Institute for Astronomy

Milky Way & Local Group

Local Group research at the IfA

UGC 12158
The Milky Way-like galaxy UGC 12158

The Miky Way and its nearest galactic neighbours are unparalleled in terms of the quantity and quality of detailed information that they provide about the formation of stellar systems and the nature of dark matter.

IfA researchers are leading a variety of programs to study the stellar content and dynamics of the Milky Way and its satellite companions, as well as other nearby galaxies lying within a few million parsecs.  Research topics include searching for signatures of hierarchical assembly in galaxy peripheries, mapping the distribution of dark matter in galaxies, studying the internal stellar dynamics of globular clusters, measuring the star formation history of the Milky Way using white dwarfs and studies of stellar variability.

Observational work exploits data from Gaia,  the Hubble Space Telescope and various wide-field surveys conducted with large telescopes.  Theoretical work involves running large N-body simulations on supercomputers to model the evolution of globular clusters and galaxies.