Stuart Littlefair

Senior Lecturer in Astrophysics


I use eclipsing binaries to study the fundamental properties of low-mass stars, extra-solar planets and brown dwarfs.

I also study the evolution of interacting binaries like cataclysmic variables.

The variability of very low mass stars and brown dwarfs has a mysterious origin. Dust cloud weather, magnetic activity and powerful aurora may all play a role.

I use infrared and optical observations to understand the origins and implications of variability.

Time-domain astrophysics requires specialist tools!

I work with colleagues at Sheffield, Warwick and Durham to build specialist cameras and telescopes to study astrophysics on the fastest timescales.



PHY 104
Introduction to Astrophysics

This first year course gives a basic introduction to quantitative astrophysics. Full details can be found on the course website.

Lecture notes and other materials are available for enrolled students via MOLE.

1st Year Labs

PHY 115/6
st Year Astronomy Labs

An introduction to practical astronomy skills, observing the night sky and programming.

The course website is here. The online notes for this PHY 115 are in three sessions: session 1, session 2 and session 3.

Python worksheets for PHY116 can be found here.

2nd year PCs

2nd Year

A series of problem classes to accompany the second year astronomy modules PHY 241, PHY 242, PHY 216 and PHY 229.


PHY 241
Observational Astronomy

An introduction to observational astronomy and Python programming. It supersedes PHY 217.

The course website gives details of timetabling, whilst detailed notes are available online.

Python notebooks for the programming sessions can be viewed and downloaded here.


My Image

Ufinder is a tool which allows for planning of Ultracam observations.

Click here for usage and installation introductions.

My Image

Usfinder is a tool which allows for planning of Ultraspec observations.

Click here for usage and installation introductions.

On my github repository, you can download other code I've made available - including python code for modelling cataclysmic variable lightcurves, robust fitting of exo-planet transits in the presence of systematic noise, and a python wrapper to control CCD cameras from QSI.

Contact Me