Oxford Astrophysics has recently attracted a generous donation from the Hintze Family Charitable Foundation to set up the Oxford Hintze Centre for Astrophysical Surveys (OHCAS). The Centre is led by Professor Roger Davies. The aim is to establish a key role in addressing the major problems of modern physics/astrophysics by augmenting our participation in the major international surveys (current and future) that are designed to address them.

The Centre runs a series of public Hintze Lectures, along with colloquia and seminars.

The OHCAS has ongoing participation in integral field spectroscopy surveys (with VLT-KMOS, AAO-SAMI and HETDEX), the VISTA surveys, radio surveys with LOFAR, JVLA, MeerKAT and ASKAP on the pathway to the SKA, and the Euclid mission. The donation has secured participation in both the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-IV) and in the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.

The centre is pursuing three strands of research, detailed below.

The Dark Universe

Led by Professor Matt Jarvis and Hintze Fellows Dr Peter Hatfield and Dr Imogen Whittam and Hintze Scholar Madalina Tudorache.

We only know what ~4% of the Universe is made of! We are at the forefront of some of the largest projects that will be used to tackle this problem into the next decade. Using wide and deep surveys at optical, near-infrared and radio wavelengths (VIDEO, JVLA, HST-CANDELS, LSST, Euclid, SKA) we can trace the large scale structure of the Universe and begin to determine the equation of state of Dark Energy, how the visible matter traces the Dark Matter, and to investigate whether General Relativity works on the largest cosmological scales.

Galaxy Evolution

Led by Professor Martin Bureau and Professor Roger Davies with Hintze Fellow Dr Chiara Spiniello and Hintze Scholar Peter Watson.

Our research is aimed at understanding the assembly and evolution of galaxies, as a function of environment and mass, from the earliest times until the present day. We study nearby galaxies using surveys such as MaNGA and SAMI to make detailed models of their luminous and dark components. The deepest surveys from space- and ground-based facilities (e.g. VLT-KMOS, HST) are used to measure the properties of galaxies 5-10 billion years ago when star formation was at its peak, and the first clusters of galaxies were forming.

The Transient Universe

Led by Professor Rob Fender with Hintze Scholar Amy Knight.

Many of the new surveys at all wavelengths are pushing new frontiers in time-domain astronomy, with facilities capable of surveying vast sky areas to relatively deep levels on second timescales. Our group studies the statistics and the astrophysics of transients, and carries out detailed simulations of these events. We take advantage of key projects in time-domain astronomy such as LOFAR Transients, MeerKAT-MeerLICHT, SKA, and LSST.