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Cavendish Astrophysics


The Astrophysics Group carries out a wide range of research activities and projects, with particular emphasis on the fields of optical interferometry, the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, galaxy evolutionstar formation and exoplanets. There is an increasing theoretical component in the work of the AP Group, both in terms of fundamental physics (in application to relativity and cosmology), gravitational physics, and as modelling and simulation assume more prominent roles in the areas of cosmology and astrophysics. Our activities in these areas embrace the confrontation between observation and theory and the development of instrumentation and technology, such as cm-wave technology and big data/exascale astronomy, where the group is taking a leading role within the SKA telescope project.

For observational work we use a wide range of facilities worldwide in addition to those we have been involved in building. Locally we operate the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory a few miles outside Cambridge, where we have developed world-class telescopes including the Ryle Telescope, the Cambridge Optical Aperture Synthesis Telescope (COAST) and the Very Small Array. The VSA is a telescope for studying the CMB and was developed jointly with Jodrell Bank and the IAC Tenerife (where it is now located). The telescopes at Lord’s Bridge have now been joined by the Arcminute MicroKelvin Imager (AMI), which images the CMB at high resolution. This consists of a Small Array of ten 4-metre telescopes, and a Large Array composed of eight 13-metre dishes of the Ryle Telescope, which have been moved into a new configuration.

If you are interested in doing research in any of the areas described, find out a little more using the links on the left and then visit our Graduate Research Opportunities web pages.