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Department of Physics and Astronomy

Galaxy in the night sky

Astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology

We are home to one of the UK’s largest groups of astronomy researchers at our Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics.

Our research programme includes observational and theoretical studies covering the whole of modern astrophysics, from the discovery of planets orbiting other stars, to the origin of the universe in the Big Bang. We are also world leaders in radio astronomy related technology development for ground and space-based instruments.

Our long heritage in astrophysical research includes playing a leading role in the discovery of quasars and gravitational lenses and finding the first double pulsar, the most stringent test of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

We have access to telescopes working across the electromagnetic spectrum, including those in Hawaii, Chile, the USA, the Canary Islands and Australia, together with space telescopes such as Planck, Spitzer, Chandra and Hubble.

Our world famous Jodrell Bank Observatory includes radio telescopes such as the iconic Lovell Telescope and runs the UK national radio astronomy facility, eMERLIN. This is a network of seven optical fibre-linked telescopes, including the Lovell dish, stretching 217 km across England from Jodrell Bank to Cambridge and is often linked to other radio telescopes across Europe, USA and Asia. JBCA hosts the UK regional centre for ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array.

Jodrell Bank also hosts the international headquarters of the Square Kilometre Array which, when built, will be the world’s largest telescope.