Congratulations to Shirley Li, who was one of the winners of the 2014 Physics department PGSC poster competition. Her poster was on her work calculating cosmic-ray muon induced backgrounds in the neutrino detector Super-Kamiokande.
Shirley was also part of a small group that was awarded the best student project at 2014 SLAC Summer Institute "Shining Light on Dark Matter." Their project was to constrain the density slope at the Milky Way center.
One of the major goals of the ASAS-SN project is to produce a complete census of bright, nearby supernovae. In the last few months, using four 14-cm diameter telescopes in Hawaii and two such telescopes in Chile (this expansion was funded mostly by CCAPP), ASAS-SN has been finding about 10 bright (V < 17) supernovae per month. That may not seem like much, compared to more than 1000 SNe found every year, but ASAS-SN is now finding more than half of the brightest SNe. On August 12, ASAS-SN discovered its 50th supernova (33rd since May 1st, 2014), which was annouced via an Astronomer's Telegram . The first author of this telegram is an amateur astronomer from France, Joel Nicolas, whose 41-cm telescope was used to confirm the presence of the supernova. In steady-state, ASAS-SN will likely discover about 100 bright supernovae per year, all of them (and their host galaxies) easily studied with relatively small, 1-4 meter class telescopes.
Read more about ASAS-SN here
The existence of voids, almost entirely empty regions of the cosmic web, has been confirmed by several spectroscopic surveys in the past years. But so far, nobody knew how empty voids really are. By using a technique called gravitational lensing, an international team led by Ohio State CCAPP astrophysicists Peter Melchior and Paul Sutter inferred the mass inside voids - or rather: the absence thereof. This unprecedented measurement confirms earlier predictions and opens a new line of research that will provide insights in how gravity acts on cosmological scales.
Learn more at Nautilus and Oxford Journals
The universe is really, really big, so simulations of the universe must also be really, really big. The latest, run by a team including Ohio State CCAPP astrophysicist Paul Sutter, followed the evolution of over 1 trillion particles of dark matter. It's one of the largest simulations ever performed, and you can visit it. The team created a website devoted to the simulation. The site has both a scientific and a public side, where people can view visualizations of the data or fly through the simulation. With such large simulations, cosmologists can prepare for upcoming galaxy surveys, and comparing this simulation to the real universe helps scientists understand the nature of dark matter and dark energy.
Learn more at Symmetry Magazine and Arxiv
At the largest scales the universe looks like an enormous spider web, with long rope-like filaments, dense clumps of galaxies, and vast empty regions called voids. Ohio State CCAPP astrophysicist Paul Sutter and an international team of collaborators have developed a method to find these voids, and they made a surprising discovery: voids obey a simple mathematical equation. This formula describes the properties of all voids, no matter their size, location, or age. Since voids can now be described by such a simple equation, they offer a brand new way to test theories of cosmology and to help understand the nature of dark matter and dark energy.
Learn more at APS and InsideScience
Adam Leroy and Laura Lopez have separately accepted OSU faculty offers in Astronomy. They will each be members of CCAPP. Adam starts in January 2015 and Laura in Autumn 2015. Adam's research is on star formation and the interstellar medium in galaxies. Laura's research is on supernovae and their remnants, star formation, and the interstellar medium. We look forward to welcoming them and to their contributions to our astrophysics community.
With data from the new DECam imager, the Dark Energy Survey provides additional clues that galaxy clusters are not isolated objects on the sky but are connected with the cosmic web via filaments.
These scientists are the primary authors of this work. Peter Melchior (Ohio State), Eric Suchyta (Ohio State), Eric Huff (Ohio State), Michael Hirsch (U College London). Tomasz Kacprzak (Manchester), Eli Rykoff (SLAC), Daniel Gruen (University Observatory and MPE Munich).
Read the full article Fermilab Today.
Scientists stay inspired in their sometimes tedious task of inspecting photographs taken in the Dark Energy Survey's ambitious cataloging of one-eighth of the sky. Physicists working on the Dark Energy Survey can expect to pull many an all-nighter. The international collaboration of more than 120 scientists aims to take about 100,000 photographs peering deep into the night sky. Scientists must personally review many of these photos to make sure the experiment is working well, and they've come up with ways to stay motivated while doing so.
