Department Events


Revolutionizing Our View of Solar System Birth and Multiple Star Formation

Mon, Feb 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm

131 Campbell Hall

John Tobin (Leiden)

Proto-planetary disks are the birthplaces of planetary systems and they are thought to form at the onset of star formation due to conservation of angular momentum. These very young disks may also be massive enough to be gravitationally unstable due to the rapid infall of mass from the collapsing cloud, enabling companion stars and possibly giant planets to form …

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Dwarf galaxies and their satellites as extreme probes of LCDM

Tue, Feb 9, 2016 at 1:00 pm

131 Campbell Hall

Laura Sales (Riverside)

Dwarf galaxies are extremely diverse in their morphology, from rotationally-supported star-forming disks to gas-free spheroidal stellar systems with no star-formation and negligible rotation. We use cosmological hydrodynamical simulations to show that environment plays a significant role on the assembly history, star formation and globular cluster population of dwarfs, solving a long-standing …

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Tidal/Rotational Distortion and Interior Modeling from Shape and Gravity

Wed, Feb 10, 2016 at 3:00 pm

131 Campbell Hall

Doug Hemingway (UC Berkeley)

Synchronous satellites experience both rotational flattening and permanent tidal elongation, the magnitudes of which carry information about the deep internal structure. For icy satellites like Enceladus, additional shape and gravity anomalies can arise from variations in the thickness of the icy crust. Using a self-consistency argument, we separate the observed shape and gravity anomalies in …

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Department Lunch Talk 2-11

Thu, Feb 11, 2016 at 12:30 pm

131 Campbell Hall

Hiroki Nagakura (Yukawa Institute of Theoretical Physics)
Jamie Lloyd (Cornell)
Dovi Poznanski (Tel Aviv University)

The Department Lunch Talk series is a weekly event that features three 20 minute talks presented mainly by local scientists of any level to present their work to a broad spectrum of the department and usually includes one short talk by the astronomy colloquium speaker of the day.  Subjects can include personal scientific research, reporting on other work appearing in journals, education and public outreach efforts, science policy, and professional development issues.

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Formation and Compositions of Planet Interiors and Atmospheres: Discoveries from Kepler, K2, and Beyond

Thu, Feb 18, 2016 at 4:00 pm

1 LeConte Hall

Erik Petigura (Caltech)

I will give an overview of the current state of exoplanet astronomy, highlighting some of the major achievements of the recently completed Kepler mission. Today, K2 is building upon that rich legacy by surveying 14x more sky than Kepler, casting a wide net for planets around nearby bright stars that are more amenable to precise characterization. I will present some of my group's latest K2 …

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Exoplanets in HD

Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 4:00 pm

1 LeConte Hall

Jacob Bean (Chicago)

Exoplanet surveys have revealed an amazing diversity of planets orbiting other stars in the last two decades. Studying the atmospheres of representative objects is the key next step in leveraging these detections to further transform our understanding of planet formation and planetary physics. Additionally, atmospheric studies are critical for determining if any of the …

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The Architecture of Exoplanetary Systems

Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 4:00 pm

1 LeConte Hall

Joshua Winn (MIT)

The basic geometry of the Solar System - the shapes, spacings, andorientations of the planetary orbits - has long been a subject offascination as well as inspiration for planet-formation theories. For exoplanetary systems, those same properties have only recently come into focus. I will review our current knowledge of the occurrence of planets around other stars, their orbital …

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The Milky Way Laboratory

Thu, Feb 4, 2016 at 4:00 pm

1 LeConte Hall

Cara Battersby (Harvard CfA)

Our home Galaxy, the Milky Way, is our closest laboratory for studying physical processes throughout the Universe.  Submillimeter observations of the cool, dense gas and dust in our Milky Way provide insights on universal processes including how stars form in both 'regular' and 'extreme' environments and how gas is organized on galactic scales.  On a tour through our …

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`Retired’ Planet Hosts: Not So Massive, Maybe Just Portly After Lunch

Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 3:00 pm

131 Campbell Hall

James Lloyd (Cornell, Miller Professor)

Studies of the planet abundance as a function of stellar mass have shown a strong increase in the frequency of radial velocity planets around stars more massive than 1.5 times the mass of the sun, and that such stars are deficit in short period planets. These planet searches have relied on subgiant and giant stars for a sample of high mass stars, which are otherwise hostile to precision …

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ν Physics in the CMB

Tue, Feb 2, 2016 at 1:00 pm

131 Campbell Hall

Daniel Green (CITA/Berkeley)

I will describe the measurement of the cosmic neutrino background using the CMB and the implications for beyond the Standard Model physics. I will explain the importance of a CMB Stage IV experiment for these goals.

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Exoplanets: Under a Microscope, and Through a Wide-field Lens

Mon, Feb 1, 2016 at 12:00 pm

131 Campbell Hall

Sarah Ballard (MIT)

The Solar System furnishes the most familiar planetary architecture: many planets, orbiting nearly coplanar to one another. We can examine the composition and atmospheres of the Solar System planets in detail, even occasionally in situ. Studies of planets orbiting other stars (exoplanets), in contrast, only begin to approach the precision of humanity's knowledge of Earth five hundred years …

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The Frequency and Composition of Small Exoplanets

Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 4:00 pm

1 LeConte Hall

Courtney Dressing (Caltech)

Over the past twenty years, ground- and space-based investigations have revealed that our galaxy is teeming with planetary systems and that Earth-sized planets are common. I will focus on the results of the NASA Kepler mission and describe two investigations of the frequency and composition of small planets. First, I analyzed Kepler observations of small stars and measured …

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