The infant universeAn all-sky picture of the infant universe revealing 13.77 billion-year-old temperature fluctuations (shown as color differences) that correspond to the seeds that grew to become the galaxies. (Credit: NASA/WMAP Science Team)

Astrophysics is a branch of astronomy that explores the physical properties of the cosmos and its composition. Astrophysicists study a broad range of topics, from the tiniest particles of matter and the forces that join them together to the grandest of celestial structures. In essence, astrophysics extends the workings of physics and chemistry that we experience directly here on Earth into the vastness of space. It is both an observational and theoretical science. To probe the universe's past, present and future, astrophysicists have built some of the most complex and precise machines in the world, including terrestrial and space-based telescopes tuned to various wavelengths. The continued seeking of new discoveries is constantly pushing the limits of telescope and model-building technology. 

Spotlight Live: Searching for Alien Life with a "Super-Hubble" Space Telescope (Transcript)

Nov 05, 2015
Milky Way

On October 6, The Kavli Foundation hosted a Google+ Hangout to learn more about proposed High Definition Space Telescope, a kind of "Super Hubble" that could launch in the 2030s. We spoke with two of the proponents: Julianne Dalcanton of the University of Washington and Marc Postman of the Space Telescope Science Institute. This is a transcript of that discussion.

Captured at Last: The Tiny Stars that Spark Fierce Supernovae Explosions

Aug 17, 2015
Type 1a Supernova

We finally know the ingredients that fire up a particular kind of supernova. Four researchers - Lars Bildsten, Laura Chomiuk, Daniel Kasen and Andrew Howell - explain why a better understanding of how certain stars die can help reveal the evolution of the cosmos.

Spotlight Live: Pluto Revealed - The Historic Voyage of New Horizons

Aug 13, 2015
New Horizons

On July 14, the New Horizons spacecraft passed Pluto after a 3-billion-mile journey. New Horizons team members Richard Binzel and Cathy Olkin, and Kavli Prize Laureate Mike Brown answer questions about the mechanisms that might be shaping Pluto's dramatic landscape and what this strange new world can tell us about the other bodies at the Solar System's fringes.

The Most Jupiter-Like Exoplanet Ever Seen: A Q&A with Bruce Macintosh

Aug 10, 2015
Artist's rendering of a Jupiter-like exoplanet

In an interview with The Kavli Foundation, Stanford astrophysicist Bruce Macintosh discusses how the discovery of a "young Jupiter" could help us understand the origins of planets.

Dwarf Galaxies Loom Large in the Quest for Dark Matter

Jun 21, 2015
An artist's impression of the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope. (Credit: NASA/General Dynamics)

Three astrophysicists discuss the ongoing search for dark matter and how dwarf galaxies can help us understand the evolution of our universe.



Delving Into the 'Dark Universe' with the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope

May 27, 2015
An illustration of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST)

Two astrophysicists and a theoretical physicist discuss how the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will probe the nature of dark matter and dark energy by taking an unprecedentedly enormous scan of the sky.

Spotlight Live: Looking Back in Time - Oldest Light in Existence Offers Insight into the Universe (Transcript)

Mar 09, 2015
Cosmic Microwave Background

The most accepted idea for how the early universe behaved, cosmic inflation, remains more an abstraction than full-fledged theory. During a live Google Hangout, three preeminent scientists considered the evidence for and against this contentious concept.

Google Hangout: NSF Physics Frontiers Centers - The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics

Mar 04, 2015

The NSF Physics Division hosted a live hour-long Google Hangout with Michael S. Turner, director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP). Turner will be joined by other members of KICP to talk about the exciting science going on at the institute including research on the cosmic microwave background and dark matter.

Planck Space Telescope Brings Early Universe into Focus

Feb 16, 2015
Planck space telescope

The latest data release from the Planck space telescope offers insight into everything from the fabric of space to dark matter – and may even have a shot at detecting gravitational waves, says Kavli Institute for Cosmology Director George Efstathiou.

Spotlight Live: Looking Back in Time - Oldest Light in Existence Offers Insight into the Universe

Feb 16, 2015

ON FEBRUARY 18, 2015 three preeminent scientists came together to discuss the latest results, what they mean for the theory of inflation, and what we can expect to learn about the very early universe in the coming decade.


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