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Centre for astrophysics and planetary science

BRI composite of the NGC1333 star forming region in Perseus.

Research themes

The group conducts research in a wide range of areas from impacts on planetary bodies, spacecraft shielding, evolution of the solar system, comets and asteroid studies, star and planet formation, structure and dynamics of the of the Milky Way, studies of astronomical jets and outflows on all scales, and cosmology. We use a a mix of experimentation, observation and numerical simulations in all of these areas.

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. Impacts at such speeds are termed hypervelocity and cause unusual degrees of damage.

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.

Asteroid 21 Lutetia is a large, heavily cratered main-belt asteroid (located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter), made of metal rich rock. It has an irregular shape with estimated dimensions of 132 × 101 × 76 kilometers, and a mass of approximately 1.700 × 1018 kilograms.

Near earth asteroids – physical properties and surface composition

Using Telescope Observations and Modelling.

Stardust

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.

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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.

outflows

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.

Properties of the icy cores of comets

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

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.