astronomy

From Phys.org, Aug. 31: The Dark Energy Camera (DECam) developed and tested at Fermilab continues to make important discoveries. Astronomers have captured galaxy Centaurus A over 12 million light-years away and its size and proximity to Earth make it one of the best-studied giant galaxies in the night sky.

From the Patch Across America, Aug. 13, 2021: LIGO communications specialist Corey Gray translated gravitational wave astronomy to speakers of the indigenous Blackfoot language with the help of his mother. The story recounts his journey connecting the Blackfoot language to gravitational wave astronomy and details on his virtual event with Fermilab on Aug. 20.

A photo of a woman with long, bright-orange hair, wearing sunglasses on top of her head and a light green T-shirt, smiling. Behind her, greenery.

Whether in Serbia or Chicago, Fermilab postdoctoral researcher Aleksandra Ćiprijanović is working to unlock the secrets of the night sky. As a member of the Deep Skies Lab, an international collaboration of physicists, she’s figuring out how to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to better handle the huge amounts of data needed for discovery science.

From Tech2.org, Feb. 16, 2021: Though the findings from the Holometer mean that, for now, scientists still haven’t found a way to solve general relativity with quantum mechanics, its design and the research it enabled will shape future efforts to prove the intersection of relativity and quantum mechanics at Planck scales.

The Big Bang is the currently accepted theory for the origin of the universe. However, there are some who point to the existence of a very old star, called the Methuselah star, which is said to be even older. If that were true, this would imply that the Big Bang theory is wrong. In this 9-minute video, Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln explains how the Methuselah Star relates to the Big Bang.

From The University of Chicago Physical Sciences, Feb. 8, 2021: Fermilab scientist Richard Kron is retiring from the University of Chicago. He co-founded the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which created the most detailed 3-D maps of the universe and recorded the spectra for more than 3 million astronomical objects. His approach influenced the Dark Energy Survey, which created one of the most accurate dark matter maps of the universe and which Kron will continue to direct.

From NOIRLab, Feb. 8, 2021: The Dark Energy Camera, originally used to complete the Dark Energy Survey, has taken the most detailed photo of Messier 83, also known as the Southern Pinwheel galaxy. (In DECam’s second act, scientists can apply for time to use it to collect data that is then made publicly available.) In all, 163 DECam exposures went into creating this image.

From CNN, Feb. 4, 2021: Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln contextualizes a recent signal that some think may be a sign of extraterrestrial intelligence, explaining the hubbub around the recent a transmission originating from Proxima Centauri. With hope for hearing such a signal one day and pride for humanity’s legacy of looking skyward, Lincoln cautions against reading too much into this transmission, which hasn’t yet been vetted with scientific review.

Robot world

There is a world populated only by robots, roaming around or stuck in place. The hills and valleys are devoid of vegetation and not unlike some earthly desert scene. The sun is in a cloudless sky, but it is small, the light is dim; the sky is pale bluish grey. It is as cold as Antarctica in summer. The atmosphere is much too thin to breathe, and anyway it is mostly carbon dioxide. Sometimes dust storms are whipped up by fast winds. Can you guess what it is?