What fills the space between the stars? In addition to stars, planets, and dark matter, galaxies are home to vast reservoirs of gas and dust, high-energy particles, and magnetic fields. This is the interstellar medium (ISM): the stuff between the stars. The interstellar medium is the material from which new stars are born.
One of the most important and surprising scientific discoveries of the twentieth century is that the expansion of space is not slowing down, but speeding up—contrary to what we expect the gravitational pull of all the matter in the Universe to do. The driver of this accelerating expansion has been labeled "dark energy," but there is much about the phenomenon that researchers don’t understand.
Roughly 400,000 years after the Big Bang, the Universe—bathing in the afterglow of radiation that we see today as the cosmic microwave background—began to enter the cosmic “dark ages,” so named because the luminous stars and galaxies we see today had yet to form.
In the traditional model of astronomical observation, individual or small teams of astronomers study a select class of objects in a small region of sky. However, some of the most exciting cosmological and astrophysical results in recent years have required the study of millions of galaxies over thousands of square degrees of sky.
KIPAC's visualization and data analysis facilities provide hardware and software solutions that help users at KIPAC and SLAC to analyze their large-scale scientific data sets.