Ask a spaceman logo

Ohio State Astrophysicist Launches Podcast

January 26, 2015

Paul Sutter, a postdoc at Ohio State's Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics, just launched a new podcast called "Ask a Spaceman!" People curious about space, astronomy, and astrophysics can post questions on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #AskASpaceman. Paul will answer the questions in a lighthearted, conversational way. The first two episodes are already available on iTunes and cover the topics of Pluto's status as a planet and the physics of falling into a black hole. -- > Read more:

Paul Sutter's Facebook:
Paul Sutter's Science Website:
Ask a Spaceman iTunes:!

WAMC Northeast Public Radio Broadcast: Academic Minute Segment, "Cosmological Nothingness"

Newark Advocate: "Local astrophysicist starts 'Ask a Spaceman!' podcast"

Astronomer David Weinberg Wins Lancelot M. Berkeley Prize

January 14, 2015

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) awarded David H. Weinberg, the Henry L. Cox Professor in Astronomy and Distinguished Professor of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, the Lancelot M. Berkeley New York Community Trust Prize for Meritorious Work in Astronomy. It recognizes "highly meritorious work in advancing the science of astronomy during the previous year." Weinberg studies the large-scale structure of the universe, dark energy and dark matter, the formation and evolution of galaxies and quasars and the intergalactic medium. Weinberg was honored for leading contributions to SDSS-III, the third phase of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which has made dramatic advances in measuring the structure of the Milky Way galaxy and the history of the accelerating expansion of the universe.

TEDx event picture with photos of this year's speakers

TEDx -- The Human Narrative

January 9, 2015

Just two speakers left to reveal for this year's TEDx Ohio State University event on Saturday February 14, 2015, and one of them is Dr. John Beacom!

Dr. Beacom is an internationally-known researcher in physics and astronomy, a popular teacher of introductory courses, and a leader in making scientific advances accessible to non-scientists. He is a Professor in the Ohio State Departments of Physics and Astronomy, as well as the Director of their joint Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP).

His research focuses on neutrinos- almost massless and almost non-interacting particles that pervade the Universe and that can reveal hidden wonders. Such wonders include the core of the Sun, stars that implode, and black holes that are gobbling away (trillions of neutrinos passed invisibly through your eyes as you read that sentence). He has won both the Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award and the Ohio State Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. He frequently makes or hosts presentations on science to audiences ranging from children to retirees. He commutes by bicycle year-round, does not own a cell phone, and claims to see neutrinos.

Actual SDSS g-band image

'Assassin' Targets Supernovae in our Neighborhood of the Universe

January 8, 2015

"Project's success spawns a new effort to study other local sky events. While many astronomical collaborations use powerful telescopes to target individual objects in the distant universe, a new project at The Ohio State University is doing something radically different: using small telescopes to study a growing portion of the nearby universe all at once."

Read the EurekAlert! Article...

Read the OSU Press Release...

students in small group discussion

Breakfast of Science Champions - Followup Lunch Discussion

December 18, 2014

CCAPP hosted fifty Starling Middle school students for a followup event to The Breakfast of Science Champions, bringing them back to campus for a Planetarium showing and up close and personal discussion with real world scientists about what it means to pursue science as a career.

One of the many themes during the pre-visit and the BoSC itself was the idea of scale, for which they specifically discussed sizes and distances in the Solar System and sizes of stars found throughout the Universe. Then, the students were able to mold their own clay cosmic webs, representing "The biggest thing in the universe!"

cover of Sky and Telescope Feb 2015 issue

Into the Void -- Sky & Telescope Magazine

December 4, 2014

The latest issue of Sky & Telescope (Feb 2015), author Marcus Woo walks readers through the science of . . . nothing. Featuring research of postdoc Paul Sutter and his work on cosmic voids.

"Empty space makes up most of the universe by volume, and though most astronomers are drawn to light, it's in these blackest of voids where we can potentially learn the most about dark energy, dark matter, and the growth of galaxies."

"Space is Pretty Empty. And Paul Sutter likes empty. He likes it so much, in fact, that he spends his time exploring the most barren regions of the universe, vast gaps known as cosmic voids."

Read the Beyond the Printed Page Article: "Flying Through Cosmic Voids"
Read the digital Sky & Telescope Article: "Into the Void"
Paul Sutter's Science Website:

Mauricio Bustamante

The Physics behind the Movie "Interstellar"

November 28, 2014

CCAPP fellow, Mauricio Bustamante, was interviewed on the subject of the physics of time dilation, black holes, and wormholes behind the recent movie "Interstellar". The interview, in Spanish, was published on PuntoEdu, the news portal of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.

