Latest from KIPAC

May 3, 2022 – News

A futuristic technique conceptualized by Stanford scientists could enable astronomical imaging far more advanced than any present today.

May 2, 2022 – Research Highlight
New research led by KIPAC PhD student Alex Madurowicz, published in the Astrophysical Journal, describes a novel technique to image Earth-like exoplanets in detail by using the Sun as a telescope. The gravity of the Sun lenses and magnifies light from a distant planet, but also distorts the image into what is now known as an Einstein ring. By tracing the path of light as it bends around the Sun, the Einstein ring can be deconstructed to recover an image of a distant planet. This concept would allow for observations in far greater detail than an ordinary telescope could ever possibly achieve, such as movies of the detailed surfaces of exoplanets.
Apr 12, 2022 – News

Each year, UC Santa Cruz’s five academic divisions—Arts, Baskin School of Engineering, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Physical and Biological Sciences—selects one graduate student alumnus/a/i as their Distinguished Graduate Student honoree. The awards ceremony for the 2022 cohort will take place on April 23 of Alumni Weekend. Risa Wechsler has been named UC Santa Cruz’s Physical and Biological Sciences Distinguished Graduate Student Alumna.

Mar 30, 2022 – Research Highlight
Sometime this fall, the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) camera will be delivered to Santiago on a 747 jumbo jet and trucked to the Rubin Observatory Summit Facility. Located nearly nine thousand feet above sea level in the Andean foothills—about two hours from Chile’s second-oldest city, La Serena—the observatory will house an 8.4 meter (almost 28 feet!) telescope containing the largest digital camera ever built. Each night, the SUV-sized camera will collect thousands of wide-field images of the southern sky, looking further back into the history of the universe with each exposure. Commissioning engineers and scientists from the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC) have been developing novel ways to handle the many technical challenges that come with building a Guinness World Record breaking observatory.
Mar 25, 2022 – Research Highlight
In DES cosmology analyses we ultimately learn about physics by comparing the predictions of a model to measurements. Even with our most sophisticated models of the Universe, we can’t predict exactly where a given galaxy or clump of matter that is causing gravitational lensing will appear. However, we don’t need to do that to learn about physics! We just need to focus on something we can predict: the statistical properties of how we expect galaxy positions and the shear signal of weak gravitational lensing to be distributed relative to one another. This means that when we compare our model to measurements, we’re not comparing models and measurements at the level of the full map of the positions and shapes of all the galaxies measured by DES. Instead we summarize information in those maps using statistical measurements.
Mar 21, 2022 – News

The record-breaking beam is emanating from a pulsar—a rapidly rotating, collapsed star with a strong magnetic field—located around 1,600 light-years from Earth.

Mar 14, 2022 – News

The Rubin Observatory's LSST Camera will take enormously detailed images of the night sky from atop a mountain in Chile. Down below the mountain, high-speed computers will send the data out into the world. What happens in between?

Feb 14, 2022 – News

In time for Valentine’s Day, NASA’s Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer which launched Dec. 9, 2021, has delivered its first imaging data since completing its month-long commissioning phase.

All instruments are functioning well aboard the observatory, which is on a quest to study some of the most mysterious and extreme objects in the universe.

Feb 8, 2022 – News

Researchers are hoping to "hear" dark matter particles using a super-cooled experiment in California.

Feb 3, 2022 – Research Highlight
Understanding how the Universe evolved from a dense ball of superheated plasma to the vast canvas of stars and galaxies it is today—and what it will become next—remains a fundamental question asked throughout history. Today, we can begin to answer this question by making more precise measurements of objects in space, from our nearest neighbors to the deepest recesses of the visible Universe, than we've ever been able to before. The resulting maps help us frame the question of how the Universe unfolds by measuring how cosmic structure—the web of galaxies that make up the Universe—grows over time, according to the rules of physics. A key part of measuring this cosmic structure is to determine the distances to the many galaxies we observe with our telescopes.