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$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

JoinedTour

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.

LUX ZEPLIN Primed to Take the Next Step Forward in the Search for Dark Matter

LUX ZEPLIN would be located inside the 72,000-gallon water tank now occupied by LUX in the Sanford Underground Research Facility’s Davis Campus, 4,850 feet below the surface. LZ’s inner vessel will hold seven metric tons of liquid xenon to detect weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs).

The LUX ZEPLIN (LZ) collaboration has received a major award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science to support a year of research and development leading to a second-generation dark-matter experiment. Co‑principal investigators of LUX ZEPLIN are Gil Gilchriese of Berkeley Lab’s Physics Division and Tom Shutt of Case Western Reserve University. Bill

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Gives a Big Boost to BigBOSS

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Through UC Berkeley and the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has made a $2.1 million grant to Berkeley Lab’s BigBOSS project. The grant funds the development of key technologies for modifying the 4-meter Mayall Telescope on Kitt Peak and constructing a precision instrument to study dark energy by mapping tens of millions of galaxies and quasars over the entire Northern Hemisphere sky.