Research Highlights

May 5, 2015 | Studying the Atmosphere On the Way to Probing Dark Energy

Among the many opportunities in the LSST project, it necessitates a new understanding of our own atmosphere. LSST science depends on photometric redshift determination, which in turn depends on accurate measurements of the flux from celestial objects. At wavelengths where our atmosphere glows, this presents a novel challenge.

The LSST filter bands, showing total system throughput

May 5, 2015 | Fermi LAT observes gamma rays from a huge thermonuclear explosion in space

Huge natural thermonuclear explosions, so called stellar novae, are observed in binary systems consisting of a dense compact white dwarf circling a star. The Fermi LAT has for the first time ever detected gamma-ray emission from such an event. This observation indicates particle acceleration in the shock wave produced by the nova explosion to at least GeV energies.

May 5, 2015 | Fermi LAT constrains dark matter in galaxy clusters

Clusters of galaxies are the most massive structures in the universe. Most of the mass in these clusters is considered to be dark matter. The Fermi LAT monitors these clusters for a gamma-ray signal from dark matter annihilation. No such signal has been found yet, but the non-observation starts to constrain a wide range of proposed dark matter models.

May 5, 2015 | Tiny Little Galaxies Are Laboratories for Studying Dark Matter

 

In recent years a dozen small 'dwarf' galaxies that surround our Milky Way have been discovered. A KIPAC team shows how these tiny galaxies are great places to look for the signatures of dark matter and determine its properties.

May 5, 2015 | One Flavor of Quasar Or Two?

A team of KIPAC astrophysicists has applied a rigorous statistical analysis to observations of quasars resulting in an interesting perspective.

An example of a bias arising from data truncation. In this plot of radio luminosity versus redshift (distance) for quasars detected by a survey, inherently faint objects can only be seen if they are close (low redshift).

May 5, 2015 | Shapes of Galaxies on the Brain

KIPAC astrophysicists have used a technique that processes information in a way analogous to the human brain in order to determine whether galaxy shapes can help determine their place in the Universe.

The effect of adding multiple parameters representing galaxy shape information on the photo-z accuracy, as determined by Singal et al. with their neural network method.

May 5, 2015 | Blazars Blare Bright But Below Background

The origin of the extragalactic gamma-ray background remains a cosmic and high energy physics enigma as KIPAC scientists have estimated the contribution to it from blazars in two different ways.

Estimate of the total cumulative flux from blazars above a given flux value. The level of the gamma-ray background is shown by the dashed line.

May 5, 2015 | Movies Of The Universe Produced In Kavliwood

In the KIPAC Visualization Lab - and in major planetariums - visitors can watch three dimensional movie renderings of processes from the history of the Universe. KIPAC scientists use novel computer graphics techniques to produce and display the animations, which are based on the results from computational simulations.

May 5, 2015 | The Arias of Universes in a Box

Simulating the evolution of the early Universe on computers is the starting point for cosmologists' understanding of structure formation in the cosmos. With techniques to pursue both a large volume of simulated universe and high spatial resolution, KIPAC researchers are leading the charge against one of the foremost computational challenges in astrophysics.

May 5, 2015 | TARGETing the Highest Energy Physics

Some of the highest energy physical processes in the Universe emit powerful gamma-rays that can be detected when they hit our atmosphere with a flash. A group of KIPAC scientists have developed a new electronics chip that can sample 16 different signals at a billion or more times per second, in order to follow the extreme show.

Prototype camera module for the Cherenkov Telescope Array, including a multi-anode photomuliplier tube and TARGET digitzer chips

May 5, 2015 | Through the Looking Galaxy

A KIPAC researcher uses images of very distant galaxies to learn about somewhat nearer galaxies, through the phenomenon of gravitational lensing.

The right panel shows a background galaxy with the image of the lens galaxy (in the center) removed. A proper model of the mass distribution of the lens galaxy results in the reconstructed shape for the background galaxy in the left panel.

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.