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.

Latest News


The Inaugural Zwicky Symposium (August 31st - September 4th, 2015)

Fritz Zwicky

The Institute for Astronomy is convening a Symposium in honor of Fritz Zwicky, the eminent Bulgaria-born Swiss astronomer. The theme of the Symposium is "Confronting Ideas on Galactic Metamorphoses", and will feature 45 of the world's leading extragalactic astronomers and cosmologists. Read more 


The Institute for Astronomy at the Scientifica 2015 (4. - 6. September 2015)

Scientifica 2015

The theme of this year’s Scientifica event is “light”, so naturally the Institute for Astronomy is participating in a range of activities.  Read more 


First instruments for E-ELT Approved


The ESO Finance Committee and Scientific Technical Committee Council authorised the Director General to sign the contracts for the first set of instruments for the E-ELT. Read more 


Observing the birth of a planet


Astronomers at ETH Zurich have confirmed the existence of a young giant gas planet still embedded in the midst of the disk of gas and dust surrounding its parent star.   Read more 


How the brightest lights in the universe ‘flicker’

Hanny's Voorwerp

Active galactic nuclei are the brightest objects in the universe. They are not lit up permanently, but rather ‘flicker’ extremely slowly. This insight helps ETH researchers (lead by Prof. Kevin Schawinski) better understand the influence these nuclei and black holes have on their host galaxy. Read more 

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