KIPAC Blog

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
The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, famous for probing the Galaxy and distant reaches of the Universe, has now seen its first flare from our own Sun. Ultraviolet light image of a solar flare, seen as a bright patch by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) satellite. One of the three main instruments on SDO was built at Stanford. Since gamma rays are the... Read More
An analysis of X-ray observations has provided the clearest picture to date of the size, mass, and matter content of a giant cluster of galaxies. The study also provides the first direct evidence that the multi-million-degree gas in the cluster's outskirts is clumped into enormous clouds. X-ray images of the Perseus cluster on top of an optical one. The colors... Read More
A new prediction of the density and velocity distribution of dark matter particles at our position in the Galaxy has provided a revised estimate of the likely detection rates for dark matter in particle physics experiments. Typical conception of the halo of dark matter surrounding the Galaxy. Looking at all of the bright stars in the sky, it is easy to forget... Read More
Unifying the astronomically near and far, the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has seen its first signature of cosmic rays interacting with the light from our Sun. The left panel shows the LAT gamma rays per pixel from near the Sun and the right panel shows the same for another patch of sky. There is a clear large flux from the solar disk and a less dense but... Read More
A KIPAC researcher uses images of very distant galaxies to learn about somewhat nearer galaxies, through the phenomenon of gravitational lensing. The right panel shows a background galaxy with the image of the lens galaxy (in the center) removed. A proper model of the mass distribution of the lens galaxy results in the reconstructed shape for the background galaxy... Read More
By realistically simulating a population of gamma-ray bursts, KIPAC scientists have demonstrated the extent to which these explosions can be mischaracterized when they are far away. The observed duration of a GRB pulse as a function of distance (redshift) for both an ideal (Without Noise) and a realistic (With Noise) observing instrument. The actual observed... Read More
Scientists from KIPAC and the SLAC theory department have demonstrated that astrophysical observations from the Fermi Gamma-ray space telescope can probe the validity of a class of famous particle physics theories known as supersymmetry. Example of SUSY models allowed given current Fermi-LAT observations, in the plane of lightest supersymmetric particle mass (X-... Read More
The discovery of gamma-ray flares in the Crab Nebula was rated by Astronomy Magazine as the number two space story of 2011. Now KIPAC scientists report on another, larger, flaring episode, and are beginning to crack the mystery of why this source can be so variable. Gamma-ray flux from the Crab Nebula as measured by the Fermi-LAT for 14 days in April, 2011. The... Read More
Newly detailed computer simulations show how magnetic fields grew in the first stars, and may change our view of the Universe's original shiny objects. Magnetic energy map of a forming star in the simulations. Columns from left to right show increasing resolution of simulation. Rows from top to bottom show the view zooming in from far away. It is well established... Read More

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