About The Institute

About the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute

The Jeremiah Horrocks institute is based in Preston as part of the University of Central Lancashire. Preston has a proud history of manufacturing and production including the cotton mills of the 1800’s and the production of aircraft in the early 1960’s. Preston was granted City Status by Her Magesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2002.

Jeremiah Horrocks, of which the institute gains its name from, was an english astronomer. Born in Liverpool (1618 – 1641), he was the first person to demonstrate that the Moon orbits the Earth in an elliptical orbit. But more notably, he predicted and was the only person to  observe the transit of Venus of 1639.

The University of Central Lancashire has developed and evolved over time to become the fifth largest university in the UK. Founded in 1828 as the Insititution for the Diffusion of Knowledge by Joseph Livesey’s Temperance Society. In 1886 the institute was expanded under the endowment of a local lawyer, Edmund Robert Harris (1804-1877). The institute was renamed to the Harris Institute and expanded to take on several new buildings. The institute was renamed in 1932 as the Harris Art College, which in 1952, was renamed again to become the Harris College. In 1973, the College was renamed to become Preston Polytechnic and then later Lancashire Polytechnic in 1984. In 1992, the full university status was awarded and the University of Central Lancashire came into existence.

The Jeremiah Horrocks Institute was established in 1993 as the Centre for Astrophysics. Renamed in 2004 as the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute (JHI) for Astrophysics and Super-Computing, the JHI grew in 2012 to become the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute for Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy. The JHI  carries out teaching in all of these areas, and pursues research into analytical acoustics, non associative algebras, model theory and its applications, theoretical and laboratory-based physics, and the astrophysics of planets, stars, galaxies and the Universe.

The research interests of  staff and research students within the Institute include:

  • The interaction between the Sun and the Earth.
  • Planet formation and exoplanets
  • Protostellar discs
  • Plasma loops on the Sun’s surface and the effects on the corona.
  • The interiors of stars examined via asteroseismology.
  • The interaction between stars in binary systems.
  • Late-type stars and the fate of stars like the Sun.
  • Galactic chemical evolution
  • Galaxy Formation
  • Super-luminal jets from micro-quasars, quasars and active galactic nuclei.
  • Large-scale structures in the Universe and the impact on its development.
  • Model Theory
  • Star Formation
  • Magnetic Materials
  • Nanophysics and Nanotechnology
  • Computational Physics
  • Soft Matter
  • Galaxy Dynamics

The Institute currently has 60 members, including 20 research students and 6 post-doctoral researchers. We are involved in a number of international collaborations, including being the leading member of the United Kingdom Southern African Large Telescope Consortium. This provides access to a world-class 10-m telescope along with preferential access to other observing facilities at the superbly located South African Astronomical Observatory. In 2007 we became partners in the National Cosmology Supercomputer (COSMOS). We host the UK hub for data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Staff are also involved in our world-leading Astronomy by Distance Learning programme, delivered under our Study Astronomy brand.

Today, Preston is home to 132,000 people including 35,000 students. Of which there are 300 undergraduates in full time education attending courses organised by staff and research members of the JHI.