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Science at the AAO

The Australian Astronomical Observatory is home to an extremely dynamic and diverse research group.  AAO astronomers collaborate with astronomers across the globe and are recognized leaders in many areas of research. The AAO's instrument scientists produce some of the world's most innovative and ground-breaking new instrument technologies.

AAO Research Staff and their Interests 

To contact a staff member via e-mail, append "@aao.gov.au" to the E-mail name listed (except those with external e-mail addresses, where you should replace -@- with @).

Research Staff
E-mail History Papers* Preprints*
Research interests 
Amanda Bauer abauer
PhD 2008; UT Austin
ADS astro-ph Star formation, environmental dependence, and the mass assembly history of galaxies
Sarah Brough sb
PhD 2005; Liverpool John Moores
ADS astro-ph Galaxy evolution, brightest cluster galaxies, galaxy environmental dependence and mass assembly
Michelle Cluver mcluver PhD 2008; Cape Town ADS astro-ph Galaxy formation and evolution, star formation, galaxy groups, fuelling of star formation
Warrick Couch (Director) wcouch PhD 1982; ANU ADS astro-ph Galaxies, Dark Energy
Gayandhi De Silva
PhD 2006; ANU
ADS astro-ph Stellar abundances, galactic archeology, near field cosmology
Simon Ellis sce PhD 2003; Birmingham ADS astro-ph High redshift Galaxy clusters
Andy Green agreen PhD 2011; Swinburne ADS astro-ph Galaxy formation, star formation in galaxies, ISM, integral field spectroscopy
Andrew Hopkins (Head of AAT Science) ahopkins PhD 1998; Sydney ADS astro-ph Galaxy evolution, the star formation history of the Universe.
Michael Ireland
PhD 2006; Sydney
ADS astro-ph Extra-solar Planets, Astrophotonics, AGB stars, Optical Stellar Interferometry, Pre-Main Sequence Stars, Young Associations, High-Contrast Imaging
Iraklis Konstantopoulos iraklis PhD 2009; University College London ADS astro-ph Extragalactic star formation, evolution of galaxies in compact groups
Kyler Kuehn kkuehn PhD 2007; UC Irvine ADS astro-ph Instrumentation, particle astrophysics, and cosmology
Maritza Lara-Lopez mlopez
PhD 2010; La Laguna, Tenerife (Spain)
ADS astro-ph Galaxy evolution, environmental dependence, mass/metallicity relations
Jon Lawrence
(Head of Instrument Science)
jl PhD 2000; Macquarie ADS astro-ph Fibre spectroscopy,  astronomical instrumentation
Chris Lidman clidman PhD 1994; ANU ADS astro-ph Observational Cosmology and Galaxy Clusters
Angel Lopez-Sanchez alopez
PhD 2007; La Laguna, Tenerife (Spain)
ADS astro-ph Galaxy evolution, dwarf galaxies, star formation, galactic nebulae, massive stars, starbursts, multiwavelength astronomy
Sarah Martell smartell PhD 2008; Santa Cruz ADS astro-ph Stellar abundances, globular cluster formation and evolution, Galactic Archeology
Simon O'Toole otoole PhD 2003; Sydney ADS astro-ph Extra-solar planets, hot evolved stars, stellar pulsations
Matt Owers mowers PhD 2008; UNSW ADS astro-ph Galaxy clusters, cluster interactions, galaxy evolution
Quentin Parker
qap -@-
PhD 1986; St Andrews ADS astro-ph Wide-field astronomy, Planetary Nebulae, UKST H-alpha survey, 6dF
Stuart Ryder sdr PhD 1993; ANU/RSAA ADS astro-ph Star formation in galaxies, galaxy dynamics and chemical evolution, supernovae
Will Saunders will PhD 1990; QMW, London ADS astro-ph Large-scale structure & cosmology
Andrew Sheinis asheinis PhD Santa Cruz/Lick ADS AGN galaxy interaction, Supermassive black holes, QSO Hosts, Astronomical Instrumentation and novel techniques
Fred Watson fgw PhD 1987; Edinburgh/ROE ADS astro-ph Fibre spectroscopy
Dan Zucker
daniel.zucker -@-
PhD 2001; University of Washington ADS astro-ph Stellar streams, dwarf galaxies, near-field cosmology
Associate Staff
Rob Sharp rgs -@- mso.anu.edu.au PhD 2002; Cambridge (UK) ADS astro-ph Astronomical Instrumentation, star formation
Jeremy Bailey j.bailey -@-
PhD 1978; Sussex/RGO ADS astro-ph Bioastronomy, planetary science, active & superwind galaxies, Spectroastrometry
Russell Cannon rdc PhD 1968; Cambridge ADS astro-ph Globular clusters, carbon stars, radio galaxies
Scott Croom scroom -@-
PhD 1997; Durham ADS astro-ph Quasars, large-scale structure, cosmology, gravitational lensing
Peter Gillingham pg DSc; UNSW
ADS astro-ph Astronomical instrumentation
Chris Tinney cgt -@-
PhD 1992; Caltech ADS astro-ph Exoplanets, Brown dwarfs, Astrometry, High resolution spectroscopy, Tunable Imaging, Applications of Differential Imaging
* These requests will select papers by author surname and first initial, so peruse the returned publication lists with care as these names are not necessarily unique.

