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About us

The Astronomy group is part of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Southampton, which is currently ranked 4th in the UK for Physics and is a world top-30 Physics department. We are part of the larger Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, which brings together fundamental research with one of the UK's largest and strongest Computer Science departments. We are also part of the new STAG (Southampton Theory, Astronomy and Gravity) Research Centre, which combines researchers across Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics, and SEPnet, a consortium of nine partner universities in the South East Region of England for advancing and protecting Physics.

Research at Southampton Astronomy covers a broad range of astrophysical phenomena:

Compact Objects

We are a leading group in the UK researching the growth and evolution of compact objects. This includes white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes across their full mass scale. We use multiwavelength observations to examine the relationship between the phenomena of accretion and outflows. This is bringing us closer to understanding how some of the most extreme objects in the cosmos form, grow and change with time, and how they impact their surrounding galaxies.

Space Environment Physics

As part of the Astronomy group, the Space Environment Physics group study the interaction between the Sun and the magnetospheres and upper atmospheres of several planets in the Solar System - from large-scale dynamics of magnetospheres down to the behaviour of the aurora on the finest scales.

Time Domain Astronomy

We are leading large projects across the optical, infrared, X-ray and radio wavelengths studying the time-domain universe. This includes research that spans a wide range of astrophysical events: from supernovae and other cosmic explosions that last weeks and months, to variability from accretion onto black holes on the timescale of milliseconds. We aim to discover new transient events in the sky and to use their characteristic variations to gain a deeper understanding of extreme physics and the life cycles of stars, and to measure the expansion rate of the universe.

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Southampton Astronomy In The News

Data from dead satellite advances understanding of superheated cosmic plasmas (20/11/17)

Cosmic explosion challenges astronomers' knowledge of exploding stars (17/11/17)

Data from dead satellite gives galactic insight (15/11/17)

Astronomers discover new type of cosmic explosion (14/11/17)

Jupiter study reveals independent pulses of X-ray auroras (06/11/17)

The independent pulse of Jupiter's X-ray auroras (31/10/17)

Scientists penetrate mystery of raging black hole beams (30/10/17)

Astronomers explore mystery of powerful black hole 'Death Star' st yle beams (30/10/17)

Gravitational waves produced by colliding neutron stars detected for the first time (16/10/17)

Scientists detect first gravitational waves produced by colliding neutron stars (16/10/17)

Royal Society International Exchanges scheme forges new collaboration with Argentina (13/10/17)

Cassini's end marks new beginnings for Saturn (13/09/17)

Southampton astronomer has asteroid named in his honour for ongoing scientific legacy (23/06/17)

Scientist works with NASA on world's first neutron star mission (09/06/17)

Star discovered in closest known orbit around likely black hole (20/03/17)

Discover PlayDoh planets and a live planetarium at Science and Engineering Day 2017 (17/03/17)

Physics and Astronomy scientists take their research to Parliament (13/03/17)

Physics and Astronomy commended for increasing the representation of women in academia (10/02/17)

Southampton researchers use high energy X-rays to peer beneath the obscuring skin of growing black holes (24/01/17)