Personal page for John Hearnshaw

John HEARNSHAW Home Page

How to contact me:

Professor John Hearnshaw
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8020
New Zealand
Phone: +64 (3) 364-2533, or Extension: 6533 (Room 804)
Fax: +64 (3) 364-2469

Study leave (sabbatical) 2009

In 2009 I was on study leave from late December 08 until the end of August 2009. I spent March to July at the Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia in Granada, Spain, and August in Latin America (including the IAU General Assembly in Rio).

Scientific interests:

My curriculum vitae can be downloaded here.

And here's a publications list in reverse chonological order.

PhD research project: Earth-mass planets orbiting alpha Centauri

I am looking for an excellent student to do a PhD on the search for Earth-mass planets orbiting our nearest star, alpha Centauri. This is a very exciting and topical research program. It is observationally intensive for the next two years, and needs a student with an aptitude for data analysis. In addition the project will involve numerical simulations, perfecting instrumental techniques and careful error analysis, and a good understanding of orbital dynamics. The project will be in collaboration with astronomers in Texas and Australia and make use of the Hercules spectrograph at Mt John.

Please talk to me if you are interested.

John Hearnshaw (November 2009)

Cosmic Diary and the International year of Astronomy

2009 was the International Year of Astronomy (IYA). See the IYA website at for details. I was one of about two dozen bloggers selected from astronomers from around the world who are participating in one of the cornerstone IYA projects, namely the Cosmic Diary. Each blogger writes an article about once a week. You can read my blogs at and you can read what the other Cosmic Diary bloggers wrote at .

Read my latest scholarly book!

Astronomical spectrographs and their history

John Hearnshaw, published 12 February 2009 by Cambridge University Press.

ISBN-13: 9780521882576

See CUP website:

And read my latest popular book too!

Cosmic Essays

A collection of 53 popular essays written to mark the International Year of Astronomy 2009

See flyer and ordering information at: Cosmic Essays flyer

Mt John Observatory

I have been director of Mt John Observatory for a number of years, but am relinquishing this position on 1 December 2008, when Dr Karen Pollard takes over.

Mt John Observatory from the air. Photo courtesy of Fraser Gunn, Tekapo, April 2007

IAU Comm. 46 Program Group for the World-wide Development of Astronomy (PGWWDA)

A major interest over the last decade has been the promotion of astronomy teaching and research in developing countries, with the sponsorship of Commission 46 of the IAU. Click here for information about the activities of this IAU program group.

A list of publications and reports concerning the work of PGWWDA since 2003 is available here (under development, so not all links work).

Here's a list of my visits to developing countries for PGWWDA of IAU Commission 46 (Astronomy education and development)

IAU General Assembly Prague

August 2006

In 2006 I ran a two-day special sessiuon at the IAU General Assembly in Prague on Astronomy for the Developing World. About 280 astronomers from 61 countries registered their interest in participating. This Special Session resulted in a published book of proceedings entitled 'Astronomy for the Developing World' edited by John Hearnshaw and Peter Martinez (Cambridge Univ Press 2007). The book contains 56 key papers that were presented, covering the development of astronomy in all regions of the developing world.

The SPS5 website is here and is still active, though it was established for pre-special session information to intending participants

Participants at Special Session 5 ' Astronomy for the developing world' in Prague, August 2007

PhD students supervised

Masters students supervised