NASA recently named chairs to lead scientific studies of four potential contenders for the "flagship astrophysics mission" to take place in the 2030s. NASA appointed Brad Peterson, astronomy professor/chair emeritus, to the Large UV-Optical-IR Surveyor (LUVOIR) team and astronomy professor Scott Gaudi to the Habitable Exoplanet Surveyor (HabEx) team. In 2019, the four teams will submit final reports to NASA and ultimately to the National Academy of Sciences' 2020 Astronomy Decadal Survey, which sets each decade's priorities for federal investments. Laura Lopez, astronomy assistant professor, was named to the X-ray Surveyor team.
Paul Sutter, cosmological research and community outreach coordinator for CCAPP has also been appointed the first Cheif Scientist at COSI. "Proving that sometimes you can have the best of two possible worlds, both Ohio State and COSI created brand-new positions for Sutter that will allow him to captivate and innovate through scientific outreach...Sutter has gained a reputation for not just being able to translate science to the public, but doing it in such a way that is addictive."
"In his spare time, Sutter is one of the world's leading experts on cosmic voids - the vast empty spaces between galaxies - and has devised innovative methods for using radio telescopes to probe deep into cosmic history, when the first stars and galaxies formed."
OSU Arts & Sciences Article "Science is Sharing"
WOSU Article and Interview "COSI Hires First Chief Scientist, Paul Sutter"
David Weinberg was named to Thomson Reuters' 2015 list of Highly-Cited Researchers whose work has had worldwide impact and influence, ranking among the top one percent most cited for their field and year of publication. A member of the astronomy department since 1995, 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.
Shirley Li is among 17 Arts and Sciences graduate students to win the Edward F. Hayes Graduate Research Forum Prize, winner in the area of Physics. Ohio State's Edward F. Hayes Graduate Research Forum showcases the innovative and exemplary research being conducted by Ohio State graduate students across the full range of graduate degree programs and facilitates fruitful exchanges between students, faculty, the administration, and the public.
Learn more about the Hayes Forum...
"Last week, NASA announced plans to move forward on the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope. Projected to launch in mid-2020, it has two major missions: discovering secrets of dark energy and dark matter; and worlds beyond our solar system. Three Ohio State researchers, astronomer Scott Gaudi and astrophysicists Chris Hirata and David Weinberg, were named to teams responsible for the critical final design."
"With three leading members of WFIRST's Science Investigation Teams, Ohio State has "the largest scientific footprint in WFIRST of any university in the country," according to Weinberg. Weinberg and Hirata are co-investigators on the team designing WFIRST's single largest program, an enormous map of hundreds of millions of galaxies that will be used to measure the growth of the universe and the clustering of dark matter."
"In the words of WFIRST Project Scientist Neil Gehrels, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, "Ohio State has made enormous contributions to WFIRST. David Weinberg, Chris Hirata and Scott Gaudi are world experts in dark energy and exo-planets, which are its two main science areas. After Hubble and the James Webb Space Telescope, WFIRST is going to be NASA's next great optical and infrared observatory. It would not be moving forward without their seminal work."
"Researchers at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) have found evidence of gravitational waves, a key feature of standard models of how the universe works."
In relation to the big announcement from the LIGO collaboration on Thursday February 11, 2016, CCAPP Postdoc Paul Sutter composed an article describing the physics and importance of gravitational waves.
"In general relativity, space-time is dynamic...It can warp and twist, and bend and flex. It can wave. It responds to the presence of matter and energy, and can influence the behavior of that same matter and energy, exactly as you can. Space-time is a thing."
Image: View from a computer simulation showing the production of gravitational waves during a black-hole collision. Credit: MPI for Gravitational Physics/W.Benger-Zib
Read the full article at Space.com...
