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Posts Tagged ‘astrophysics’

BOSS Quasars Track the Expanding Universe – the Most Precise Measurement Yet

April 7, 2014

The Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) pioneered the use of quasars to chart the universe’s expansion and investigate the properties of dark energy through studies of large-scale structure. New techniques of analysis led by Berkeley Lab scientists, combined with other new BOSS quasar measures of the young universe’s structure, have produced the most precise measurement of expansion since galaxies formed.

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Setting a Trap for Gravity Waves

March 18, 2014

In 1996 Uros Seljak was a postdoc at Harvard, contemplating ways to extract information from the cosmic microwave background (CMB). The distribution of anisotropies, slight temperature differences, in the CMB had much to say about the large-scale structure of the universe. If it were also possible to detect the polarization of the CMB itself, however, [...]

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Standard-Candle Supernovae are Still Standard, but Why?

March 3, 2014

Until recently, scientists thought they knew why Type Ia supernovae – the best cosmological “standard candles” – are all so much alike. But their favorite scenario was wrong. White dwarfs don’t all reach the Chandrasekhar limit, 1.4 times the mass of our sun, before they detonate in a massive thermonuclear explosion. Most Type Ia progenitors are less massive, and a few are even more massive. New work by the Berkeley Lab-based Nearby Supernova Factory can identify which theories of the strange circumstances that lead to a Type Ia explosion actually work and which don’t.

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Searching for Cosmic Accelerators Via IceCube

November 21, 2013

New results from IceCube, the neutrino observatory buried at the South Pole, may show the way to locating and identifying cosmic accelerators in our galaxy that are 40 million times more powerful than the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

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New Results from Daya Bay – Tracking the Disappearance of Ghostlike Neutrinos

August 21, 2013

New results about the oscillation of neutrinos – elusive, ghostlike particles that carry invaluable clues about the makeup of the early universe – have been announced by the Daya Bay Collaboration, an international experiment taking place outside of Hong Kong.

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First Hundred Thousand Years of Our Universe

August 7, 2013

Berkeley Lab researchers take the furthest look back through time yet – 100 years to 300,000 years after the Big Bang – and find tantalizing new hints of clues as to what might have happened.

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Unusual Supernova is Doubly Unusual for Being Perfectly Normal

June 19, 2013

Type Ia supernovae are indispensable milestones for measuring the expansion of the universe. With definitive measures of Supernova 2011fe, the same “Backyard Supernova” that thrilled amateur and professional astronomers alike in the summer of 2011, the Nearby Supernova Factory led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory demonstrates that this unusually close-by Type Ia is such a perfect example of its kind that future Type Ia’s – and models meant to explain their physics – must be measured against it.

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Planck Mission Updates the Age of the Universe and What it Contains

March 21, 2013

At a March 21 NASA telephone news conference, scientists from the U.S. team participating in the European Space Agency’s Planck mission to map the cosmic microwave background (CMB) discussed Planck’s first cosmological results, including some surprising news. For one thing, the universe is 13.82 billion years old, a hundred million years older than previously thought, [...]

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The Last Big Bump Before a Supernova Explodes

February 6, 2013

The Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) brings together universities, observatories, and one national laboratory to hunt for supernovae and other astronomical objects. At the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) Berkeley Lab processes and stores the data from PTF’s surveys, which use the Oschin Telescope at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory.
On August 25, 2010, PTF’s “autonomous machine-learning [...]

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The Farthest Supernova Yet for Measuring Cosmic History

January 9, 2013

In 2004 the Supernova Cosmology Project used the Hubble Space Telescope to find a tantalizing supernova that appeared to be almost 10 billion light-years distant. But Berkeley Lab scientists had to wait until a new camera was installed on the Hubble years later before they could confirm the candidate’s identity and redshift as a Type Ia “standard candle.” The spectrum and light curve of supernova SCP-0401 are now known with clarity; it is the supernova furthest back in time that can be used for precise measurements of the expansion history of the universe.

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