Two of the DES researchers, Erin Sheldon of Brookhaven National Laboratory and Peter Melchior of OSU/CCAPP, created the DES Exposure Checker, an online gallery of images from the telescope.
Read the full article Symmetry Online.
Every night, on a mountain top high in the Chilean Andes, a new instrument images a portion of the southern sky collecting light emitted by distant galaxies billions of years ago. A team of physicists and astronomers from Ohio State University collaborated with more than a hundred scientists from three continents to build and operate DECam, the Dark Energy Camera. DECam is a large 570 Megapixel camera with 74 custom designed CCDs and a record setting field of view, covering in a single exposure an area of the sky 20 times the size of the full moon as seen from earth. The tools used by the observers to operate DECam, the data acquisition system and the software to monitor and record the status of the instrument were all created by the OSU team led by Prof. Klaus Honscheid.
DECam is used by the Dark Energy Survey collaboration to probe the origin of the accelerating expansion of the universe. This five-year program is designed to uncover the nature of dark energy and to determine whether Einstein's general relativity is valid on the largest scales. The exquisite image quality and operational efficiency required for these studies were demonstrated and optimized during a 10-month science verification period co-chaired by Prof. Honscheid. During this effort, DECam imaged more than 150 sq. degrees of the sky in five different filter bands. Led by CCAPP Fellows Melchior and Huff, the analysis of this data sample, the largest of this kind available to date, is ongoing and first results will soon be published.
More information about DECam and the Dark Energy Survey can be found at www.darkenergysurvey.org.
The full article is available at Physics Today Online.
Congratulations to Khalida Hendricks and Tom Holoien who recently have been awareded graduate student fellowhips!
Khalida won the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), which is a program that recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in fields within NSF's mission. The GRFP provides three years of support for graduate education.
[Learn More about the Fellowship]
Tom won the Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE CSGF) , which provides outstanding benefits and opportunities to students pursuing doctoral degrees in fields that use high-performance computing to solve complex science and engineering problems. The DOE CSGF provides four years of support for graduate education.
[Learn More about the Fellowship]
Dear CCAPP members and friends,
The 2014 Campus Campaign is on until 30 April. When you are considering university and department funds to invest in, I encourage you to help CCAPP expand its student- and public-oriented activities.
Thanks in part to generous contributions from donors like yourself, we have been able to increase such activities, and we are eager to do more like the following:
+ Graduate education: providing funds to help make it possible for graduate students to attend conferences where they present their work.
+ Public lectures: bringing internationally-known experts like our recent visitors Lloyd Knox to Ohio State to give lectures and interact with students.
+ Outreach: hosting events for young people like the Breakfast of Science Champions for middle-schoolers.
Donating is easy and tax-deductible. Just click the Give Now button below, or if you're an OSU employee and would like to give via payroll deduction, please search for CCAPP in the Campus Campaign web page.
We are grateful for the generosity of those who have already donated. Even modest donations help financially and send a message to the university about appreciation of CCAPP activities.
Thank you for your consideration. We welcome hearing ideas for new initiatives.
Todd Thompson was surprised today in Astronomy Coffee by President Alutto and others, who presented him with the 2014 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. Todd kept his wits about him and made some great remarks about how the collaborative, student-focused culture of the Astronomy Department and help from other faculty were essential to his success in teaching. Congratulations to Todd on this important and well-deserved award!
The Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching honors a maximum of ten faculty members for their teaching excellence. Recipients are nominated by present and former students and colleagues and are chosen by a committee of alumni, students, and faculty. They receive a cash award of $3000, made possible by contributions from the Alumni Association, friends of Ohio State, and the Office of Academic Affairs. They also receive a $1,200 increase in their base salaries from the Office of Academic Affairs. The recipients will be inducted into the university's Academy of Teaching, which provides leadership for the improvement of teaching at Ohio State.
