Research Highlights

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 | 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 | Fermi Investigates Dark Matter With Gamma Rays and Mini Galaxies

By turning their gaze to small satellite galaxies where the total mass is most dominated by dark matter, astrophysicists using data from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have achieved the tightest constraints on the properties of dark matter particles to date.

May 5, 2015 | Life In the Dark Matter Fast Lane

A new prediction of the density and velocity distribution of dark matter particles at our position in the Galaxy has provided a revised estimate of the likely detection rates for dark matter in particle physics experiments.

Typical conception of the halo of dark matter surrounding the Galaxy.

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 | Knowing The Telescope Before It Is Built

By the end of the decade, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will begin gazing at the sky and revolutionizing the study of dark energy and astronomy. Today, however, scientists are already hard at work learning how to analyze LSST's unprecedented amount and complexity of data with the Image Simulator.

May 5, 2015 | Cosmic Archaeology With the Leader of a Group

A team of astronomers, including two from KIPAC, have created a map of X-ray emission from around the central galaxy of a galaxy group. Along with data from other wavelengths, it dramatically shows the effects of outbursts from the central active galactic nucleus that occurred millions of years ago.

May 5, 2015 | Probing Dark Energy Using Clusters of Galaxies

Of the four established ways to study dark matter astronomically, looking at the evolving properties of galaxy clusters is the most reliant on non-optical observations of our Universe. A KIPAC faculty member has proposed satellite observations for a new era of cluster constraints on dark energy.

May 5, 2015 | Understanding Dark Energy Through CMB Observations

A KIPAC astrophysicist has published some of the first constraints on dark energy and other cosmological parameters using the measured signal from "shadows" of galaxy clusters in the CMB.

The Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT), located in the Atacama desert in Chile.

May 5, 2015 | The Crab Nebula Is Not So Steady

The Crab Nebula is a system with a pulsar and a surrounding ball of material that emits light all across the electromagnetic spectrum. For many years it was thought to be a constant steady source and was used as a calibration reference for telescopes. Now, KIPAC scientists using the Fermi Space telescope have shown that the emission from the Crab in gamma rays varies with time.

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.

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

For several decades now, astrophysicists have known of the existence of powerful jets of particles and magnetic fields that shoot out at nearly the speed of light (that is, “relativistically”) from the centers of certain “active” galaxies. Scientists have learned that the jets originate in the accretion disks surrounding supermassive black holes at the cores of these galaxies. Relativistic jets are sources of strongly beamed radiation characterized by broad and smooth (or “non-thermal”) spectra, therefore their orientation relative to the observer has dramatic effects on the observed characteristics of the active galaxies. In particular, when one of the jets happens to point towards us, the galaxy in which it originates is called a “blazar”.