Astrophysics

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: TESS & the Search for Exoplanets

May 01, 2013
Illustration of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite

Following a three-year competition, NASA has selected the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) project at MIT for a planned launch in 2017. 

Spotlight Live: Starbursts in the Early Universe

Mar 29, 2013

The milky way today may fire up one new star every year, but billions of years ago,some galaxies were producing new stars at a rate of 1,000 per year. 

Spotlight Roundtable: Witnessing Starbursts in Young Galaxies

Mar 13, 2013
Artist impression of starburst source

John Carlstrom, Dan Marrone and Joaquin Vieira discuss how the world’s most powerful radio telescope revealed that the most vigorous bursts of star birth in the cosmos took place much earlier than previously thought.

Spotlight Live: Cosmic Rays

Feb 21, 2013

On Thursday, Feb. 28, 12:00-12:30pm PDT, science writer Bruce Lieberman will ask your questions about the new data on cosmic rays in an interview with Stefan Funk, Assistant Professor of Physics, Stanford University, and member, KIPAC.

Cosmic Rays Come from Exploding Stars: An Interview with Stefan Funk

Feb 11, 2013

An interview with KIPAC's Stefan Funk on discovering evidence that cosmic rays are born in the shock waves of distant supernovae.

The Search for Dark Matter (Sidebar)

Dec 13, 2012

What is dark matter? We don’t know, but cosmologists, astrophysicists and experimental particle physicists say they are closing in on an answer. Read a short explanation of what scientists consider the leading candidate, as well as the methods being used to detect dark matter.

Are We Closing In On Dark Matter?

Dec 05, 2012

As the search for dark matter intensifies, a colloquium brought together cosmologists, particle physicists and observational astrophysicists --- three fields now united in the hunt to determine what is dark matter.

Discovering Dark Matter: A Conversation with Roger Blandford

Dec 04, 2012
Roger Blanford

KIPAC DIrector Roger Blandford discusses the recent meeting "Dark Matter Universe: On the Threshold of Discovery," which brought together astrophysics, cosmologists and particle physicists about the state of discovering dark matter.

Afterglow: Dispatches from the Birth of the Universe

Oct 31, 2012

Lawrence M. Krauss, John C. Mather, Amber Miller, Lyman Page and David Spergel discuss how the cosmic background radiation is poised to reveal a host of bold questions about the cosmos.

Shining a Light on Dark Galaxies

Oct 05, 2012
The sky around the quasar HE0109-3518

Dark galaxies – galaxies with few if any stars and made predominately of dense gas – have been impossible to detect directly until now. Members of an international team of astronomers discuss their discovery and the place these galaxies hold in the universe.

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