Astronomy Stories
It isn’t often that our Capital Science Evening speaker hints at soon-to-be-breaking news right from the stage. Tuesday night, Pierre Cox, Director of the Atacama Large Milimiter/submillimeter...
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Washington, DC—The violent event that likely preceded our Solar System’s formation holds the solution to a longstanding meteorite mystery, says new work from Carnegie’s Alan Boss...
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Los telescopios Magallanes del Observatorio Las Campanas. Crédito: Leon Aslan.
Pasadena, CA- Los ancestros de algunos de los mayores cúmulos de galaxias han estado ocultos a plena vista. Un nuevo trabajo dirigido por Andrew Newman, de Carnegie, demuestra una nueva t...
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Star trails over the Magellan telescopes at Las Campanas courtesy Leon Aslan.
Pasadena, CA— The ancestors of some of the largest galaxy clusters have been hiding in plain sight. New work led by Carnegie’s Andrew Newman demonstrates a new technique for identifying...
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Andrómeda cortesía de la NASA/Bill Cook.
Pasadena, CA- Un análisis detallado de la composición y el movimiento de más de 500 estrellas reveló pruebas concluyentes de una antigua colisión entre Andró...
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The Andromeda Galaxy. Credit: NASA/MSFC/Meteoroid Environment Office/Bill Cook
Pasadena, CA— A detailed analysis of the composition and motion of more than 500 stars revealed conclusive evidence of ancient a collision between Andromeda and a neighboring galaxy. The...
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Pasadena, CA— A team of astronomers led by University of Michigan’s Ian Roederer and including Carnegie’s Erika Holmbeck have identified the widest range of elements yet observed in...
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Alan Boss
Washington, DC— Carnegie’s Alan Boss was named one of 23 new Fellows of the American Astronomical Society. The honorees were chosen for their “extraordinary achievement and service...
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The recent discovery that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate has profoundly affected physics. If the universe were gravity-dominated then it should be decelerating. These contrary results suggest a new form of “dark energy”—some kind of repulsive force—is...
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The Giant Magellan Telescope will be one member of the next class of super giant earth-based telescopes that promises to revolutionize our view and understanding of the universe. It will be constructed in the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Commissioning of the telescope is scheduled to begin in...
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The Carnegie-Spitzer-IMACS (CSI) survey, currently underway at the Magellan-Baade 6.5m telescope in Chile, has been specifically designed to characterize normal galaxies and their environments at a distance of about 4 billion years post Big Bang, expresses by astronomers as  z=1.5. The survey...
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Globular clusters are spherical systems of some 100,000  gravitationally bound stars. They are among the oldest components of our galaxy and are key to understanding the age and scale of the universe. Previous measurements of their distances have compared the characteristics of different types...
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Andrew Newman works in several areas in extragalactic astronomy, including the distribution of dark matter--the mysterious, invisible  matter that makes up most of the universe--on galaxies, the evolution of the structure and dynamics of massive early galaxies including dwarf galaxies,...
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While the planets in our Solar System are astonishingly diverse, all of them move around the Sun in approximately the same orbital plane, in the same direction, and primarily in circular orbits. Over the past 25 years Butler's work has focused on improving the measurement precision of stellar...
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Washington, D.C.— Quasars--supermassive black holes found at the center of distant massive galaxies--are the most-luminous beacons in the sky. These central supermassive black holes actively accrete...
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Over 20 years ago, Carnegie astronomer emeritus Alan Dressler chaired the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and Beyond Committee. The group...
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Audio Pasadena, CA—Something is amiss in the Universe. There appears to be an enormous deficit of ultraviolet light in the cosmic budget. The vast reaches of empty space between galaxies are bridged...
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June 28, 2022

Washington, DC—The violent event that likely preceded our Solar System’s formation holds the solution to a longstanding meteorite mystery, says new work from Carnegie’s Alan Boss published in The Astrophysical Journal.

The raw material from which our Solar System was constructed was dispersed when the shock wave from an exploding supernova injected material into a cloud of dust and gas, causing it to collapse in on itself. In the aftermath of this event, most of the injected matter was gravitationally drawn into the center of the whirlwind, where the intense buildup of pressure enabled nuclear fusion to commence, and the Sun was born. The young star was

Los telescopios Magallanes del Observatorio Las Campanas. Crédito: Leon Aslan.
June 15, 2022

Pasadena, CA- Los ancestros de algunos de los mayores cúmulos de galaxias han estado ocultos a plena vista. Un nuevo trabajo dirigido por Andrew Newman, de Carnegie, demuestra una nueva técnica para identificar los precursores de los entornos galácticos más extremos. Los hallazgos del equipo fueron publicados en Nature. 

Al igual que todos nosotros, las galaxias están formadas y moldeadas por su entorno. Para obtener una imagen completa de las diversas influencias físicas en el ciclo de vida de una galaxia, es crucial rastrear la aparición de propiedades causadas por factores ambientales a medida que surgen.

