Research projects

The Athena (Advanced Telescope for High ENergy Astrophysics) satellite, selected by ESA within its Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 programme and currently scheduled to launch in 2031, will be the next flagship X-ray astronomy satellite. Athena will study how hot baryons assemble into groups and clusters of galaxies and determine their chemical enrichment across cosmic time.

The primary goal of BICEP/Keck Array telescopes was to measure the very faint polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). The CMB is a nearly perfect, uniform black body at 2.7 K, with degree-scale temperature anisotropy of about 0.1 mK and polarization on the order of microkelvin. This radiation was emitted 380,000 years after the Big Bang, at the time of recombination, when the Universe first became transparent to light.

The CO Mapping Array Pathfinder (COMAP) uses spectrographic observations to trace carbon monoxide atoms in the very early universe—within about three billion years of the Big Bang, a time of intense star formation responsible for the creation of about half of the stars in existence today.

On this page you will find an selection of the wide range of computational challenges tackled by KIPAC researchers. Our mission is to bridge theoretical and experimental physics communities to bring their combined strength to bear on some of the most challenging and fascinating problems in particle astrophysics and cosmology.

The Dark Energy Survey (DES) is a survey of distant galaxies that aims to unravel the mystery of cosmic acceleration. The DES uses multiple techniques to measure and study dark energy, the putative driving force of cosmic acceleration. Specifically, the DES studies dark energy through its impact on the abundance of galaxy clusters, weak gravitational lensing signals, type Ia supernovae and detections of large-scale correlations between galaxies.  The combination of these various approaches will allow DES scientists to gain a more robust understanding of the current cosmological paradigm.

The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (FGST or Fermi) is a space-based observatory used to perform gamma-ray astronomy observations from low-Earth orbit. Originally called the Gamma-Ray Large Area Space Telescope, or GLAST, the mission was renamed for the physicist Enrico Fermi after its launch in 2008. The mission is a joint venture of NASA, the United States Department of Energy and agencies and institutes in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Sweden.

The Imaging X-ray Polarization Explorer (IXPE), scheduled to launch in 2021, will be the first satellite dedicated to measuring the polarization of X-rays emitted by astrophysical objects in the 1-10keV band. Its launch will mark 40 years since polarization measurements of the Crab Nebula and pulsar at these energies—the only time such measurements have been taken.

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) is a large-aperture wide-field, ground-based telescope that will survey half the sky every few nights in six optical bands ranging from 320 to 1050 nm. LSST will produce a data set that will allow us to better evaluate a wide range of pressing questions about the attributes of dark energy and dark matter, the formation of the Milky Way, the properties of small bodies in the solar system, the trajectories of potentially hazardous asteroids and the possible existence of undiscovered explosive phenomena.

In 1933, Fritz Zwicky realized that most of the matter in the Coma galaxy cluster was invisible. This finding launched a decades-long search for dark matter. Observation after observation has confirmed that this mysterious matter must exist and in fact makes up about a quarter of our universe. But we have yet to identify its specific nature.

Observational and theoretical research on the physics of the sun is carried out at Stanford University in several research groups.

The South Pole Telescope (SPT) is a 10 meter diameter telescope operating at the NSF South Pole research station. Designed for conducting large-area millimeter and sub-millimeter wave surveys to map primary and secondary anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background, SPT is the largest telescope ever deployed at the South Pole. As on February 2018, the SPT team is working to bring the 3rd generation `SPT-3G' camera up to full sensitivity.

Observations of galaxies, galaxy clusters, distant supernovae, and the cosmic microwave background radiation tell us that ~85% of the matter in the universe is comprised of one or more species of dark matter. With the continuing success of the Standard Model of particle physics, the existence of dark matter provides one of the few tangible sign posts as we seek to understand what lies beyond the Standard Model. Deciphering the nature of this dark matter would be of fundamental importance to cosmology, astrophysics, and high-energy particle physics.

WFIRST is a proposed infrared space telescope designed to study Dark Energy, our galaxy and to search for planets.  WFIRST was the leading recommended large space-based project in the recent decadal survey, combining elements from the previous Joint Dark Energy Mission with a proposal to search for planets via gravitational lensing and perform infrared surveys. WFIRST is currently scheduled to launch in the mid-2020s, while the LSST 10-year survey is underway. The complementarity of a ground-based survey with a space-based survey presents a compelling opportunity to enhance what we learn…