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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


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 


Public Talk by Sandra Faber

On Wednesday 25 May, the known astrophysicist Sandra Faber of the University of California at Santa Cruz will give a public lecture on "Cosmic Knowledge and the Long-term Strategy of the Human Race" on the Hönggerberg campus. Read more 


James Webb Space Telescope is coming together

The joint NASA/ESA/CSA project with contributions from ETH Zurich achieved a major milestone: The completion of the telescope assembly and the successful finish of the cryogenic test campaign of the science instruments. Read more 


Swiss Cosmology Days 2016

This year’s Swiss Cosmology Days took place on 11 and 12 February 2016 at the EPFL. The meetings are jointly organized by Professors Ruth Durrer, University of Geneva and Alexandre Refregier, ETH Zurich. Our aim is to promote communication and exchanges between Swiss Cosmologists and to specifically provides a platform for young PhD students and Postdocs to present their current research areas and results. Read more 


First Swiss Python Summit 2016

The first Swiss Python Summit took place on February 2016 at HSR University of Applied Sciences in Rapperswil. Joel Akeret, a software engineer in Professor Refregier's  Cosmology Research Group, was one of the initiators and organisers. Musicians, software developers and researchers presented their work and its relation to the programming language Python and over 114 attendees were able to learn more about Python, watch demonstrations on the latest tools and broaden their horizons.   Read more 

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