I work on infrared astronomy and cosmology.
I was Head of the Astrophysics Group at Imperial College in London from 1993 to 2007.
From 2007-12 I continued to teach part-time in the Blackett Lab, Imperial. I was President
of the Royal Astronomical Society 2006-8. I chaired the UK Ground-Based Facilities Review in 2009, and I was Chair of the European Southern Observatory's Observation Planning Committee in 2011.
Some of my recent public lectures can be found at lectures
A list of my articles and reviews can be found here
A list of my selected scientific papers is available here
I live in Southwold, Suffolk, and write a monthly column in the Southwold Organ about astronomy, tides, coastal erosion and climate change called Stars'n Tides
My books are:
1981, 2nd edition;
1981, Japanese edition;
1996, 3rd edition;
2004, 4th edition;
2008, Russian edition.
Cosmic Landscape 1979, Oxford University Press
1988, Japanese edition, Chijn Shokan;
1991, Hungarian edition, ('Kozmikus Tajker') Gondolat.
Cosmological Distance Ladder 1985, W.H.Freeman & Company
Fire and Ice, the Nuclear Winter 1985, Longman
1985, Japanese edition, Iwanami Shoten;
1986, Spanish edition, ('El Invierno Nuclear') Ariel;
1993, Bulgarian edition.
Our Universe, an armchair guide 1990, Longmans
1992, German edition, 'Das Universum der Sterne', Spektrum;
1992, Italian edition, 'L'Universo', Zanichelli;
2007, Turkish edition, 'Yildizlar.in Altinda', Tubitak Populer Bilim Kitiplar
Ripples in the Cosmos 1993, W.H.Freeman/Spectrum
1994, German edition, 'Das Flustern des Urknalls', Spektrum;
1995, Japanese edition, Springer Tokyo.
Nine Numbers of the Cosmos 1999, Oxford University Press
1999, Portuguese edition, 'Os Nove Numeros do Cosmos', Temas e Debates;
2001, Spanish edition, 'Los Nueve Numeros del Cosmos', Editorial Complutense;
2002, Italian edition, 'I Nove Numeri del Cosmo', Editori Riuniti.
Night Vision, autumn 2012, Cambridge University Press
My current scientific projects include:
The SPITZER SWIRE Survey
The SWIRE consortium (PI Carol Lonsdale, Deputy PI Michael Rowan-Robinson) consisted of astronomers from IPAC, UCSD, Imperial, Sussex, IAC Tenerife, Padova and other institutions in the US and Europe, and has carried out a Legacy Survey with SPITZER of 49 sq deg of sky.
Our 2008 paper on photometric redshifts in the SWIRE Survey can be found here
A paper on the revised SWIRE Photometric Redshift Catalogue (submitted July 2012) can be found here
, the revised Catalogue here
, the readme file describing this here
, and the optical and infrared templates used to make the Catalogue here
MODELS FOR SOURCE-COUNTS AND BACKGROUND AT INFRARED AND SUBMILLIMETRE WAVELENGTHS
A simple and versatile parameterized approach to the star formation history allows a quantitative investigation of the constraints from far infrared and submillimetre counts and background intensity measurements (Rowan-Robinson 2001).
The models include four spectral components: infrared cirrus (emission from interstellar dust), an M82-like starburst, an Arp220-like starburst and an AGN dust torus. The 60 mu luminosity function is determined for each chosen rate of evolution using the PSCz redshift data for 15000 galaxies. The proportions of each spectral type as a function of 60 mu luminosity are chosen for consistency with IRAS and SCUBA colour-luminosity relations, and with the fraction of AGN as a function of luminosity found in 12 mu samples. The
luminosity function for each component at any wavelength can then be calculated from the assumed spectral energy distributions.
With assumptions about the optical seds corresponding to each component and, for the AGN component, an assumed dependence of the dust covering factor on luminosity, the optical and near infrared counts can
be accurately modelled. High and low mass stars are treated separately, since the former will trace the rate of star formation, while the latter trace the cumulative integral of the star formation rate.
A good fit to the observed counts at 0.44, 2.2, 15, 60, 90, 175 and 850 mu,
and to the integrated background spectrum, can be found with pure luminosity evolution in all 3 cosmological models investigated: Omega_o = 1, Omega_o = 0.3 (Lambda = 0), and Omega_o = 0.3, Lambda = 0.7.
