Dr. Mark Norris

Lecturer in Astronomy

School of Physical Sciences and Computing

Leighton Building, LE114

+44 (0) 1772 89 3548


Subject Areas: Extragalactic Astrophysics

Mark Norris is a lecturer in Astronomy at the University of Central Lancashire. He teaches both on-campus and distance learning courses on astronomy.


Mark is research active within the area of astrophysics, with a particular focus on the observational study of the formation and evolution of massive star clusters and galaxies, and is a member of the Extragalactic Astrophysics Research Group.


Full Profile

Mark Norris graduated from Durham with a MSci in Physics in 2004, followed by a PhD in Astrophysics in 2008. From 2008-2012 he worked as a Research Associate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, working on observational studies of galaxy formation, including the RESOLVE and AIMSS surveys. In 2012 Mark moved to the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg Germany to work as a postdoctoral fellow. His research at MPIA involved a combination of observational studies of compact stellar system and galaxy formation, and leading the effort to outline science projects for the LINC-NIRVANA instrument on the Large Binocular Telescope.


In 2015 Mark joined UCLan as a Lecturer in Astronomy, teaching undergraduate on-campus and distance learning course related to Astronomy. He has also been responsible for the redevelopment of the practical undergraduate Astronomy laboratories, to take advantage of the new Moses Holden Telescope at the Alston observatory.


Ph.D Astrophysics, Durham University, 2008
MSci (Hons 1st Class) Physics, Durham University, 2004


Mark has wide research interests in the general area of studying how galaxies form and evolve. His main area of research involves the observational study of compact stellar systems, these enigmatic small stellar systems lie in the transition region between large star clusters (like globular clusters) and true galaxies. His research has been pivotal at demonstrating that objects in this class comprise two distinct populations, a group of unusually massive star clusters unlike any found in our own galaxy, and a second population which are the remnant nuclei of dwarf galaxies which were tidally destroyed by large companion galaxies. Understanding this population fully provides many important clues to the nature of the galaxy formation process, not least allowing us to determine just how small a galaxy can be, or alternatively, just how massive a star cluster can grow.



1. Bianchini, P.; van de Ven, G.; Norris, M. A.; Schinnerer, E.; Varri, A. L. A novel look at energy equipartition in globular clusters, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 458, Issue 4, p.3644-3654, 06/2016, DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stw552

2. Eckert, Kathleen D.; Kannappan, Sheila J.; Stark, David V.; Moffett, Amanda J.; Berlind, Andreas A.; Norris, Mark A. RESOLVE and ECO: The Halo Mass-Dependent Shape of Galaxy Stellar and Baryonic Mass Functions, 04.2016, eprint arXiv:1604.03957

3. Bianchini, P.; Norris, M. A.; van de Ven, G.; Schinnerer, E.; Bellini, A.; van der Marel, R. P.; Watkins, L. L.; Anderson, J. The Effect of Unresolved Binaries on Globular Cluster Proper-motion Dispersion Profiles, The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 820, Issue 1, article id. L22, 7 pp, 03/2016, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8205/820/1/L22

4. Moffett, A. J.; Kannappan, S. J.; Berlind, A. A.; Eckert, K. D.; Stark, D. V.; Hendel, D.; Norris, M. A.; Grogin, N. A. VizieR On-line Data Catalog: J/ApJ/812/89. Originally published in: 2015ApJ...812...89M, 02/2016

More Publications

External Activities

Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society
PI of the AIMSS Survey
Co-I of the RESOLVE Survey
Co-I of the SAGES Project
Science Team Member of the LINC-NIRVANA Project

Teaching Activities and Responsibilities

AA1051 Introduction to Astronomy (Practical Lab at Alston)

AA2001 Astrophysics