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Research at the Institute of Astronomy


Research topics

The activities of the Institute of Astronomy are related to the study of stellar astrophysics and stellar evolution in a broad context. The KU Leuven Instutite of Astronomy is an expert in the fields of Stellar variablity & Asteroseismology, Late phases of Stellar Evolution, Binary & Massive Stars, Exoplanets, and Astronomical Instrumentation.

Discover our research fields


Overview of current and past conferences, meetings and workshops at the Institute of Astronomy.


Research projects

The Institute of Astronomy participates, in both leading and supporting role, in several competitive national and international research projects (ERC, MSCA, FWO).


Software products

Software developed by the Institute of Astronomy.


PhD theses

Overview of PhD theses published at the Institute of Astronomy.



the 1.2m Mercator telescope

The Mercator Telescope is a 1.2m semi-robotic telescope located at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma Island (Canary Islands, Spain), operated by the staff of the Institute of Astronomy. The telescope is named after famous Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator (1512-1594).

The Mercator Telescope has a flexible operational scheme, which allows to optimise detailed monitoring campaigns on very different timescales. Thanks to our two world-class modern instruments HERMES and MAIA, the Mercator telescope provides high-quality data, complementary to international large ground-based facilities or satellites. Our efficient high-resolution optical spectrograph HERMES is our workhorse instrument. The three-armed MAIA camera is equipped with large, frame-transfer CCDs and is optimised for more specific rapid variability studies. MARVEL is a new 4-telescope array with a high-resolution radial velocity spectrograph for measuring thousands of exoplanet masses, orbits and host star activity for the TESS, PLATO and ARIEL exoplanet space missions.

to the telescope website