Virtual Tour

HOME The Institute for Astronomy

Welcome to the Institute for Astronomy

The Institute for Astronomy is part of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics and Astronomy. We teach undergraduate and postgraduate students and do world-leading research in many areas of astronomy

Free Astronomy Talks, Tours & Events

During our Doors Open Days weekend, we held live events such as planetarium shows, astronomy talks, a tour of the lab, and more! If you want to watch the recordings of any of these events please click on the video playback icon

What are we studying?


Milky Way

The Institute for Astronomy is home to researchers working in a wide variety of topics using the most advanced telescopes and supercomputers in the world

Solar System

Comet 67p

Comets and asteroids are the leftover building blocks of our solar system. We study what they are made of to understand more about how planets form



Planets around other stars - exoplanets, are common throughout the Galaxy. We try to observe them directly and we develop theories about how they form and evolve

Black Holes


Active Galactic Nuclei occur when material falls onto huge black holes at the centres of galaxies. We observe them and make theories about how they work and their role in the evolution of the Universe



Galaxies like our Milky Way are vast structures containing hundreds of billions of stars. We use observations and computer simulations to understand how galaxies form and evolve


Deep Field

Our researchers investigate the nature and ultimate fate of the Universe. We study the bending of light by massive clusters of galaxies, and develop computer simulations of dark matter and dark energy


SIMBA Simulation Image

IfA researchers use some of the world's most powerful supercomputers to simulate complex astrophysical processes, such as the formation of stars and galaxies and the dynamics of our own Milky Way galaxy and its satellites


WAFU Survey Image

Large astronomical surveys have created vast archives of data. Our Wide Field Astronomy Unit manages enormous datasets to support research throughout world

Meet our Astronomers

KZ Area Icon

Family Friendly Activities

Get creative and explore with these fun at-home activities for all the family

Handy Solar System Video Frame
Handy Solar System

Go on a scavenger hunt and create your own scale model of the planets using only your own body and things around your house

Paper Planets
Make a paper planet

A crafting activity to make your own paper planet. Use your imagination to decorate your strange new world