An international team of astronomers including Ohio State Astronomy Professors Krzysztof Stanek, Christopher Kochanek and Todd Thompson, may have discovered the largest supernova ever seen from Earth. The exploding massive star is only 10 miles across at its core, yet is much brighter than the entire output of the Milky Way. "This may be the most powerful supernova ever seen by anybody," said Stanek. The team of astronomers released their findings this week in the journal Science. Ohio State co-authors on the study include John Beacom, professor, physics and astronomy and director, Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP): astronomy graduate students Thomas Holoien; Jonathan Brown; and Gregory Simonian and physics graduate student A. Bianca Danilet.
ASASSN-15lh was first spotted in June of last year using the All Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN), based at of Ohio State. The intention of ASAS-SN is to get better statistics on the different types of supernovas and where they are occurring in the cosmos. The survey uses smaller telescopes to scan the sky every two to three days, searching for changes in the heavens. If some new bright object pops up, they'll catch it, and astronomers can then use bigger telescopes to take a better look.
Image: An artist's impression of the record-breakingly powerful, superluminous supernova ASASSN-15lh as it would appear from an exoplanet located about 10,000 light years away in the host galaxy of the supernova. (Credit: Beijing Planetarium / Jin Ma)
Laura Lopez, assistant professor, astronomy, will receive the 2016 Annie Jump Cannon Award for outstanding research by early-career female astronomers (an astronomer within five years of receiving her PhD) for her contributions to understanding detailed astrophysics in the birth-to-death cycle of stars in our galaxy.
More about the Annie Jump Cannon Award.
Andrew Gould, astronomy professor emeritus, Distinguished Professor of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, was awarded the 2016 Beatrice Tinsley Prize, given every other year for "an outstanding research contribution to astronomy or astrophysics, of an exceptionally creative or innovative character." Gould is recognized for his development of gravitational microlensing, a critical tool for exoplanet discovery and characterization.
More about the Beatrice Tinsley Prize.
Big congratulations to both of them!
The Science Day program provides professional growth for classroom teachers with development of hands-on strategies for teaching through direct collaboration with scientists and engaging students in various hands-on "laboratories".
CCAPP visited Innis Elementary school as a followup to The Breakfast of Science Champions.
What would it be like to play football on Mars? How would TBDBITL sound? Could we watch it on ESPN? Would Brutus' costume catch fire? Planetarium Director Wayne Schlingman and Astrophysicist Paul Sutter tackle our queries.
Visit the ASC Website for the video and more on Mars...
CCAPP along with CEM and departments of Astronomy and Physics, hosted Columbus middle school students for this year's Breakfast of Science Champions event. Students visited the Physics Research Building and attended various sessions to learn about gravity and the Universe.
The Breakfast of Science Champions offers Columbus City middle school students the opportunity to explore science, math, and engineering at The Ohio State University in a program designed especially for them.
Who better to get students excited about space exploration than former astronaut and Ohio State grad Dr. Ron Sega? He talked about space travels, and encouraged students to build a foundation in math and science. Sega said his mission is to encourage the next generation of scientists.
Auther John Beacom: "Neutrinos take patience. They're worth it, and the announcement of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics recognizes that, following related prizes in 1988, 1995 and 2002. Ironically, these near-undetectable particles can reveal things that cannot be seen any other way.
I could begin by telling you that neutrinos are elementary particles, but that sounds condescending. They're not called elementary because they're easy to understand - they aren't - but because they are seemingly point-like in size, and we can't break them down into smaller constituents. There's no such thing as half a neutrino."
The Dispatch science reporter watched the movie with three space scientists -- Paul Sutter, an Ohio State University astrophysicist; Wayne Schlingman, director of the OSU planetarium; and Anna Nierenberg, a post-doctoral fellow at OSU's Center of Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics. All three said they loved the movie. There were some issues, however, with the science.
An international team of astronomers says new data show energy output measured across more than 200,000 galaxies is only about half as strong as it was 2 billion years ago. Scientists point to this latest study as further evidence that the universe is slowly dying.