Read the full article: "Can you travel through time and space in a wormhole?"

clay cosmic webs in progress on table

COSI Planetarium Grand Re-Opening

November 22, 2014

CCAPP Postdoc, Paul Sutter, along with other CCAPP researchers helped attendees of the planetarium grand re-opening event with a make-your-own clay cosmic web activity.

The new COSI Planetarium -- the largest in Ohio -- features state-of-the-art digital technology that offers an unsurpassed glimpse of our incredible universe. For all who wonder, who question, who dream, your window to the universe is now open at COSI.

More about the COSI Planetarium:

Paul Zivick

Testing gravity using cosmic voids

November 20, 2014

Astrophysicists have long searched for ways to find cracks in Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, and thanks to OSU undergraduate Paul Zivick, his advisor Paul Sutter, and an international team of researchers, they have a new avenue available to them.


In a paper recently submitted to the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Zivick and collaborators outlined how the properties of cosmic voids - the large, empty regions that fill up most of the universe - can provide constraints on modified gravity theories. These theories must agree with predictions from General Relativity in high-density environments in order to pass stringent tests, but in low-density regions like voids the differences between the theories are much larger.


Zivick's work predicted that upcoming galaxy surveys will be able to distinguish modified gravity models better with voids than with traditional probes.


More details can be found in the journal article:

Gisella deRosa shows students how to cook up a comet

Breakfast of Science Champions

November 13, 2014

CCAPP along with departments of Astronomy and Physics, hosted Columbus middle school students for this year's Breakfast of Science Champions event. Students visited the newly renovated Astronomy planetarium and attended various sessions to learn about gravity and the Universe.


The Breakfast of Science Champions offers Columbus City Schools middle school students the opportunity to explore science, math, and engineering at The Ohio State University in a program designed especially for them.


OSU STEM Outreach

ASASSN-14ae: A Tidal Disruption Event at 200 Mpc

October 23, 2014

ASAS-SN (All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae) paper "ASASSN-14ae: A Tidal Disruption Event at 200 Mpc" led by OSU astronomy graduate student Tom Holoien is subject to OSU press release: "Lucky Star Escapes Black Hole With Minor Damage"

Tidal disruption events are very rare, happening only every 10,000 to 100,000 years in any given galaxy, so it was surpising that ASAS-SN has already discovered one, only few months into operation.

Read the full OSU Press Release...

Learn more about ASAS-SN...

Trillian Project Gets Support from Mozilla ScienceLab

October 9, 2014

Trillian is a new project that aims to be an all-sky, multi-wavelength computational engine for astronomy data. It was selected to be one of the research projects for the Mozilla ScienceLab's Collaborate on Software for Science (, an initiative to bring together software developers and designers and researchers to build new tools for science that was launched on October 9, 2014. This partnership will result in a contribution of developer resources to help build Trillian. Development is also being provided by the DAT project ( to help design and build the data access pipeline required in creating a multi-terabyte, distributed astronomical data repository.


Trillian was designed by Demitri Muna and Eric Huff and is supported by CCAPP; more information about Trillian can be found here: and

ccapp logo

New CCAPP Hires

October 1, 2014

CCAPP is excited to welcome four new postdocs this fall! Looking forward to a great year.

Ashley Ross joins us from the University of Portsmouth, UK. This is his second postdoc and works on observational cosmology using large scale structure data analysis.

Adi Zolotov joins us from Hebrew University, Isreal. This is her second postdoc and her research interests are on near field cosmology, galaxy formation and galaxy simulation.

Anna Nierenberg joins us from the Universit of California, Santa Barbara. This is her first postdoc and studies satellite galaxies as a test of galaxy formation and the nature of dark matter.

Mauricio Bustamante joins us from University of Wuerzburg and DESY. This is his first postdoc and his research interests are on new physics, ultra high energy cosmic rays and neutrinos.

Paul Zivick

SURP Researcher Discusses His Research

September 26, 2014

Paul Zivick was accepted into this year's Astronomy Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP), working with faculty Paul Martini and postdoc Paul Sutter on observable characteristics of cosmic voids. He was interviewed about his research interests and experience.

Check out his Arts and Sciences' research profile and responses to some interesting questions...

ccapp logo

Twelve CCAPP alumni starting permanent-track jobs this year

September 1, 2014

One of the goals of CCAPP is to train the next generation of scientists in research as well as the skills needed for success in such a career. This is a huge year in terms how many of our graduate student and postdoc alumni are starting permanent-track jobs at universities and laboratories: twelve! That's nine former postdocs and three former students, and includes several people who held other postdoc jobs since leaving here.

The list below is just those who are starting their jobs this year. Over the past several years, many more of the alumni of CCAPP, Physics, and Astronomy have gone on to permanent-track jobs.

