Laboratory of Astrophysics


The Laboratory of Astrophysics (LASTRO) at the EPFL covers a wide range of complementary expertise, with a focus on advanced research and high-quality education of the next generation of astronomers.

With a presence at two locations, the EPFL campus in Lausanne and the Astronomical Observatory at Sauverny near Geneva, the research team at LASTRO takes a leading role in various international consortiums and projects focused on extragalactic astrophysics and observational cosmology.

Juhan Aru, Mitali Banerjee, and Richard I. Anderson (credit: EPFL; Anderson photo: Mahdi Zamani, ESO)

Two Eccellenza Grants and a Professorial Fellowship to SB scientists

Jean-Paul Kneib, who initiated and led in part the eBOSS segment of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. © 2020 EPFL / Alain Herzog

Astrophysicists fill gaps in the history of the Universe

— An international consortium of scientists has analyzed, as part of a vast program of cosmological surveys, several million galaxies and quasars, thus retracing a more continuous history of the Universe and offering a better understanding of the mechanisms of its expansion. The latest 6 year-long survey called eBOSS was initiated, and led in part, by EPFL astrophysicist Jean-Paul Kneib.

© 2020 EPFL

EPFL joins the giant radio telescope SKA for the Swiss community

— The Square Kilometre Array, or SKA, will be the biggest radio telescope ever built. Thanks to this ambitious tool, some of the universe’s greatest mysteries will be resolved. EPFL became a member of the SKA Organisation (SKAO) beginning of April 2020 and will coordinate the contributions to this project on behalf of the Swiss academic community.

© Hubble, ESA & NASA

Cosmic magnifying glasses show faster expanding universe

— New measurements using gravitational lensing, an innovative method that EPFL researchers have been working on for many years, suggest the universe is expanding faster than previously thought.

DESI’s focal plate with its 5,000 robot “eyes” (credit: National Optical Astronomy Observatory)

5,000 “eyes” will track the expansion of the Universe

— The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), is a US-led project that will measure the accelerated expansion of the Universe in order to reveal the nature of dark energy. The DESI project, which has received significant contributions from EPFL’s astrophysicists, is entering its final testing phase, gearing up to charter the skies.

Michel Mayor a reçu le titre de docteur honoris causa de l'EPFL en 2002. A gauche: Stefan Catsicas.© EPFL / Jean-Philippe Daulte

This Nobel Prize makes EPFL's astrophysicists proud

— In 2002, EPFL awarded the distinction of doctor honoris causa to Michel Mayor, an astronomer at the University of Geneva, for discovering the first exoplanet. This past Tuesday, Mayor, along with colleague Didier Quéloz and the American scientist James Peebles, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. This news was very well-received on the EPFL campus