Former CCAPP Grad student, Andrea Albert hung out at Gizmodo for an afternoon and answered questions from anybody who has them. Curious about dark matter? Got questions about gamma rays? Ever wonder what a particle accelerator smells like?
CCAPP co-hosted with Astronomy two classes of eighth grade students from Berwick and Dominion Columbus city schools on OSU's campus to learn about science through a series of hands-on activities to get them excited about a career in science, math or engineering. Students spent the morning on campus enjoying breakfast with faculty, researchers and graduate students from Physics and Astronomy, gave them a planetarium show, and led them in four activities designed to teach them about astronomy and the type of work that professional astronomers do.
Prior to the event, select researchers also did pre-visits to the two schools to introduce the students to the concepts they would be learning more about at the actual event and get them excited for their visit.
Christopher Hirata, professor of astronomy and physics, received this year's Helen B. Warner Prize for observational or theoretical research from the American Astronomical Society - the premier award for young astronomers. Hirata is cited for his remarkable cosmological studies, particularly his observational and theoretical work on weak gravitational lensing, one of the most important tools for assessing the distribution of mass in the universe. His work on cosmological recombination, structure formation, and dark energy and cosmic acceleration, and the extraordinary depth of understanding he brings to these subjects is facilitating the next generation of important cosmological experiments.
Researchers from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) that include CCAPP scientists announced this week that they have measured the distances to galaxies more than six billion light-years away to an unprecedented accuracy of just one percent. The measurements utilized so-called "baryon acoustic oscillations (BAOs)", subtle periodic ripples in the distribution of galaxies, as a standard ruler to measure the cosmic distance to these galaxies. Their measurements place new constraints on the properties of the mysterious "dark energy" thought to permeate empty space, which causes the expansion of the Universe to accelerate. In addition, the team tested the gravity theory at cosmological scales with 10% precision by measuring the velocity fields of the galaxies that were induced by gravity.
"As WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particles) stream through the solar system, the gravitational pull from the sun alters their individual trajectories, changing their direction and speed," says Samuel Lee of Princeton University.
The sun's pull on dark matter is called gravitational focusing, because the sun acts like a lens to focus the paths of WIMPs toward it. The new study suggests the pattern would be strongly affected by the gravitational effects of the sun, which have so far been dismissed as insubstantial.
CCAPP Faculty, Annika Peter collaborated on this with the three researchers from Princeton (Samuel Lee, Ben Safdi, and Mariangela Lisanti).
In today's Academic Minute, Dr. Christopher Kochanek of Ohio State University calculates the odds of a visible supernova occurring in the coming decades.
John Beacom, Professor of Physics and Astronomy and Director of the Center for Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics (CCAPP) has been elected as an American Physics Society Fellow for 2013. Each year APS elected fellows number no more than 1/2 of 1% of Society membership. A fellowship election is a distinct honor because the evaluation process, conducted by the Fellowship committees of individual divisions, topical groups and forums, is done entirely by one's professional peers.
Click here to learn more
Rebecca (Becca) Reesman, has been recently awarded the 2013 Bunny and Tom Clark Graduate Student Scholarship. Becca is a student of Professor Terry Walker. Her research focuses on using gamma-rays to probe the extragalactic background light and new physics.
Unlimited collaborative possibilities at CCAPP attract young faculty researchers like magnets - the latest, a powerhouse couple from Caltech - Christopher Hirata, professor of physics and astronomy; and Annika Peter, assistant professor of physics and astronomy, arrived in August 2013.
"CCAPP has built an extremely strong research program exploiting the synergies at the interface between astronomy and fundamental physics. Annika and Chris embody this idea, reflected in their style of work and in their research on dark matter and dark energy, and I'm sure CCAPP was pivotal in their decision to come to Ohio State." - David Weinberg
"I like that the physics and astronomy departments are so closely connected - my research straddles the line of physics and astronomy, so a lot of places do not know how to classify me, but here, my research interests fall squarely in the research mission of CCAPP. It's nice to fit in!"
