The Centre for Astrophysics (CA) delivers internationally-cited astronomical and space sciences research with the highest possible rating of “well above world standard” in the Australian Research Council’s Excellence in Research for Australia framework. Staff and students collaborate with researchers at leading international institutions in the USA, Europe, and Asia to discover and characterise the many new worlds orbiting stars other than the Sun, and study the shared evolution of stars and their planetary systems and the implications for planetary habitability.
Research activity includes observational surveys using major international and national telescope facilities, numerical modelling of orbital dynamics using USQ’s High Performance Computing cluster, and instrumentation development in photonics. USQ operates Mt Kent Observatory, Queensland's only professional research observatory in astronomical and space sciences. Mt Kent Observatory provides a key support role for NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite using MINERVA-Australis, the southern hemisphere’s only dedicated robotic exoplanet observing facility. Mt Kent Observatory’s remote-access telescopes support the Shared Skies Partnership with a US university and its observatory to provide flexible all-sky observing for staff and students.
Mt Kent Observatory is also the site for a forthcoming stellar seismology node for the Stellar Observations Network Group, and a SMARTnet geostationary space debris monitoring telescope to be operated by the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Mt Kent Observatory will also provide ground-based support for the UK’s Twinkle Space Observatory launching in 2022. CA research is allied with USQ’s comprehensive online education and research training programs in astronomical and space sciences.