Full details of predicted counts, background and redshift distributions for wavelengths from 0.44 to 1250 mu at models
A revised version of this counts model is described in my 2009 paper
Radiative transfer models for infrared and submm seds
Details of models for starbursts, described in Efstathiou, Rowan-Robinson and Siebenmorgen (2000, MN 313,734), can be found at rad.transf.models
Our paper on cirrus models for local and high redshift cirrus models can be found here, and details of the models can be found at cirrus models
Our analysis of the Spoon silicate v. PAH strength diagram in terms of starburst and AGN dust torus models ( Rowan-Robinson and Efstathiou, 2009, MN 399, 615) can be found here
I was a co-proposer of ESA's Far Infrared Space Telescope, which became the HERSCHEL
mission, launched by ESA on May 14th 2009.
The IC group led one of the Data Processing and Science Analysis Software Centres for the SPIRE instrument on Herschel.
HERSCHEL is the first submm observatory, offering full access to the 80-700 micron
waveband, with a 3.5m telescope operating at L2. SPIRE, the Spectral and Photometric Imaging REceiver, has 3 bolometer arrays and a Fourier Transform Spectrometer covering the wavelength range 200-700 microns.
I am a member of the HerMES
survey team, which has surveyed over 100 sq deg of extragalactic sky with SPIRE. I led one of the early HerMES papers, on the spectral energy distributions of a sample of 78 extragalactic sources in the Lockman field, finding unexpectedly large amounts of cold dust in some of the galaxies, and identifying a new class of very young starbursts (Rowan-Robinson et al 2010
I was a co-proposer of SAMBA, which became the HFI instrument on ESA's PLANCK
satellite project launched by the European
The IC group has been developing data analysis algorithms and software for Planck-HFI. Planck has made high resolution maps of the microwave sky, enabling many cosmological parameter to be determined to high precision. The objectives of the data analysis being carried out by the Imperial group are to calibrate the signals from the detectors, use these signals to reconstruct the pointing of the satellite as a function of time, and to remove glitches due to cosmic-ray hits on the detectors.
With Dave Clements, Andrew Jaffe and members of the Planck team I carried out an analysis of
nearby galaxies in the Planck Early Release Compact Source Catalogue (ERCSC), described in one of the first set of Planck papers (Ade et al 2011
MODELS FOR INFRARED EMISSION FROM ZODIACAL DUST - ASTEROIDAL, COMETARY AND INTERSTELLAR DUST
I first worked on models for the zodiacal dust cloud with my group at QueenMary College, London, during the period 1988-93. Our goal was to model all the known components of the infrared emission mapped by the IRAS satellite during its 1983 survey of the 10-100 micron sky. Our final paper (Jones M.H.and Rowan-Robinson M., 1993, MNRAS 264, 237) included a model for the asteroidal dust bands at 1.5-3.1 au and a model for the extended fan distribution at r < 1.5 au, but not any contribution due to cometary dust.
During the summer of 2006 I became aware from press interviews that Brian May was interested in the idea of returning to the thesis on zodiacal dust that he had been pursuing at Imperial College in the early 1970s when his rock band Queen became a more pressing interest. I suggested to him that he come and talk to me about this if he was seriously interested. He sent me a write-up of what he had done in 1970-74 and we met up to talk about it. My view was that he had been very close to being able to submit his PhD in 1974. To submit in 2007 he would have to review everything that had been done on zodiacal dust in the interim and review how the anomalies that he had found in his 1970s work could be tested in the future. Within a year he had submitted his thesis and this was awarded in 2008.
The most interesting idea in the thesis was the suggestion that anomalies in the velocities of the zodiacal dust that Brian had measured in the1970s could be due to interstellar dust flowing through the inner solar system. We decided to see whether a paper could be developed from this. Initially we hoped that a new ground-based programme of measurements of the kinematics of interstellar dust could be developed, in collaboration with other groups. I also started to play with the 1993 models to see whether an interstellar dust component could be added. I knew from work by several groups that the strong contribution of cometary dust had to be incorporated, especially beyond the asteroid belt.
Our final model was published by Monthly Notices of the RAS in January 2013.The fan extends to 1.5 au and is supplied by asteroidal dust and dust from Jupiter-family comets. These tend to have inclinations < 30 degrees, aphelia ranging from 5 to 30 au, and have their origin in the Kuiper belt. Interstellar dust is modelled as a uniform density, isotropic cloud of dust extending from the sun out to 30 au. 70% of the dust crossing 1.5 au is due to cometary dust, 22% due to asteroidal dust, and 8% due to interstellar dust. However only 1% of the zodiacal dust arriving at the earth would be of interstellar origin. We fit our model both to the IRAS data and to data from the DIRBE instrument on the COBE mission (1989-90). The latter is important because DIRBE had an absolute calibration and this is crucial in any search for an isotropic component. Sample fits to the IRAS (left and centre) and COBE (right) data are shown.