Welcome to the Waterloo Centre for Astrophysics

    ...where the Universe is our laboratory.

 The Waterloo Centre for Astrophysics (WCA) looks to the cosmos to solve the greatest mysteries of the universe. Here, world-class researchers and students come together in an atmosphere of curiosity, creativity and collaboration; exploring our cosmic origin to truly understand the physical processes at work in the Universe. From black holes to cosmology, we aim to understand what lies beyond the Earth. The possibilities for new discovery are limitless.


The Gustav Bakos Observatory houses a twelve-inch telescope, which is located on the roof of the Physics building. The observatory, in operation since 1967, has been used for research on and teaching about visual binary stars.


  1. June 7, 2021Modeling the mysteries of the universe, closer to home
    map of world

    At first glance, astrophysics may not seem to have much in common with tracking and predicting the spread of a global virus. But to Professor Niayesh Afshordi, the link was clear – even early last year as our collective reaction to COVID-19 played out in real time.

  2. May 17, 2021DESI launches five-year quest to understand the universe
    baryon acoustic oscillation

    The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), an international collaboration aiming to unravel the mystery of dark energy and fill in our 3D map of the universe, officially began on May 17.

    There is a pattern printed on the fabric of spacetime.

    Each piece of the pattern looks, in two dimensions, like a circle surrounded by a ring – as if some cosmic hand had thrown pebbles into the dense early universe, creating splash-points and ripples – then suddenly froze the pond.

  3. Apr. 9, 2021The origin of water on planets in our universe
    Mike Fich

    Water is essential for life as we know it – water makes up around 70% of the human body, covers about 70% of the planet Earth, has been found in the far reaches of our universe, and is at the centre of our search for habitable planets around other stars.

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  1. July 28, 2021Astro Seminar Series - VIA ZOOM
    Nicole Drakos

    Dr. Nicole Drakos is an NSERC postdoctoral fellow in the Computational Astrophysics Research Group at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She obtained her PhD from the University of Waterloo in 2019, where she studied dark matter halo evolution. Her main research interests are using theoretical and computational models of structure formation to study cosmology and galaxy evolution.

  2. Sep. 15, 2021Astro Seminar Series - VIA ZOOM
    Tamara Davis

    Professor Tamara Davis is an astrophysicist who studies the elusive "dark energy" that's accelerating the universe. She's measured time-dilation in distant supernovae, helped make one of the largest maps of the distribution of galaxies in the universe, and is now measuring how supermassive black holes have grown over the last 12 billion years.

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