• Mauna Kea Summit

    Subaru, Keck and NASA Telescopes. Mauna Kea Summit, Island of Hawai’i, USA.

  • Siding Spring Observatory

    The Anglo Australian Telescope, Siding Spring Observatory, Coonabarabran, Warrumbungle National Park, NSW.

  • Cerro Paranal, Chile

    ESO's Very Large Telescope on Cerro Paranal, Chile


The Sydney Institute for Astronomy (SIfA) is a national and international leader in Astronomy and Astrophysics


Through cutting edge theoretical and observational research and the application of new technology for the next generation of instruments and telescopes. As well as being a research leader, SIfA is committed to excellence in postgraduate training and research-led undergraduate training.

SIfA scientists conduct research in many exciting frontline areas including exoplanets, asteroseismology, stellar and plasma astrophysics, black-hole binaries, supernovae, transient sources, the interstellar medium, and the Galactic Centre. We carry out detailed studies of the Local Group of galaxies, including the Milky Way, Andromeda and the Magellanic Clouds. At greater distances, we study active galaxies & quasars, clusters of galaxies, gravitational lensing, and cosmology. Our scientists perform supercomputer simulations of galaxy formation and evolution of large-scale structure.

SIfA has leadership or key involvement in several major surveys including the Kepler K2GAP survey, the Galactic Archaeology (GALAH) survey of a million stars, the Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey (S5), the SAMI Galaxy Survey, the OzDES galaxy survey, the FLASH survey of radio galaxies, the MAGPI survey of galaxies in the cosmic “middle-ages” and the VAST survey for radio transients on the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope.


“Our Galaxy’s spiral arms – similar to the ones in this photo of NGC 6744 – can push stars into new orbits. Credit: ESO”

SIfA is one of three institutions that make up the Australian Astronomical Optics (AAO) consortium. We run the Sydney Astrophotonic Instrumentation Labs (SAIL) and invent new technologies for astronomy and industry, develop cubesats for space launch, and build instruments for Australian and international telescopes, including the next generation of Extremely Large Telescopes.

SIfA is a host institution for the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centres of Excellence; All Sky Astrophysics in 3D (ASTRO-3D) and Dark Matter Particle Physics (DMPP). We are affiliated with the ARC Centre for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) and a member of the GROWTH telescope network based at Caltech. SIfA is also a host institution for the Danish-led Stellar Astrophysics Centre (SAC) and a member of the Stellar Oscillations Network Group (SONG).


In 2017, Australia joined the European Southern Observatory (ESO) as a partner. Since then, SIfA has been a major recipient of observing time with the Very Large Telescope. We obtain data from major international facilities on the ground and in space, and receive large allocations of observing time on the Anglo-Australian Telescope (optical) and the Australia Telescope National Facility (radio). Each year, SIfA astronomers are also awarded several million hours of supercomputer time.