Cosmic inflation may have imprinted a distinctive pattern, associated with so-called B-Modes, on the polarization pattern of the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation on degree angular scales. A team including several KIPAC researchers will be attempting to detect this key signal using the BICEP2 telescope over the next two years, following its "first light"... Read More
Core-collapse supernovae are some of the biggest explosions in the universe - but exactly how the immense amount of energy released is converted into a form we can observe has puzzled astrophysicists for many decades. The Computational Astrophysics Consortium, which includes KIPAC, studies these systems via state-of-the-art hydrodynamic (HD) and magneto-hydrodynamic... Read More
The extent to which the cool, dense gas at the centers of massive galaxy clusters can be disrupted remains an outstanding question in astrophysics. Although physical processes such as mergers and central galaxy activity have been shown to suppress cooling and therefore star formation in the central gas, the cool core has almost always been observed to remain more or... Read More
Among the successes of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is its discovery of the gamma-ray emission from many pulsars, the fascinating beacons in space. Additionally, KIPAC scientists have also used what Fermi has not seen from some pulsars to learn more about them. Locations of a selection of pulsars seen in gamma rays by Fermi, on top of a map of the diffuse... Read More
Data from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has revealed a new gamma-ray binary, a rare class of object in which a gamma ray source is in orbit around a star. Artist's conception of an X-ray binary in which a star and a black hole are in orbit around each other. The black hole pulls mass off the star, which interacts in the extreme conditions surrounding the... Read More
In a nice marriage of theory and experiment, KIPAC scientists have investigated the effects of small layers of contamination on optical surfaces, which is important in building the super telescope that will probe dark energy. The stars are the measured light change through a glass disk with a ~13 micron layer of condensed water on it. The colored curves are the... Read More
By turning their gaze to small satellite galaxies where the total mass is most dominated by dark matter, astrophysicists using data from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have achieved the tightest constraints on the properties of dark matter particles to date. Optical image of the Fornax satellite galaxy, one of the dwarf galaxies used in the Fermi-LAT analysis... Read More
Ever resourceful, physicists, including several KIPAC scientists, have been using the specialized processors in computer graphics display cards to speed up some of the calculations that arise in data analysis. In the coming era of large astronomical surveys for weak lensing constraints on dark energy, such speed will be essential. Example of the mass distribution... Read More
Both instruments on the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have seen a gamma-ray burst also detected by other observatories, giving scientists a unique opportunity to learn more about these enigmatic blasts. Photograph of the Fermi GBM before launch. The detectors consist of scintillator materials in which incoming gamma rays make a track of glowing light. Gamma-ray... Read More
The origin of the extragalactic gamma-ray background remains a cosmic and high energy physics enigma as KIPAC scientists have estimated the contribution to it from blazars in two different ways. Estimate of the total cumulative flux from blazars above a given flux value. The level of the gamma-ray background is shown by the dashed line. In distant active galactic... Read More