- Annika Peter
Astronomers at The Ohio State University have calculated the odds that, sometime during the next 50 years, a supernova occurring in our home galaxy will be visible from Earth.
The good news: they've calculated the odds to be nearly 100 percent that such a supernova would be visible to telescopes in the form of infrared radiation.
The bad news: the odds are much lower-dipping to 20 percent or less-that the shining stellar spectacle would be visible to the naked eye in the nighttime sky.
John Beacom, Director of CCAPP, did an outreach event on 10/19/13. During the event, Beacom showed demonstrations of universal gravitation in the Oval at OSU. This was a joint effort with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) to put on a tailgate party for the OSU vs. Iowa Football game; Combining fun, food, and physics to provide a good time for public and students alike.
John Beacom, Director of CCAPP, did an outreach event on 9/28/2013 at a farmers' market at 400 West Rich, a formerly abandoned warehouse in Franklinton that is being converted into space for artists and tinkerers. The event was put on by STEAM Factory (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), a great group of people. Beacom performed a bunch of demos about gravity and forces and answered questions about physics and astronomy.
Learn more about the event
Learn more about STEAM Factory
Rebecca won the theory poster competition at the LBL TAUP2013 summer school, held in Asilomar, CA. The school is for roughly 50 graduate students and postdocs working in particle astrophysics and cosmology. Her poster was on her work on measuring the opacity of the Universe with TeV gamma ray sources.
Annika Peter is an Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy. She had previously worked at UC-Irvine before coming to OSU. Her research focus is theoretical particle astrophysics, especially dark matter.
Chris Hirata is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy. He had recently worked at Caltech before coming to OSU. He is currently studying problems dealing with dark energy, and hopes to tie dark energy to fundamental theories of the universe.
Hee-Jong Seo has accepted a CCAPP Fellow position with Professor Chris Hirata for one year, starting in September 2013. She was previously at Berkeley, and will be starting a faculty position at Ohio University at the end of her year with CCAPP. Her research interests are in Large-Scale Structure and Cosmology.
Jonathan Blazek has accepted is a CCAPP Fellow position with Professor Chris Hirata, starting in October 2013. He was previously at Berkeley. His research interests are in Large-Scale Structure, Cosmology, weak gravitational lensing, and galaxy formation.
Arts and sciences researchers have teamed up with Columbus' COSI (Center of Science and Industry) to introduce current scientific research and its applications to general audiences as part of COSI's new Portal to the Public Initiative.
The Portal to the Public Initiative was launched by Pacific Science Center in 2007 to assist informal science education institutions in bringing scientists and public audiences together and through hands-on activities promote appreciation and understanding of scientific research. The program model was implemented and evaluated at eight museums and science centers during 2007-2011, with support from a National Science Foundation grant. COSI became a Portal to the Public member in spring 2013.
Learn more about Portals to the Public
Tonight, as the sun sinks below the horizon, the world's most powerful
digital camera will once again turn its gleaming eye skyward. Tonight, and
for hundreds of nights over the next five years, a team of physicists and
astronomers from around the globe will use this remarkable machine to try
to answer some of the most fundamental questions about our universe.
On Aug. 31, the Dark Energy Survey (DES) officially began. Scientists on the survey team will systematically map one-eighth of the sky (5000 square degrees) in unprecedented detail. The start of the survey is the culmination of 10 years of planning, building and testing by scientists from 25 institutions in six countries.
The survey's goal is to find out why the expansion of the universe is speeding up, instead of slowing down due to gravity, and to probe the mystery of dark energy, the force believed to be causing that acceleration.
Read more at Interactions' Website
Or Read the Symmetry Magazine Article
On July 29th, the Astronomy Department held Astonomy on Tap, a night of games, fun, and learning at the Brothers Drake Meadery & Bar. Demitri Muna from OSU Astronomy stated, "We had about 40 people show up, and the audience was
interested in the talks and had lots of questions for us. I also wanted
to thank the astronomers who turned up, who at the end were all brought
up on stage to answer random astronomy questions at microphone-point."