Basudeb Dasgupta (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, India)
Tim Eifler (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Shunsaku Horiuchi (Virginia Tech)
Stelios Kazantzidis (University of Athens, Greece)
Kohta Murase (Pennsylvania State University)
Chris Orban (Ohio State University, Marion)
Molly Peeples (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Mat Pieri (Aix-Marseille University, France)
Jose Prieto (Universidad Diego Portales, Chile)
Eduardo Rozo (University of Arizona)
Hee-Jong Seo (Ohio University)
Mike Stamatikos (Ohio State University, Newark)


We're very proud of them, and wish the best for their continued success!

Graduate Student Wins Presentation Awards

August 28, 2014

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.

ASAS-SN Discovers its 50th Nearby Supernova

August 22, 2014

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 Weight of Nothingness

August 22, 2014

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

Cosmology for the People

August 22, 2014

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

The Measure of Nothing

August 22, 2014

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

dimly lit versus brightly lit

CCAPP Faculty, David Weinberg Quoted in ScienceDaily

Something is Amiss in the Universe: Cosmic Accounting Reveals Missing Light Crisis

July 8, 2014

Something is amiss in the Universe. There appears to be an enormous deficit of ultraviolet light in the cosmic budget. The vast reaches of empty space between galaxies are bridged by tendrils of hydrogen and helium, which can be used as a precise 'light meter.' In a recent study a team of scientists finds that the light from known populations of galaxies and quasars is not nearly enough to explain observations of intergalactic hydrogen. The difference is a stunning 400 percent.

"The great thing about a 400% discrepancy is that you know something is really wrong," commented co-author David Weinberg of The Ohio State University. "We still don't know for sure what it is, but at least one thing we thought we knew about the present day universe isn't true."

Read the full ScienceDaily Article...

New Faculty Members in OSU/CCAPP

June 17, 2014

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.

DES looks at massive galaxy clusters - and finds filaments

May 30, 2014

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.

Awesome circle around galaxy image

Keeping things awesome on the Dark Energy Survey

May 1, 2014

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.


DECam the "focus" of Physics Today cover

April 14, 2014

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

The full article is available at Physics Today Online.

Graduate Students Awarded Fellowships

April 1, 2014

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]

ccapp logo

OSU Campus Campaign

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.

Best regards,
John Beacom
(CCAPP Director)

2014 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

March 7, 2014

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.

Q&A with an Astrophysicist from Stanford's Particle Accelerator

March 4, 2014

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?

See her responses on Gizmodo

Student looking through telescope in hallway

Breakfast of Science Champions for Astronomy

February 19, 2014

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.

Astronomy/CCAPP Event Pictures
Read more about Breakfast of Science Champions

CCAPP Faculty Wins Top Prize for Young Astronomers

January 15, 2014

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.

About the AAS Warner Prize
OSU Arts and Sciences News Release
OnCampus Article

A One-Percent Measure of the Universe

January 8, 2014

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.

Kavli IPMU News Release
SDSSIII New Release

Dark Matter 'Wind' May be Warped by the Sun

January 8, 2014

"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).

Scientific American Article
New Scientist Article
American Physical Society Article

CCAPP Faculty Speaks about Supernovae

December 26, 2013

In today's Academic Minute, Dr. Christopher Kochanek of Ohio State University calculates the odds of a visible supernova occurring in the coming decades.

Read more or Listen to the program


John Beacom Named 2013 APS Fellow

December 17, 2013

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

CCAPP Grad Student Wins Scholarship

November 25, 2013

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.

Congratulations Becca!

[Research] Stars Align

November 18, 2013

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

Read the full ASCENT Article


Possible Visibility of Milky Way Supernova in Next 50 Years

October 31, 2013

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.

Click here to learn more


CCAPP Outreach: STEAM Tailgate

October 19, 2013

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.


CCAPP Outreach: STEAM Factory

September 28, 2013

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 Reesman Wins LBL TAUP 2013 Poster Contest

September 9, 2013

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.

Learn more about the competition


New CCAPP Hires

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.


CCAPP Outreach: Portal to the Public

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


Dark Energy Survey Begins five-year Mission to Map Southern Sky in
Tremendous Detail

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


OSU Astronomy has Open Questions Night at Local Bar

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 Reaches Out to Kids

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."

Read more


ASAS-SN Discovers its First Supernova

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.


ASAS-SN Project Homepage


OSU Astronomer Partners with New York Artist

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

Read More


New Dark Energy Survey Photo Blog

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.

Read More

John Beacom

CCAPP Director John Beacom Featured in Article

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


Credit: NASA/Swift
Skyworks Digital/Dana Berr

Young Intern Co-Authors Paper

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.

Learn More...


Dark energy coffee

Coffee Drives CCAPP

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.


CCAPP Videos on YouTube


CCAPP Funding Opportunities


Department of Physics | Department of Astronomy | Postdoctoral Fellowships | Contact Us
191 West Woodruff Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210 Fax: (614) 292-7741