Local University Astronomy

Astronomy at Newcastle University

Artistic impression of a galaxy with lots of gas around it.

University astronomers have recently identified red quasars, a rare moment in the life of some of the universe’s most energetic objects. Credit: S. Munro

Today astronomers from Newcastle University are at the forefront of unravelling cosmic mysteries. They are involved in world leading projects like the Extremely Large Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope.

After reopening in 2015 the Physics department at Newcastle University is now booming! The Astronomy and Cosmology groups use powerful telescopes, super computers and mathematics to make discoveries about our Universe. They study stars, black holes, galaxies, and mysterious dark matter.

Newcastle University Physics department has come a long way since the days of Alexander Herschel. Back then it was mainly rich men who studied astronomy. These days the university has an incredibly diverse team from all over the world. Astronomy today is for everyone.

Did you know...

Dr. David Rosario is a senior lecturer at Newcastle University. He was one of the first scientists inthe world to use the James Webb Space Telescope.

Space Physics and Technology at Northumbria University

Space satellite (Solar Dynamics Observatory)

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory has been observing the Sun since 2010. Scientists from Northumbria university’s Solar and Space Research Physics Group are part of this project. Credit: NASA

Researchers at Northumbria University study the “space weather” caused by the Sun. They also investigate the atmospheres of other planets. They also develop technology for space satellites.

Northumbria University space scientists and engineers design and build new technology for satellites used for Earth observations and space weather forecasting. They have developed a high-speed, inter-satellite communications device that uses lasers instead of radio waves.

In 2026 Northumbria University will launch two small satellites into low Earth orbit, separated by a distance of 1000 kilometres, to demonstrate this new form of high-speed laser communications technology. 2026 will also see the opening of Northumbria University’s £50 million North East Space Skills and Technology Centre (NESST).

Did you know...

Laser communications can transmit data at a rate that is 1000 times faster than the radio transceivers currently used onboard satellites. This new technology is set to transform global communications, bringing high-speed internet to space.

Dark Matter at Durham University

Patchy image showing brighter and darker regions.

This is the most detailed map of the distribution of dark matter in the Universe. The bright areas represent its highest concentrations - which is where galaxies form! Image credit: N Jeffrey / Dark Energy Collaboration.

Scientists from the Astronomy and Cosmology departments at Durham University are helping to develop the latest generation of telescopes. They are also using high-powered supercomputers to show how the Universe evolved.

Durham University researchers are part of a global quest to explore dark matter and dark energy in space. These mysterious substances make up the 95% of the Universe that we still don’t understand! Their scientists are also exploring how black holes shape the Universe.

Did you know...

Durham University optics are on the powerful James Webb Space Telescope, orbit the Mars Trace Gas Orbiter, and journey to the Moon on Lunar Trailblazer.