Big questions

We pursue several long-term observational and theoretical programs designed to answer some of the "big questions" in modern astrophysics and cosmology, including:

  • How and when do (clusters of) galaxies form?
  • When and where do massive black holes form in the universe?
  • What is dark energy and dark matter?
  • How small and dense are the smallest dark matter halos?
  • How do changes in environment due to the growth of large-scale structures affect the evolution of galaxies?
  • What can the distribution of galaxies, quasars and dark matter, on the largest scales, tell us about the early evolution of the universe?
  • How do distant, compact and clumpy galaxies in the past morph into today’s giant ellipticals and grand-design spirals?
  • What other particles existed in the early Universe, and what impacts did they have?
  • What are the masses of neutrinos, and why?
  • What transitions did the early Universe go through, and can we see evidence of them in e.g. gravitational waves, compact objects or topological defects?

We're frequently awarded time on major national and international optical and radio telescope facilities that have helped to revolutionise astrophysics research over the past decade.

Among the telescopes and instruments we use are the:

  • Anglo-Australian Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory
  • Australia Telescope National Facility
  • Keck telescopes in Hawaii
  • Hubble Space Telescope
  • twin 8.1-metre Gemini telescopes in Chile and Hawaii
  • ESO VLT in Chile
  • CTIO's Blanco 4.0-metre Dark Energy Camera in Chile.
  • The Fermi-LAT gamma-ray space telescope
  • The Planck satellite
  • Neutrino telescopes such as IceCube, Super-Kamiokande and ANTARES
  • Cherenkov telescopes (HESS, VERITAS, MAGIC)
  • Experiments at accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider (ATLAS, CMS, LHCb) and KEK (Belle II, T2K)
  • Axion experiments (ADMX, CAST, ALPS and others)
  • Direct searches for dark matter (XENON, LUX, CRESST, CDMS, DarkSide, PICO and others)

People and papers

Meet our people, and Search UQ's eSpace archive for our papers published in "astronomy and space sciences" (includes some papers from other UQ groups).

Available projects

See our astrophysics projects