John Beacom, a physicist and astronomer at Ohio State University, told NPR that before this comprehensive study, there was always the possibility that scientists didn't have the full picture of how the universe was changing. "This pretty much closes the case: Yes, it's coming to an end," he says.
Sponsored in part by CCAPP, Annika Peter and Don Terndrup, the Ohio Supercomputer Center Summer Institute (SI) is a two-week residential program that gives gifted Ohio high school students entering their sophomore, junior or senior year project-based, hands-on learning. Working in small peer teams, the students use supercomputers for practical applications such as solving complex science and engineering problems, conducting network forensics to catch hackers, studying the spread of the bird flu and designing computer games.
This summer, the OSC SI students put together the following interactive animation on orbiting planetoids. Click the mouse to add objects to the system and click and drag it to give it a kick in a particular direction: physics.ohio-state.edu/~orban/NBodyPlanetoids
"We (Chris Orban and Annika Peter) are really proud of what the students were able to accomplish. The students did a really phenomenal job. ...we got a great group of students who worked well with each other. They created an impressive product. Especially given that only one of them had taken calculus and AP physics before."
Check out the NBC 4i news segment on the OSC's role in the Nepal earthquake and the Summer Institute. "Ohio Will Build a New Supercomputer for Research Education"
More About OSC SI Program...
CCAPP Alumna, Andrea Albert, now currently a postdoc at SLAC National Accelerator Lab, was featured along with Alex Drlica-Wagner and Josh Frieman in a roundtable discussion on the new dwarf candidates from DES.
"...These miniature galaxies - the first discovered in a decade - shine with a mere billionth of our galaxy's brightness and each contains a million times less mass. Astronomers believe the vast majority of material in dwarf galaxies is dark matter, a mysterious substance composing about 80 percent of all matter in the universe. Dwarf galaxies have therefore emerged as prime targets for gathering potential clues about dark matter's composition..."
A weekly video about topics of the Universe launched this week on YouTube, featuring OSU Planetarium Director Wayne Schlingman and CCAPP Postdoc Paul Sutter.
"The Arches Cluster is one of the most massive star forming regions in our entire galaxy, which means there are tons of really really bright stars...those bright ones are extremely rare...so our night sky would be bright, wow you could like read at night...although we'd probably be dead, because these really big stars, they don't live very long, and they explode after just a few million years...and that would not be very good for us..."
YouTube: "Space in Your Face"
CCAPP is excited to welcome three new postdocs this fall! They are all excellent fits to the interests of many members of the department and CCAPP, and we are confident that they will serve as catalysts for many exciting science projects.
Katie Auchettl (presently finishing her PhD at Monash while working at Harvard CfA), who works on supernova remnants and high-energy astronomy.
Jordan Hanson (presently a postdoc at Kansas), who works on experimental high-energy neutrino astronomy.
Tim Linden (presently a postdoc at Chicago), who works on dark matter, galaxy properties, and binary stars. For Linden's first year, he will transfer his Einstein Fellowship.
John Beacom, professor, physics and astronomy, has been appointed to the Editorial Board of Physical Review Letters, the world's leading physics letters journal, operated and published by the American Physical Society. He will serve as a divisional associate editor for astrophysics, 2015-18. Term-appointed editors assist with article review processes, represent the interests of their research communities and help shape the scientific policy of the journal. Two other Ohio State physicists, Ulrich Heinz (while at CERN) and David Stroud, have previously served as divisional associate editors for Physical Review Letters.
Scott Adams and Kenny Ng were named as Presidential Fellows by the Graduate School. This is "the most prestigious award given by the Graduate School to recognize the outstanding scholarly accomplishments and potential of graduate students entering the final phase of their dissertation research." Scott studies the deaths of massive stars and is surveying nearby galaxies for stars vanishing to form a black hole without a luminous supernova. Kenny is interested in using astrophysical systems to probe new particle physics, and is currently studying the interactions between cosmic rays and the Sun.