"Hace

Star trails over the Magellan telescopes at Las Campanas courtesy Leon Aslan.
June 15, 2022

Pasadena, CA— The ancestors of some of the largest galaxy clusters have been hiding in plain sight. New work led by Carnegie’s Andrew Newman demonstrates a new technique for identifying the precursors of the most extreme galactic environments. The team’s findings are published in Nature.  

Like all of us, galaxies are shaped and molded by their surroundings. To obtain a complete picture of the various physical influences on a galaxy’s lifecycle, it’s crucial to trace the emergence of properties caused by environmental factors as they arise.

“We’ve known for a long time that the colors, masses, and shapes of galaxies depend on

Andrómeda cortesía de la NASA/Bill Cook.
June 13, 2022

Pasadena, CA- Un análisis detallado de la composición y el movimiento de más de 500 estrellas reveló pruebas concluyentes de una antigua colisión entre Andrómeda y una galaxia vecina. Los hallazgos, que mejoran nuestra comprensión de los acontecimientos que dan forma a la evolución de las galaxias, fueron presentados por Ivanna Escala, de Carnegie, el lunes en la reunión de la Sociedad Astronómica Americana.

Las galaxias crecen por acumulación de material procedente de objetos cercanos -otras galaxias y densas agrupaciones de estrellas llamadas cúmulos globulares-, a menudo tras un choque catastr

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The recent discovery that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate has profoundly affected physics. If the universe were gravity-dominated then it should be decelerating. These contrary results suggest a new form of “dark energy”—some kind of repulsive force—is driving the universe. To get a grasp of dark energy, it is extremely important that scientists get the most accurate measurements possible of Type Ia supernovae. These are specific types of exploring stars with exceptional luminosity that allow astronomers to determine distances and the acceleration rate at different distances. At the moment, the reality of the accelerating universe remains

The fund supports a postdoctoral fellowship in astronomy that rotates between the Carnegie Science departments of Terrestrial Magnetism in Washington, D.C., and the Observatories in Pasadena California. 

Along with Alycia Weinberger and Ian Thompson, Alan Boss has been running the Carnegie Astrometric Planet Search (CAPS) program, which searches for extrasolar planets by the astrometric method, where the planet's presence is detected indirectly through the wobble of the host star around the center of mass of the system. With over eight years of CAPSCam data, they are beginning to see likely true astrometric wobbles beginning to appear. The CAPSCam planet search effort is on the verge of yielding a harvest of astrometrically discovered planets, as well as accurate parallactic distances to many young stars and M dwarfs. For more see  http://instrumentation.obs.carnegiescience.edu/

The Carnegie Irvine Galaxy Survey is obtaining high-quality optical and near-infrared images of several hundred of the brightest galaxies in the southern hemisphere sky, at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory to investigate the structural properties of galaxies. For more see    http://cgs.obs.carnegiescience.edu/CGS/Home.html

The earliest galaxies are those that are most distant. Staff associate Dan Kelson is interested in how these ancient relics evolved. The latest generation of telescopes and advanced spectrographs—instruments that analyze light to determine properties of celestial objects—allow astronomers to accurately measure enormous numbers of distant galaxies. Kelson uses the Magellan 6.5-meter telescopes and high-resolution imaging from the Hubble Space Telescope to study distant galaxies.His observations of their masses, sizes and morphologies allow him to directly measure their stars' aging to infer their formation history. Kelson is the principal investigator of the Carnegie-

Staff astronomer emeritus Eric Persson headed a group that develops and uses telescope instrumentation to exploit new near-infrared (IR) imaging array detectors. The team built a wide-field survey camera for the du Pont 2.5-meter telescope at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, and the first of two cameras for the Magellan Baade telescope. Magellan consortium astronomers use the Baade camera for various IR-imaging projects, while his group focuses on distant galaxies and supernovae.

Until recently, it was difficult to find large numbers of galaxies at near-IR wavelengths. But significant advances in the size of IR detector arrays have allowed the Persson group

Galacticus is not a super hero; it’s a super model used to determine the formation and evolution of the galaxies. Developed by Andrew Benson, the George Ellery Hale Distinguished Scholar in Theoretical Astrophysics, it is one of the most advanced models of galaxy formation available.

Rather than building his model around observational data, Benson’s Galacticus relies on known laws of physics and the so-called N-body problem, which predicts the motions of celestial bodies that interact gravitationally in groups. Galacticus’ now an open- source model produces results as stunning 3-D videos.

Some 80% of the matter in the universe cannot be seen. This unseen

Some 40 thousand tons of extraterrestrial material fall on Earth every year. This cosmic debris provides cosmochemist Conel Alexander with information about the formation of the Solar System, our galaxy, and perhaps the origin of life.

Alexander studies meteorites to determine what went on before and during the formation of our Solar System. Meteorites are fragments of asteroids—small bodies that originated between Mars and Jupiter—and are likely the last remnants of objects that gave rise to the terrestrial planets. He is particularly interested in the analysis of chondrules, millimeter-size spherical objects that are the dominant constituent of the most primitive