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Planetarium Show Brings ‘Phantom’ Matter to Life

Image - A pioneering dark matter discovery by astronomer Vera Rubin, who is shown in this rendering peering through a telescope, is described in a new planetarium show. (Credit: "Phantom of the Universe")

A new planetarium show, produced in part by Berkeley Lab’s Michael Barnett, is designed to immerse audiences in the search for dark matter, which we have so far detected only through its gravitational effects.

World’s Most Sensitive Dark Matter Detector Completes Search

The LZ water shield, currently housing the LUX experiment.

The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) dark matter experiment, which, with the help of Berkeley Lab researchers, operates beneath a mile of rock at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in the Black Hills of South Dakota, has completed its search for the missing matter of the universe. At a meeting in the UK, LUX scientific collaborators presented the results from the detector’s final 20-month run.

$40M to Establish New Observatory Probing Early Universe

Photo - The Simons Array will be located in Chile's High Atacama Desert, at an elevation of about 17,000 feet. The site currently hosts the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (bowl-shaped structure at upper right) and the Simons Array (the three telescopes at the bottom left, middle and right). The Simons Observatory will incorporate several new telescopes and set the stage for a next-generation experiment. (University of Pennsylvania)

A new astronomy facility, the Simons Observatory, is planned in Chile’s Atacama Desert to boost ongoing studies of the evolution of the universe, from its earliest moments to today. The observatory will probe the subtle properties of the universe’s first light, known as cosmic microwave background radiation.

Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley Scientists to Participate in New NASA Space Telescope Project

Image - A rendering of NASA's WFIRST with a background image of a spiral galaxy and supernova.

Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley scientists will play a role in a new NASA space telescope project exploring dark energy, alien worlds and the evolution of galaxies, galaxy clusters and the large-scale structure of the universe.

New Results from World’s Most Sensitive Dark Matter Detector

A view inside the LUX detector. (Photo by Matthew Kapust/Sanford Underground Research Facility)

A new set of calibration techniques employed by LUX scientists has again dramatically improved the detector’s sensitivity.

Notes from the Particle Physics Underground


The town of Lead South Dakota has a hidden gem: an enormous, underground mine that’s been retrofitted to accommodate large-scale particle physics experiments. These slideshows and videos give a sense of what it’s like to descend 4,850 feet below the surface and work on projects that could shine light on fundamental truths about the universe.

New Visitor Center in South Dakota Highlights Underground Science

The Open Cut is an inactive mine pit that draws more than 40,000 visitors to Lead, SD every year. Credit: Kate Greene, Berkeley Lab

The Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center, a facility that highlights Homestake Mine’s gold and silver past and particle physics future, held its grand opening ceremony on June 30.

What to Expect Next from the World’s Largest Particle Accelerator

Hydraulic connections of the Fast Cycle Magnet cable to allow the cooling of the magnet’s conductor ( Cable in conduit type) with supercritical helium. Credit: Maximilien Brice

Berkeley Lab researchers, Beate Heinemann and Peter Jacobs were on a recent panel of scientists that discussed the scientific implications of this new and improved accelerator.

BOSS Measures the Universe to One-Percent Accuracy

The Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), the largest component of the third Sloan Digital Sky Survey, has measured the clustering of nearly 1.3 million galaxies spectroscopically to determine the “standard ruler” of the universe’s large-scale structure to within one percent. This is the most precise such measurement ever made and is likely to establish the standard for years to come.

First Results from LUX, the World’s Most Sensitive Dark Matter Detector

The LUX dark matter experiment at the Sanford Underground Research Facility has announced its first results in the search for weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs). Following an initial three-month run, LUX has demonstrated that it has a sensitivity limit three times better than any previous dark matter search, establishing new bounds on possible properties of WIMPs.