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. 

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.

Spotlight Live: Hubble's eXtreme View

Sep 26, 2012
Cambridge

Pascal Oesch, a Hubble Fellow at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and Michele Trenti of the Kavli Institute of Cosmology, University of Cambridge, discuss the Hubble telescope deepest ever image of the universe.

Phoenix Rising: A Galaxy Cluster That's Breaking Cosmic Records

Aug 13, 2012
Pheonix cluster

On the eve of their NASA press conference, Michael McDonald, Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research at MIT, and Bradford Benson, Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, University of Chicago, discuss the discovery of the Phoenix Cluster -- a galaxy cluster for the record books.

2012 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics: A Discussion with Michael Brown and David Jewitt

Aug 02, 2012

Two winners of the 2012 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics reflect on the discovery of the Kuiper Belt at the outer edges of the solar system, the excitement of exploring a frontier long thought empty, and what the episode over reclassifying Pluto says about the public’s perception of science.

"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
Stanford

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. 

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