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. 

"Dark Matters" - Incredible Simulations of an Invisible Universe

Jul 06, 2012

At the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, scientists are using massive computer simulations to create 3-D movies that reveal the mysteries of the universe in ways that almost let you reach out and grasp entire galaxies... and from any angle.

Spotlight Live: Nomads of the Galaxy

An artistic rendition of a nomad object wandering the interstellar medium. The object is intentionally blurry to represent uncertainty about whether or not it has an atmosphere. A nomadic object may be an icy body akin to an object found in the outer Solar System, a more rocky material akin to asteroid, or even a gas giant similar in composition to the most massive Solar System planets and exoplanets. (Image by Greg Stewart/SLAC)
May 15, 2012

Planets adrift in space may not only be common in the cosmos; in the Milky Way Galaxy alone, their number may be in the quadrillions.  Standford astrophysicist Louis Strigari talks about these nomadic wanderers after a recent research paper that generated attention when it greatly increased the estimate for the number of these planets, renewing speculation about life beyond Earth.

Nomads of the Galaxy

Apr 29, 2012

Planets simply adrift in space may not only be common in the cosmos; in the Milky Way Galaxy alone, their number may be in the quadrillions. 

Now, Brought to the Big Screen by Astrophysicists at KIPAC: the Universe

Apr 20, 2012

Dramatic 3-D videos, created from actual data, bring to life the origins of the universe... And are now playing on screens at KIPAC, as well as museums in San Francisco and New York.

Extreme Machines: What Science Needs from Computers

Apr 17, 2012

Computers are the workhorses of science. Without their power to crunch numbers, control instruments, turn raw data into intelligible patterns or pictures and test theories with simulations, most of what we now know about ourselves and the universe might still be a mystery. 

KICP: Leading the Quest to Crack Cosmological Mysteries

Feb 23, 2012

During its first decade as a Physics Frontier Center, the Kavli Institute helped to establish the current cosmological paradigm. 

Searching For The First Stars

Feb 16, 2012

As astronomers detect ever more distant galaxies, they are homing in on some of the first sources of light in the universe. Researchers hope new instruments and observational techniques will reveal how the first stars and galaxies brought the young universe out of its dark ages and into the light.

Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe, University of Tokyo

Feb 06, 2012

On February 8th in Japan, the University of Tokyo (Todai) announced that The Kavli Foundation had established an endowment for the university’s Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (IPMU). With the endowment, the Institute also became the 16th Kavli institute worldwide – the sixth in astrophysics, third in theoretical physics, and the first to be established in Japan.

A Roundtable Discussion with the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe

Feb 03, 2012
Hitoshi Murayama

At the newest Kavli Institute, solving the biggest mysteries of the cosmos is a "multilingual" enterprise where the research in mathematics, physics and astronomy combine to create a more complete understanding of the universe. A roundtable discussion with the Kavli IPMU's director and deputy directors.

TESS: Searching Closer to Home

Dec 01, 2011

In the ongoing hunt for planets beyond our own solar system, spacecraft in coming years will focus their telescopes on the nearest stars – those in our immediate neighborhood of the Milky Way galaxy. 


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