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 Mitchel 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

  • For nearly a century, scientists have worked to unravel the mystery of dark matter—an elusive substance that spreads through the universe and likely makes up much of its mass, but has so far proven impossible to detect in experiments. Now, a team of researchers have used an innovative technique called “quantum squeezing” to dramatically speed up the search for one candidate for dark matter in the lab. 

  • Within our solar system are icy planetary bodies that do not orbit the Sun. JILA Fellow Ann Marie Madigan's group suggest that these detached objects have steadily nudged themselves out of solar orbit over millions of years.

  • While we've known for a while that black holes could rip stars apart, we don’t know why these events occur so frequently. Now, a model by JILA researchers explaining this discrepancy is shown to be promising after passing its first reality test.