The event organizer at the bar was extremely pleased with the turnout and the content and is more than happy to have the event there on a monthly basis.
For more information, or dates on upcoming Astronomy events visit Astronomy on Tap's Facebook Page
CCAPP Director John Beacom and CCAPP's Todd Thompson spoke at Grandview Heights Kids' Club on Wednesday, July 17th, 2013 . "We spoke to two big groups of kids, answering their questions about space, planets, stars, galaxies, the universe, as well as gravity, black holes, the speed of light, and aliens. Even after an hour with each group, we couldn't wear them out. All of their questions were great, and some of them showed detailed knowledge. We also talked about how kids are naturally scientists: they observe, wonder, play with, and test things. That spirit of exploration and experimentation is the foundation of scientific research."
Even in the present day, only human eyes fully survey the sky for the transient, variable and violent events that are crucial probes of the nature and physics of our Universe. The "All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae" (ASAS-SN or "Assassin") project plans to change this by (eventually) automatically surveying the entire visible sky every night down to about 17th magnitude, more than 10,000 times deeper than human eye.
Recently, on June 6th, 2013 , The ASAS-SN Project discovered its first supernova, and has just discovered another candidate . You can find the image of the first supernova and article in the Astronomers Telegram below.
You can find astronomer David Weinberg's research on galaxy clustering, black holes and other cosmological wonders in the Astrophysical Journal and other prestigious publications. For the most part, his students and colleagues know Weinberg as a distinguished professor of mathematical and physical sciences at Ohio State University and a theorist specializing in galaxy formation, among other things.
But Weinberg is a whole lot more than that.
For about a decade, Weinberg has collaborated with glass artist Josiah McElheny on five artistic projects — massive sculptures that depict theoretical cosmic events, such as the Big Bang
What would it be like to peer billions of years into the past, viewing hundreds of millions of galaxies, some billions of light years away? What would it feel like to be part of a team trying to uncover the secrets of our universe?
Starting this week, the Dark Energy Survey team invites you to find out by following their new photo blog, Dark Energy Detectives. The name refers to the DES collaboration's ongoing hunt for the mysterious stuff known as dark energy, according to post-doctoral researcher Brian Nord, who helped design the new site.
Scientists speak a different language to present issues, argue points and convey information. B efore many of these equations make it into a research journal or textbook, they are written in marker, chalk or ink. They are scratched out, erased and rewritten until they speak a universal truth backed by laws of mathematics or physics. We wanted to know what it is like to speak this language, to get lost in an equation. So we asked scientists from three Ohio universities to translate. Read More
While working with Astronomy Grad student Ben Shapee, Alex Talabere, a junior at Metro High School, finished out his internship with CCAPP by being a co-author of the astronomical telegram, "ASAS-SN Discovery of 3 Cataclysmic Variables", along with other scientists from the US, Chile and Poland. The CCAPP internship allowed Alex to contribute to the ongoing ASAS-SN project (All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae). This survey is designed to look for the bright supernovae explosions in the nearby universe. This is the first systematic all-sky search for nearby supernovae. This survey uses four wide-field cameras with 20-cm lenses located in Chile and Hawaii. This project is being conducted to gain insight into the progenitor stars of supernovae, and to allow scientists to make the first complete census and detailed characterization of the brightest supernovae in a volume-limited sample of galaxies. Along the way, ASAS-SN will find many other transient objects, including the new cataclysmic variables that Alex helped discover.
Since its beginnings, CCAPP scientists have been fueled by tens of thousands of espresso shots, brewed with Luck Bros' Coffee. Locally owned and independently operated, Luck Bros' has recently honored this connection with a special roasting, aptly titled "Dark Energy".
The first iteration of Dark Energy is a blend of Central America coffees roasted to different levels and then combined for a complex and balanced experience of brightness, deep lingering notes of chocolate and caramel, and a rich heavy mouth feel. This versatile blend is a solid choice for brewing espresso or drip coffee and best used for cold brewing. Stop in CCAPP for a tasting, or better yet stop by Luck Bros' and say hi to the originator of Dark Energy, owner Andy Luck.