Belfast Telegraph

Belfast astronomers get £1.8m funds boost

Belfast scientists attempting to unlock the secrets of the universe have received a £1.8m funding boost.

Astronomers based in the Queen’s University Astrophysics Research Centre have been awarded the substantial grant by the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

The money will be used to buy some hardware, but mainly to fund post-doctoral level scientists to work on a range of world-leading projects.

Professor of Astrophysics, Stephen Smartt, said in these times of austerity the team at Queen’s were delighted to receive such a large grant, particularly as it is a competitive process that is peer-reviewed.

The funding is for research ranging from the search for new planets to probing the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy and enhancing our understanding of the sun.

Professor Smartt added: “We are looking for supernovae, which is the death of massive stars, a billion times brighter than the sun, so the money will help fund this. The big goal of the future is to see if any star hosts earth-type planets.”

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