Peter Tuthill's Home Page


I am a Professor and ARC Future Fellow in the School of Physics and director of the Sydney Institute for Astronomy (SIfA) at the University of Sydney, Australia. My research interests have their origins in high-angular resolution imaging in Astronomy. I have led a number of projects exploring novel optical techniques for recovering images of celestial objects with extremely fine detail. The picture left shows the mounting a mask plate in the prime focus cage of the 10 meter Keck Telescope in Hawaii in order to perform an imaging experiment. In addition to working with telescopes in Hawaii, Chile and California, I also work with the SUSI interferometer at Narrabri, Australia. The core research themes being explored in my group lie in astronomical imaging, interferometry, photonics and advanced astronomical instrumentation. These technologies are giving humanity its first ever window into the intimate lives of stars: how they are born and how they die, and perhaps most exciting of all, whether they are surrounded by their own families of exoplanets.

Random Life Postcard:
At full stretch on the aptly-named Point Perpendicular.

Contact Information:

Media and Press:

Media and Press Page


  • Link to my RESUME (not updated regularly - along with the rest of this page)
  • External link to my PUBLICATIONS list from NASA ADS
  • Below are some examples from my astronomy imaging research:

Click HERE for the updated Wolf-Rayet 104 page!

Research Students

In the Astrophysical Imaging group, we have a wide variety of research projects available, at PhD and Honors level. Some have an emphasis on instrumentation and building cool new devices to conduct astronomical observations. Others are more focussed on the astrophysics of the systems we study: planets, star formation, stellar death, binaries, stellar winds and other exotic inhabitants of the galactic beastiary. Projects can also have a mix of instrumental work, observations and theoretical research into the astrophysics. Some of our work is conducted at the SUSI interferometer at Narrabri, northern NSW. However, it is also common for graduate students to travel offshore for observing to places like California (CHARA array), Hawaii (Keck telescopes) or Chile (VLT and Gemini telescopes).

We are a growing young group with heaps of great research opportunities at Hons, MSc and PhD levels.

Research Projects Page. (Note that these are examples of what is available: research is always fluid and many opportunities for interesting work are always coming up. Feel free to get in touch!)

The Mighty Wolf-Rayets!

WR 104
WR 104

Crazy though it looks - this thing actually exists! It is the first `Pinwheel Nebula', Wolf-Rayet 104, and it is whirling around once every 8 months right now in the constellation of Sagittarius. Intrigued? Take a look at the WR 104 Web page for explanations and animations

WR 98A
WR 98a

Another Pinwheel whirlygig in the night sky! This is another beautiful colliding-wind Wolf-Rayet binary system. Details on the WR 98A Web page

Bright Lights, Big City!

Not one star in a billion is a Wolf-Rayet. So where do you go looking for one? Here might be a nice start - the spectacular Quintuplet cluster near the center of our own galaxy. More news is just breaking now (click here)!

Stellar Babysnaps! (Stars in process of formation)

LkHa 101
LkHa 101

The well-known association between youth and doughnuts has been extended from people to stars. Check out the LkHa 101 Web page for an astronomically-sized appetite. Homer Simpson would be proud. (You can download a medium mpeg or small mpeg Movie of a nationally-aired newscast (Australia's SBS TV) from February 2001.

MWC 349A
MWC 349a

This is another disk around a forming star. Why does it look elongated? (hint: how would a doughnut look viewed from the side?) Check out the MWC 349A Web page

MWC 349a

Birth is a messy business. These images show a much earlier state when stars are just beginning to form as dense clumps embedded in big clouds of gas and dust. W3 IRS5 Web page

Even stars die, but they go out in a blaze of glory

MWC922: The Red Square
IRC +10216

If Symmetry is a sign of splendor, then the enigmatic and beautiful Red Square is among the jewels of the heavens.

IRC +10216
IRC +10216

Is it a lava flow? Just a Splat? No - it is a dying star, but when they go, they go down in flames. Dusty Red Giant IRC +10216 puts on the show.

Red Rectangle
Red Rectangle

The The Red Rectangle may be on the way out, but nobody could accuse it of not leaving a good-looking corpse ...

Dr Peter Tuthill
Astronomy Department
School of Physics, University of Sydney