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  • 17 Mar 2016 Prof Paul Crowther is the lead author of a study using the Hubble Space Telescope which has revealed that a star cluster in the LMC hosts 9 very massive stars - see press release and BBC news item
  • 30 Jul 2015 Dr Stuart Littlefair is a co-author of a study published in Nature in which aurorae has been identified in a nearby brown dwarf - listen to - interview with Dr Littlefair on BBC Radio 4 Today programme
  • 18 Sept 2014 Premiere of Sounds of the Cosmos, a joint initiative between the Department of Music and Physics/Astronomy, involving a live performance of Holst's Planets Suite interspersed with short astronomy talks by Prof Paul Crowther and original visuals took place during the 2014 Festival of the Mind in the Octagon Centre. This was recommissioned for the 2015 Doc/Fest at the Crucible Theatre, and 2015 Latitude Festival - see news item.
  • 7 Jul 2014 Prof Clive Tadhunter is the lead author of a study in Nature which reveals some supermassive black holes drive massive molecular outflows, modifying the evolution of their parent galaxies - see press release
  • 27 Nov 2013. Prof Paul Crowther is a co-author of a study in Nature which argues against an intermediate mass black hole in this system. Further details are provided in a press release from Gemini Observatory, an edited version of which is provided below.
  • 3 Jul 2013. Prof Vik Dhillon has been presented with the 2013 Royal Astronomical Society Jackson-Gwilt Medal for the Development and Operation of ULTRACAM at the National Astronomy Meeting. This Medal is awarded for the invention, improvement or development of astronomical instrumentation or techniques. Previous recipients are listed here. The full citation in the RAS announcement is available here
Jackson-Gwilt 2013 UCAM 2002

Left: Prof Dhillon receiving the Jackson-Gwilt Medal from RAS President Prof David Southwood at the National Astronomy Meeting in July 2013 (Credit: Solmaz Eradat Oskoui; University of St Andrews) Right: Prof Vik Dhillon (right) and Prof Tom Marsh (left) during ULTRACAM commissioning in La Palma in 2002

ULTRACAM is an ultra-fast, triple-beam CCD camera designed to study astrophysics on the fastest timescales. The instrument was built by a consortium involving the Universities of Sheffield (Prof Vik Dhillon), Warwick (Prof Tom Marsh) and the UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh. It saw first light on the 4.2-m William Herschel Telescope (WHT) on La Palma in 2002 (see above), and first light on the Visitor Focus of the 8.2m Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Paranal Observatory in Chile in 2005 (see ESO news release), becoming both the first instrument to make use of this VLT focus and the first UK instrument to be used at the VLT. In 2010, ULTRACAM was also commissioned on the 3.5m New Technology Telescope (NTT) at La Silla Observatory in Chile. More details are available here

The large quantity of observing time awarded to ULTRACAM (totalling one year of nights over the last decade) on some of the world's largest telescopes is testament to the competitiveness of the science performed with the instrument, which includes the study of white dwarfs, brown dwarfs, pulsars, black-hole/neutron-star X-ray binaries, gamma-ray bursts, extrasolar planets, cataclysmic variables, eclipsing binary stars, flare stars, ultra-compact binaries, asteroseismology and occultations by Solar System objects. Over 60 refereed publications in major journals have resulted from the use of ULTRACAM, including two papers in Science and one in Nature, with many more in preparation. A detailed description of the instrument is given by Dhillon et al. (2007)