Inspired by their experiences in college and elsewhere, these Pathfinders are passing by the typical, well-trod career paths and blazing their own trails. We'll explore the unconventional approaches these Big Ten alums and faculty are taking to work.
It's nature's greatest fireworks display: the supernova death of a bright, rare supergiant Wolf-Rayet star -- already several hundred times larger in diameter than our own sun -- which sends white-hot astroparticles flying millions of miles in multiple directions at close to the speed of light.
For Mauricio Bustamante, a postdoctoral fellow at Ohio State's Center for Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics (CCAPP), that sheer magnitude is fascinating. He spends much of his time studying gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), the largest explosions in the universe, via simulations of those levels of energy release.
A new study provides an inside look at the most powerful explosions in the universe: gamma-ray bursts. These rare explosions happen when extremely massive stars go supernova. The stars' strong magnetic fields channel most of the explosion's energy into two powerful plasma jets, one at each magnetic pole. The jets spray energetic particles for light-years in both directions, at close to light speed.
Mauricio Bustamante, a Fellow of the Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics at Ohio State, explained that the new computer model is a natural outgrowth of recent findings in astroparticle physics, such as the first confirmed cosmic neutrinos detected at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole in 2013.
Along with the CCAPP Director John Beacom and Science Board member Annika Peter, the Ohio Board of Regents Chencellor John Carey and Ohio State Vice President for Research Caroline Whitacre, as well as other dignitaries helped unveil the Ohio Supercomputer Center's (OSC's) new Ruby supercomputer on April 9, 2015 at the State of Ohio Computer Center on Ohio State's West Campus.
The Ruby Cluster is a 4800-core Intel Xeon processor-based machine with a theoretical peak performance of 144 teraFLOPS, tech-speak for 144 trillion calculations per second. CCAPP is one of two research groups that co-own Ruby with the OSC. This new facility will enable CCAPP researchers to better connect theoretical models to observations of astrophysical processes and objects.
Many thanks to Annika Peter for spearheading the CCAPP partnership with OSC, and to CCAPP and CCAPP faculty who contributed funds to make this possible.
The supercomputer system is named after Ruby Dee, an American actress, playwright, screenwriter, activist, poet and journalist. She was born Ruby Ann Wallace in Cleveland, Ohio, and grew up in New York's Harlem neighborhood. She is perhaps best known for starring in the 1961 film and subsequent stage production of A Raisin in the Sun. Dee and her husband, Ossie Davis, were very active in the Civil Rights Movement, participating in marches and speaking out for racial equality.
Read more about the dedication: "Chancellor helps OSC dedicate Ruby Cluster"
More about CCAPP Condo on Ruby Cluster...
Married couples working for the Ohio State University, including CCAPP's Faculty Annika Peter and Chris Hirata, are featured sharing their stories in this inspirational book on Scribd.
Couples answer questions like "How did you meet?", and "Pros and cons of both working at Ohio State together?", as well as discuss their research.
"A duet is a composition for two voices or instruments. And just as a musical composer weaves melodies and shades of tones to create a melodious whole, these academic couples work to combine their professional and private lives to achieve a harmonious result. Unlike musical harmony, the harmony of two demanding scientific careers lacks fixed and clear contours, and searching for harmony is not always a straightforward endeavor."
Read the full Scribd Article: Duets in the College of Arts and Sciences
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: www.askaspaceman.com
WAMC Northeast Public Radio Broadcast: Academic Minute Segment, "Cosmological Nothingness"
Newark Advocate: "Local astrophysicist starts 'Ask a Spaceman!' podcast"
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.
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.
"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...
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!"
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."
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?"
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: www.cosi.org
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: http://arxiv.org/abs/1411.5694
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.
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.
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 (http://collaborate.mozillascience.org/projects/trillian), 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 (http://dat-data.com) 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: http://trillianverse.org and http://collaborate.mozillascience.org/projects/trillian.
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 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...
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!
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
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...
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.