Research Highlights

May 5, 2015 | Let the Sun Shine (In Gamma Rays)

The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, famous for probing the Galaxy and distant reaches of the Universe, has now seen its first flare from our own Sun.

Ultraviolet light image of a solar flare, seen as a bright patch by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) satellite. One of the three main instruments on SDO was built at Stanford.

May 5, 2015 | Modeling Light Enlightens Telescope Design

In a nice marriage of theory and experiment, KIPAC scientists have investigated the effects of small layers of contamination on optical surfaces, which is important in building the super telescope that will probe dark energy.

May 5, 2015 | Fermi Telescope Sees Blazin' Blazar

KIPAC scientists have used Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope observations to detect a flare in a distant active galaxy, with it becoming temporarily the brightest gamma-ray source in the entire sky, and indicating the most luminous object, aside from gamma-ray bursts, discovered in the Universe to date.

May 5, 2015 | Simulating Stimulating Bursts of Gamma Rays

Using powerful computer simulations, a KIPAC scientist explores the possible mechanisms behind the gamma-ray emission in the super explosions known as gamma-ray bursts.

Artist's conception of a GRB. We see the burst of gamma rays if the jets are oriented so that one points toward us. (Image courtesy of NASA)

May 5, 2015 | The Chunky Suburbs of Galaxy Clusters

An analysis of X-ray observations has provided the clearest picture to date of the size, mass, and matter content of a giant cluster of galaxies. The study also provides the first direct evidence that the multi-million-degree gas in the cluster's outskirts is clumped into enormous clouds.

May 5, 2015 | Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing: New Physics in Core-Collapse Supernovae

Core-collapse supernovae are some of the biggest explosions in the universe - but exactly how the immense amount of energy released is converted into a form we can observe has puzzled astrophysicists for many decades. The Computational Astrophysics Consortium, which includes KIPAC, studies these systems via state-of-the-art hydrodynamic (HD) and magneto-hydrodynamic (MHD) simulations, and met in May to discuss their recent results.

May 5, 2015 | Does Galactic Dust Twirl and Shine?

The question of whether we receive microwave radiation from spinning dust grains in our Galaxy has been debated for 15 years. A collaboration including a KIPAC scientist has provided valuable data indicating that the answer is probably yes.

The ARCADE 2 instrument being launched on a high altitude balloon. Getting above the atmosphere is important in an absolute atrophysical microwave measurement.

May 5, 2015 | Many Eyes On A Gamma-ray Burst

Both instruments on the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have seen a gamma-ray burst also detected by other observatories, giving scientists a unique opportunity to learn more about these enigmatic blasts.

Photograph of the Fermi GBM before launch. The detectors consist of scintillator materials in which incoming gamma rays make a track of glowing light.

Apr 30, 2015 | Where have all the magnetic fields disappeared to? -- a new class of blazar flares

By  Krzysztof Nalewajko


Blazing Jets Beaming Straight Towards The Earth

Apr 28, 2015 | Flare Activity in the Crab Nebula: the Old Stalwart from 1054 AD Still Hides Some Enigmas


By  Jeff Scargle and Roger Blandford

The Crab Nebula, an old solid and reliable friend -- mostly

Apr 25, 2015 | Effects of Local Universe Underdensity On Cosmological Parameter Extraction or: Keeping “Precision Cosmology” on the Straight and Narrow

By  Radek Wojtak

Cosmologists generally assume that we do not sit at any special place in the Universe when extracting properties about our Universe, such as figuring out its expansion history (for which the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded in 2011).

Apr 16, 2015 | Where are they now? -- An Interview with KIPAC alum Justin Vandenbroucke

by Lori Ann White

In the series, "Where are they now?" we check in with KIPAC alumni: where they are now, how they've fared since their days exploring particle astrophysics and cosmology at the Institute, and how their KIPAC experiences have shaped their journeys.