dinner on Friday 28th October.

Prof Hiranya Peiris - Oskar Klein Centre

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Congratulations to Prof Hiranya Peiris on her recent appointment to Director of the prestigious Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmoparticle Physics in Stockholm, starting in October 2016.

Astrophysics Head of Group

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After five years in the role, Prof Mike Barlow has handed over the Headship of the Astrophysics Group to Prof Serena Viti as of 01st September 2016.

STFC Science Board

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Ofer Lahav (Astrophysics Group, P&A Department) has been appointed to the STFC Science Board, with effect from 1 August 2016, for 3 years.

50 Things You Should Know About Space

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50 Things You Should Know about Space written by Prof Raman Prinja

What exactly goes on at the International Space Station and why does the Earth spin? Just how big is our galaxy and how did the Moon form? From constellations to space shuttles, Space is as endlessly fascinating as the universe itself.

Cosmic Web

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Group photo

About 30 UCL and French astronomers gathered on 9 & 10 June 2016 at the Royal Astronomical Society in London to discuss the “Cosmic Web”, the complex large scale structure in the universe. The meeting was sponsored by the French Embassy, within UCL’s Grand Challenges programme. The meeting was organised by Aurelien Benoit-Levy (IAP), Ofer Lahav (UCL) and others. 

UCL-led Twinkle exoplanet mission completes design milestone

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Twinkle illustration

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.

World-first film of the Universe

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LSST

The Science and Technology Facilities Council confirmed the UK's participation in the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) this week, an international project that UCL astronomers have been involved in since 2013. 

Dusty doughnut around massive black hole spied for first time

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Dusty doughnut - Serena Viti

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

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Image 1

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.

Two UCL astrophysicists win Royal Astronomical Society awards

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RAS Awards

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

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15Oct15.jpg

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

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Concept view of the ARIEL spacecraft. Credit: ESA

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

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Professor Bruce Swinyard

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

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Polarisation of the Cosmic Microwave Background

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

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WilliamGlencross.jpg

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

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NGC 1398 Galaxy

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

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First Neutrino Detection

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)

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LSST 2014

Image: A combination of two renderings, showing the telescope on the summit. March 2011 (Credit LSST Corporation)

Dr Steve Fossey- wins UCL Communication and Culture Award

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Dr Steve Fossy

Dr Steve Fossey has been awarded the UCL Communication and Culture Award for Media Communicator of the Year (news story).

UCL open letter to Paul Dacre, Editor of the Daily Mail

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Hiranya on Newsnight

Professor David Price, Vice-Provost for Research at UCL, has written an open letter to Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, to raise concerns about an article commenting on the race and gender of UCL academics appearing on Newsnight. The contents of this letter are reproduced in full below.

Dr Hiranya Peiris discusses 'Gravity waves seen for the first time. What does it prove?' on BBC Two Newsnight

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Professor David Walker wins IOP Optics and Photonics Prize

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Prof. David Walker

Professor David Walker has been awarded the Institute of Physics (IOP)
Optics and Photonics Prize for 2014.

Supernova in Messier 82 discovered by UCL students

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The supernova in M 82

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

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Dr Benjamin Joachimi

Five members of the Department have been commended by the Royal Astronomical Society in their 2014 awards:

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