Professor Stephen A Eales

Head of Astronomy Group

School of Physics and Astronomy

+44 (0)29 2087 6168
N/3.29, Queen's Buildings - North Building, 5 The Parade, Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 3AA
Available for postgraduate supervision

Two of my intellectual passions are astronomy and the communication of astronomy to the general public. The aims of my astronomical research are to understand the birth and history of galaxies and the general properties of the Universe, but I am also interested, although as an onlooker, in the origin, physics and chemistry of interstellar dust and in exoplanets and astrobiology. I have written one popular astronomy book (Origins, Springer 2006, 2010) and one textbook. I am currently at work on a book on the Herschel Space Observatory, which is aimed at a non-scientific audience.

2013-present: Head of Astronomy Group, Cardiff University

2004-present: Professor, Cardiff University

2000-2004:     Reader, Cardiff University

1998-2000:     Senior Lecturer, Cardiff University

1994-1998:     Lecturer, Cardiff University

Honours and awards

2015: Herschel Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society

Academic positions

990-1994:     Assistant Professor, University of Toronto

1988-1989:     AURA Research Fellow at the Space Telescope Science Institute

1986-1988:     Research Fellow at the Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii

1981-1985:     Ph.D. student at the Cavendish Laboratory (radio astronomy group) in Cambridge University

1978-1981:     BA at Cambridge University (Emmanuel College)

I will be on research leave in 2018-2019, but this year I taught two courses:

  • Synoptic Astrophysics in the second year
  • Galaxies and Galaxy Evolution in the third year

Research Interests

Galaxies are huge assemblies of stars, ranging in size from the dwarf galaxies attached to our galaxy, which contain only a few thousand stars, to the giant galaxies of one thousand billion stars in the centres of rich clusters. My main research goals are to understand the processes in these objects, how galaxies were formed in the first place, and how they have evolved over time. Because much of the energy from these systems is hidden by interstellar dust, much of my research is carried out with submillimetre telescopes that detect the energy from this dust, such as the Herschel Space Observatory and the Atacama Large Millimetre Array. A second research goal is to come up with new methods for measuring cosmological parameters, such as with the gravitationally lensed sources discovered by Herschel.

Current Research Projects

  • I am the co-leader of the largest Herschel survey of the extragalactic universe, the Herschel ATLAS. Although we have now released the data, my team is still working on several projects with this magnificent dataset.
  • I am using ALMA to study the gravitationally-lensed sources discovered with Herschel. My main aims are to to use the high resolution of ALMA, aided by the magnification provided by the lensing, to study the interstellar medium and star formation in galaxies in the process of formation.
  • With an international team of astronomers, I am currently carrying out the first high-resolution submillimetre survey (HASHTAG) of the Andromeda Galaxy with the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope. By combining the results of this new survey with the results of a survey of the galaxy with the Hubble Space Telescope, we aim to produce (a) the first high-resolution maps of the properties of dust in an external galaxy, (b) the first reliable estimates of the star-formation rate in a galaxy, plus a host of other projects.
  • The Herschel ATLAS detected dusty sources out to a redshift of 6. We plan to go to even high redshifts using a survey with a new millimetre camera, MUSCAT, currently being built by the Cardiff Astronomy Instrumentation Group for the Large Millimeter Telescope in Mexico.

Current supervision

Tom Bakx

Research student

Aristeidis Amvrosiadis

Research student