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Welcome to the Institute for Astronomy

Astronomy uses observations of the Universe to refine and develop our understanding of fundamental physics, and uses physics to understand the Universe and our place within it. We seek to understand the wonders of our Universe, to share them with the public, and to train the next generation of astronomers to carry on this mission.

Our work focuses on observations of distant and nearby galaxies; the formation and evolution of structures in the Universe; understanding the nature of dark energy and dark matter; and the formation of stars and planets. This wide array of exciting research topics is the basis for our vibrant and dynamic institute.


NEW - open Faculty Position:

Professor or Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) of Observational Galactic Astrophysics, closing date for applications is 31 October 2016.

Click here to see the job ad.

Latest News


"HST and Beyond" Report honoured with the 2017 Carl Sagan Memorial Award

The American Astronautical Society has awarded the 2017 Carl Sagan Memorial Award to the AURA "HST & Beyond Committee", of which Professor Simon Lilly was a member. Read more 


2017 Herschel Medal awarded to Simon Lilly

The Royal Astronomical Society (UK) has awarded the 2017 Herschel Medal to ETH professor Simon Lilly.  Read more 


Welcome to Scott Tremaine, IFA visitor from 16-17 January, 2017

Scott Tremaine of the Institute for Advanced Study will give a talk on Monday, 16 January at 16:30, titled "Statistical mechanics of self-gravitating systems" and on Tuesday, 17 January at 14:00, will lead a discussion on "Big astrophysical challenges." Read more 


Unexpected Giant Glowing Halos around Distant Quasars

An international team of astronomers led by members of the Institute for Astronomy has discovered glowing gas clouds surrounding distant quasars. Read more 


Approval of Start of Construction for the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument Project (DESI)

On 21. June 2016 the Office of Science Energy Systems Acquisition Advisory Board-equivalent for Critical Decision reviewed and approved the start of construction (CD-3) for the DESI project. The HEP-sponsored DESI project includes the design and fabrication of a new, next generation, Stage IV ground-based mid-scale dark energy spectroscopic survey instrument for probing the “dark sector” of the Universe in order to explore the mysteries of dark energy and dark matter.  Read more 

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