Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy

Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy

Foundation: 2015 marked the 40th anniversary of the renaissance of observational astronomy and cosmology in the Department of Physics at Durham University. This activity has grown substantially over this period and we are now one of the largest astronomy groups in the UK and Europe, hosting world-class activities in observational extragalactic astronomy and cosmology, encompassing the formation and evolution of galaxies, clusters and large scale structure. To mark this anniversary and to recognise the scale of the observational research activity at Durham, in 2015 we founded the Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy (CEA). Together with the associated astronomy research centres focusing on theoretical and instrumentation development, the CEA provides a rich research environment to enhance productivity by fostering cross-disciplinary collaboration. As a result Durham is ranked Number One in Europe and fourth in the world for our research into Space Science (which covers research into astronomy and astrophysics) over the decade 1998-2008, according to the league table by Thomson Reuters ESI published in the Times.

April 2017 - Centre for Doctoral Training
We are pleased to announce the availability of up to 11 fully-funded four year doctoral studentships, as part of a new Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Data Intensive Science supported by STFC through the Industrial Strategy Talent Fund. The CDT is built around the research programmes of the Institute for Computational Cosmology (ICC) and the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology (IPPP) and also the Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy (CEA) and the Center for Advanced Instrumentation (CfAI). The studentships include a six month secondment with one of our industrial partners. See our Postgraduate opportunities page for more details.

In November 2016, the CEA moved into the brand new Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics building, designed by the world renowned Studio Daniel Libeskind. The new building now houses all three astronomy groups in the Department of Physics, including the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation and the Institute for Computational Cosmology, as well as the Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy.

The new Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics building.
The new Ogden Centre West building was opened by Lord Martin Rees on Friday March 10th 2017. The celebrations began on Thursday, 9 March, with a series of talks from leading figures including architect Daniel Libeskind, Lord Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal, and prominent astrophysicists Professors Hiranya Peiris, Mark Hannam and Carlos Frenk, Director of Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology (ICC). The opening celebrations also saw a free public showing of light and sound projection Worlds, Systems & Creations featuring stunning computer simulations of the Universe carried out at the ICC. On Friday 10 and Saturday 11 March, visitors were able to learn more about the Universe through a series of outreach activities including the chance to build a Universe with the Universe Creator, take a virtual reality "Tour of the Cosmos" and watch the 3-D movie Cosmic Origins; created by the ICC.

Mission:Observational astronomy and astrophysics is the fundamental foundation of our understanding of the formation and evolution of stars, galaxies, black holes and large-scale structure in the Universe. The Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy’s core mission is to extend society’s knowledge and understanding of the Universe we inhabit. We achieve this by supporting our internationally-leading staff to pursue innovative research programmes and to exploit these to train the next generation of world class early-stage researchers. The expertise of our staff encompasses the key observational techniques needed to develop and exploit the next generation of multi-wavelength surveys for galaxies, black holes and large-scale structure, and the detailed study of their properties.

Research programme: The CEA's research programme makes extensive use of the world's forefront observational facilities to test advanced theoretical models of galaxy and structure formation developed in Durham. We utilise the largest ground-based optical and near-infrared telescopes including those in Chile, Hawaii, Australia and the Canary Islands, and we have been particularly successful at obtaining time on the Hubble Space Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array. The multi-wavelength aspects of our programme focus on sub-millimetre and radio observations from ground-based facilities in Hawaii, Spain, Australia and the Americas and X-ray observations from space-based facilities such as the Chandra, Newton and NuSTAR X-ray satellites. Follow the Research Topics link to find out more about our research.

A key component of our research explores mass accretion onto black holes and is outlined both here (see Research Topics link on the left hand panel) and on our high-energy astrophysics web pages. We also closely interact with staff in the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation to aid the development and commissioning of instrumentation purpose-built for studies relevant to this area. In addition we pursue a number of common projects on galaxy formation, large-scale structure and the nature of the cosmic dark matter with theoretical research staff within the Institute for Computational Cosmology (ICC) at Durham.

The Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy is one of three major partners in the Durham Astronomy Research Cluster. We welcome requests from individuals with strong science backgrounds who wish to join us as Research Fellows, Postdoctoral Researchers or Graduate Students.

Our latest publications

2017 MNRAS, 468, 3663 (on-line)
Jin C., Done C., Ward M.
Super-Eddington QSO RX J0439.6−5311 – I. Origin of the soft X-ray excess and structure of the inner accretion flow

2017 MNRAS, 468, 3499 (on-line)
Deacon N. R., Magnier E. A., Best W. M. J., Liu M. C., Dupuy T. J., Chambers K. C., Draper P. W., Flewelling H., Metcalfe N., Tonry J. L., Wainscoat R. J., Waters C.
Identification of partially resolved binaries in Pan-STARRS 1 data

2017 MNRAS, 468, 3395 (on-line)
McAlpine S., Bower R. G., Harrison C. M., Crain R. A., Schaller M., Schaye J., Theuns T.
The link between galaxy and black hole growth in the eagle simulation

2017 MNRAS, 468, 3251 (on-line)
Dvornik A., Cacciato M., Kuijken K., Viola M., Hoekstra H., Nakajima R., van Uitert E., Brouwer M., Choi A., Erben T., Fenech Conti I., Farrow D. J., Herbonnet R., Heymans C., Hildebrandt H., Hopkins A. M., McFarland J., Norberg P., Schneider P., Sifón C., Valentijn E., Wang L.
A KiDS weak lensing analysis of assembly bias in GAMA galaxy groups

Contact Details

Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy,
Ogden Centre for Fundament Physics - West,
Department of Physics,
Durham University,
South Road,
Durham DH1 3LE
Tel: 44 (0)191 3343635