JILA astrophysicists investigate a broad range of topics including the evolution of stars, the formation of planets, the dynamics of black holes, and even the fundamental properties that give rise to the Universe itself.
JILA’s astrophysics research is aided by data gathered by ground- and space-based instruments. Our researchers use this astronomical data to test and refine theoretical simulations of processes that occur in our solar system and throughout the Universe.

Researchers in Astrophysics

Photograph of Mitchell C. Begelman Mitchel C. Begelman
Focus: Astrophysical Gas Dynamics, Magnetohydrodynamics, Radiative Transfer Theory, Astrophysical Phenomena Role: Theorist
Photograph of Andrew Hamilton Andrew Hamilton
Focus: Black Holes, Galaxies, Cosmology Role: Theorist
Photograph of Ann-Marie Madigan Ann-Marie Madigan
Focus: Stellar and gas dynamics near massive black holes, Solar systems and exoplanets Role: Theorist
Photograph of Juri Toomre Juri Toomre
Focus: Structure & Evolution of Stars Role: Theorist
Photograph of Jason Dexter. Jason Dexter
Focus: Black hole accretion, radiative transfer, interferometry Role: Theorist

Recent Highlights in Astrophysics

Dead stars known as white dwarfs, have a mass like the Sun while being similar in size to Earth. They are common in our galaxy, as 97% of stars are white dwarfs. As stars reach the end of their lives, their cores collapse into the dense ball of a white dwarf, making our galaxy seem like an ethereal graveyard. 

Despite their prevalence,…

While it may not look like it, the interstellar space between stars is far from empty. Atoms, ions, molecules, and more reside in this ethereal environment known as the Interstellar Medium (ISM). The ISM has fascinated scientists for decades, as at least 200 unique molecules form in its cold, low-pressure environment. It’s a subject that ties…

Astronomers have long sought to understand the early universe, and thanks to the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), a critical piece of the puzzle has emerged. The telescope's infrared detecting “eyes” have spotted an array of small, red dots, identified as some of the earliest galaxies formed in the universe. 

This surprising discovery…