Major AAT/UKST Observing Programs

  • The Anglo-Australian Planet Search - the Southern Hemisphere's most precise planet search program
  • RAVE - using the kinematics and abundances of stars to probe the history of our Galaxy
  • WiggleZ - a redshift survey of 400,000 star-forming galaxies to detect baryonic acoustic oscillations in galaxy clustering, and measure the equation of state of dark energy
  • GAMA - a redshift survey of up to 400,000 galaxies to study structure on scales of 1 kpc to 1 Mpc. This includes galaxy clusters, groups, mergers and coarse measurements of galaxy structure (i.e., bulges and discs). It is on these scales where baryons play a critical role in the galaxy formation and subsequent evolutionary processes and where our understanding of structure in the Universe breaks down.
  • Completed:
  • The 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey - redshifts for more than 200,000 galaxies acquired with the AAT
  • The 2dF Quasar Redshift survey - redshifts for 35,000 quasars acquired with the AAT
  • The UKST H-alpha Survey - observing the entire Galactic Plane in a hydrogen emission line
  • The 6dF Galaxy Survey - redshifts for more than 120,000 infrared-selected galaxies in the local Universe acquired with the UKST
  • Research Tools

    • GalaxyCount - A Java calculator of galaxy counts and variances in magnitude-limited wide-field surveys

    Technology Research Programmes at AAO

    • Lasers in Space - an exploration of the possibilities of using lasers for satellite communications

    Student Research at the AAO

    The AAO maintains a vigorous program of joint student supervision of PhD and Honours students with University departments, as well as offering Vacation Student Fellowships to undergraduate students from both Australia and the United Kingdom.

    Talks, Meetings and Conferences

    Research Papers & Results

    Recent science highlights can be found at the AAO What's New and Press Release pages, as well as in the AAO Newsletter and the AAO Annual Report.

    Publications resulting from AAO facilities and publications by AAO staff are surveyed annually for the period 1 June- 30 July. Publications are categorised as AAT ('A' or arising from on AAT data), UKST ('S' or arising from UKST data)), or AAO ('O' or by AAO staff using other data).

    These survey results are analysed each year in the AAO Annual Report - see Chapter 3 of the most recent edition for detailed examination of trends in the AAO's scientific output. Below we summarise the total number of publications, and the nationality of the first author of publications, by year.

    AAO Publication History ChartAAO Publication History Chart

    The following searchable PDF files summarise the surveys - first there is a single file with all compiled publications since July 1995, and then there are files for each annual reporting year.

    For a list of publications involving AAO staff since the most recent survey above, try using the following search on the NASA ADS Abstract Service (though note that some papers by authors with common names similar to those of AAO staff will also be returned).

    With the rise to almost universal use of the astro-ph preprint server, AAO no longer distributes electronic or paper copies of preprints.  Lists of preprints and publications by AAO staff dating from prior to 2002 can be found at the old AAO Preprints page.

    Research Links

  • The AAO Observational Techniques Workshop
  • Astrobiology Australasia
  • Australian Gemini Office
  • United Kingdom Gemini Office
  • Hubble Deep Field - South Observations with the AAT
  • AAO Figaro pages
  • AAO DRAMA pages