astrophysics

The first undergraduate on the Event Horizon Telescope to receive junior collaborator status thrives in the unknown. In his nearly two years with the team, he has developed computer libraries for data analysis and modeling, made movies of black holes and assisted with weather prediction.

For the first time, a team of scientists has used the orientation of light left over from the early universe to detect gravitational lensing from galaxy clusters – the bending of light around these massive objects. Using gravitational lensing data taken by the South Pole Telescope and the Dark Energy Camera, Fermilab scientist Brad Benson and colleagues have demonstrated a new way to “weigh” galaxy clusters and ultimately shed light on dark matter, dark energy and other mysteries of the cosmos.

From CNN, Jan. 1, 2020: Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln discusses how Betelgeuse, a star in the constellation Orion and one of the brightest stars in the heavens, has observably dimmed in recent months, a sign that some astronomers interpret as a warning that the star will explode in one of the most powerful and dramatic events in all of the cosmos — a supernova.

From Gizmodo, Dec. 13, 2019: Fermilab scientist Dan Hooper is quoted in this article on a new paper that says dark matter could be responsible for the mysterious observation of gamma rays in the center of our galaxy.

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, a flagship astronomy and astrophysics project currently under construction on a mountaintop in Chile, will be named for astronomer Vera Rubin, a key figure in the history of the search for dark matter.

One night in 1939, Professor Pierre Auger’s daughter asked him, “Papa, what are you doing?” In French, of course. “I’m studying the sparkles on the roof,” he said, with a twinkle in his eye. He had discovered that very energetic subatomic particles coming from outer space, cosmic rays, smash into atoms in the upper atmosphere making huge showers of particles that reach the ground.

From New Scientist, Dec. 11, 2019: Fermilab scientist Dan Hooper is quoted in this article on what scientists mean when they talk about the Big Bang. The best evidence for the big bang is all around us in the cosmic microwave background, the radiation released once the universe had cooled sufficiently for atoms to form, when it was about 380,000 years old. And that is the point: everywhere in today’s universe was where the big bang was.

Scientists at CERN have found a way to learn more about the interior of neutron stars using the Large Hadron Collider. Researchers on the ALICE experiment are uncovering the properties of elusive hyperon particles hypothesized to be found inside neutron stars.

From The Mac Observer, Nov. 25, 2019: In this 30-minute podcast episode, Fermilab scientist Dan Hooper recounts how he caught the astrophysics bug as an undergraduate, landed a postdoc position at Oxford and was later hired at Fermilab. He chats about his interest in the interface between particle physics and cosmology, dark matter and what neutrinos can tell us about the early universe.