BRI composite of the NGC1333 star forming region in Perseus.

Research themes

Hypervelocity impacts

Solar System objects collide violently due to their motion leading to high relative speeds. These are often at greater than a few kms-1. Impacts at such speeds are termed hypervelocity and cause unusual degrees of damage.

Near earth asteroids – physical properties and surface composition

Using Telescope Observations and Modelling.

Properties of the ice cores of comets

Using Ground and Space-Based Telescopes, and Visiting Spacecraft.


Stardust was a NASA space mission which collected cometary dust from comet 81P/Wild 2 and returned it to Earth for analysis. The mission also collected interplanetary and interstellar dust during its flight.

Massive star formation

The underlying physical processes involved in the formation of massive stars are still poorly defined and this presents a major hurdle in understanding galaxy formation and evolution.

Molecular hydrogen outflows from young stars

The formation of low and high mass stars is governed by accretion processes. However, these objects do not only accrete mass, but they also eject large amounts of material in jets, outflows and winds.

Star clusters as building blocks of our galaxy

We are determining ages, metallicities, reddening and distances for our recently obtained large, homogeneous and luminosity limited sample of star clusters in the Galactic Plane.

Study of the variability of young stars

Young forming stars vary in brightness on various timescales and amplitudes. Investigating these variations at different wavelengths does allow us to infer the physical reasons for the variability.

Theoretical astrophysics

Computer simulations of a range of astrophysical phenomena are performed in the Centre. Supersonic flow, shock waves, jets and turbulence are simulated and compared to observations. The computer algorithms are adapted to provide unique interpretations.