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. The Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers 2018 list puts Durham's astronomers and cosmologists first in the UK, second in Europe and sixth in the world for the quality and influence of their research in space science.

Postgraduate Opportunity
The research group of Dr. Anna McLeod is seeking a motivated graduate student to work on resolved stellar populations in nearby galaxies at the Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy at Durham University, starting October 2023. The position is fully funded for the duration of the PhD, and home/international tuition fees are covered. The project involves observations from the VLT, HST, and JWST to study resolved young stars and star clusters in nearby galaxies, and connect these to the gaseous regions they have formed in. A full description of the project can be found here. Prior experience with spectroscopic observations, in particular involving integral field unit instruments, are desired but not a requisite. Experience in Python coding is required.
Applications should include a CV, a statement of motivation, a combined research and motivation statement, and two letters of reference. Applications should be submitted using the online application form which can be found at https://studyatdurham.microsoftcrmportals.com/en-US/, and useful guidance on how to fill it can be found at https://www.durham.ac.uk/departments/academic/physics/postgraduate-study/research-degrees/how-to-apply/.
Review of applications will commence the week of May 15th. Please send inquiries about the position to anna.mcleod@durham.ac.uk.
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.

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. A key component of our research explores mass accretion onto black holes. Follow the Research Topics link to find out more about our research.

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

2023 Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 523, 1729 (on-line)
Best P, Kondapally R, Williams W, Cochrane R, Duncan K, Hale C, Haskell P, Malek K, McCheyne I, Smith D, Wang L, Botteon A, Bonato M, Bondi M, Rivera G, Gao F, Gurkan G, Hardcastle M, Jarvis M, Mingo B, Miraghaei H, Morabito L, Nisbet D, Prandoni I, Rottgering H, Sabater J, Shimwell T, Tasse C, van Weeren R
The LOFAR Two-metre Sky Survey: Deep Fields data release 1. V. Survey description, source classifications, and host galaxy properties

2023 Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 522, 5013 (on-line)
Bose S, Deason A
The progenitor galaxies of stellar haloes as 'failed' Milky Ways

2023 Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 521, 6368 (on-line)
Reina-Campos M, Trujillo-Gomez S, Pfeffer J, Sills A, Deason A, Crain R, Kruijssen J
Constraining the shape of dark matter haloes with globular clusters and diffuse stellar light in the E-MOSAICS simulations

2023 Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 522, 1118 (on-line)
Allingham J, Jauzac M, Lagattuta D, Mahler G, Boehm C, Lewis G, Eckert D, Edge A, Ettori S
Joint HST, VLT/MUSE, and XMM-Newton observations to constrain the mass distribution of the two strong lensing galaxy clusters: MACS J0242.5-2132 and MACS J0949.8+1708