Events Archive

The Missing Pages of Cosmic History

Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 1:00 pm

131 Campbell Hall

Anastasia Fialkov (Harvard)

The first 400 Myr of cosmic history are extremely challenging to model and observe, but at the same time are also deeply important to understand since some of the crucial events in cosmic history, such as the formation of the very first stars, took place in that time window. Perhaps the most promising way to fill in the missing pages of cosmic history is by detecting the 21-cm signal of …

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LIGO discovery of a Binary Black Hole Merger

Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 12:00 pm

131 Campbell Hall

Vicky Kalogera (Northwestern)

I will review the analysis of the first Advanced LIGO observations that launched the era of gravitational-wave astrophysics with the discovery of the GW150914 merger: data search, signal characterization, measurements of source properties. I will discuss how this observation enables the first tests of general relativity in the strong-field regime and what this discovery implies for black-hole …

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An Unseen Planet in the Solar System

Thu, Mar 10, 2016 at 4:00 pm

1 LeConte Hall

Konstantin Batygin (Caltech)

Beyond the orbit of Neptune, lies an expansive field of icy debris, known as the Kuiper belt. For the most part, the collective orbital structure of the Kuiper belt can be understood within the framework the present-day solar system. However, recent analyses have shown that distant orbits that belong to the scattered disk population of the Kuiper belt exhibit an unexpected alignment in …

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Department Lunch Talk 3-10

Thu, Mar 10, 2016 at 12:30 pm

131 Campbell Hall

Jason Wang (UC Berkeley)
Anna Franckowiak (DESY)
Konstantin Batygin (Caltech)

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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Thermally triggered viscous flow and formation of the tiger-stripe fractures in the South Polar Terrain of Saturn’s moon Enceladus

Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 3:00 pm

131 Campbell Hall

An Yin (UCLA)

The tiger-stripe fractures in the South Polar Terrain of Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus emit vapor jets contributing to the formation of Saturn’s E ring. Despite their spectacular display of active geologic processes, the origin of the fractures and their hosting South Polar Terrain remains poorly understood. In this talk I will show, via systematic analysis of high-resolution …

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The Hidden Monsters: Obscured AGN in the era of NuSTAR and WISE

Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 1:00 pm

131 Campbell Hall

Ryan Hickox (Dartmouth)

The study of powerful, highly obscured accreting black holes has recently seen dramatic advances with hard X-ray observations from NuSTAR and mid-infrared data from WISE. These "hidden" obscured quasars were for a long time elusive, but we can now identify millions of these objects across most the sky, and characterize the nature of their obscuration and their role in the formation …

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The Journey of High-Energy Photons in Blazar Jets

Mon, Mar 7, 2016 at 12:00 pm

131 Campbell Hall

Lorenzo Sironi (Harvard)

We investigate the origin and the fate of high-energy photons in blazar jets, by means of first-principles particle-in-cell (PIC) kinetic simulations. In magnetically-dominated jets, magnetic reconnection is often invoked as a mechanism to transfer the jet magnetic energy to the emitting particles, thus powering the observed non-thermal emission. With 2D and 3D PIC simulations, we show that …

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Exoplanets in the SHREK Era

Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 4:00 pm

1 LeConte Hall

Andrew Howard (Hawaii)

Earth-size exoplanets and their slightly larger ‘super-Earth’ cousins are the most abundant planets orbiting close to Sun-like stars.  These planets have diverse physical compositions, unusual atmospheres, and poorly understood origins.  My talk will start by tracing the discovery and early characterization of these small worlds.  I will then focus on SHREK, a …

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CIPS Seminar: Enceladus Series 3-2

Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 3:00 pm

131 Campbell Hall

Miki Nakajima (Caltech)
Michael Manga (Berkeley)

This weeks CIPS Seminar will feature two speakers (please continuing reading for complete abstracts and titles).

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Mapping missing matter with the South Pole Telescope and other mm/submm-wave telescopes

Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 1:00 pm

131 Campbell Hall

Gil Holder (McGill)

There are issues of dark or missing matter on scales ranging over 12 orders of magnitude that can be addressed with CMB experiments.  On cosmological scales, we can make mass maps using lensing of the CMB. I'll show recent results from the South Pole Telescope using these mass maps to investigate the connection between dark matter and galaxies in the Dark Energy Survey.  On …

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Stars In Motion: Impact in Star Formation, Compact Objects, and Galactic Centers

Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 12:00 pm

131 Campbell Hall

Jessica Lu (Hawaii)

High-precision infrared astrometry has enabled unique experiments in many fields of astronomy, especially the study of the disk and center of our Galaxy. I will present results from our astrometric experiments to (1) test theories of star formation and the universality of the initial mass function, (2) search for free-floating stellar mass black holes using astrometric microlensing, …

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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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Department Lunch Talk 2/25 - LIGO Results

Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 12:30 pm

131 Campbell Hall

Francois Foucart (UC Berkeley)
Philipp Moesta (UC Berkeley)
Jenni Barnes (UC Berkeley)

Francois Foucart (UC Berkeley) - "The Recent LIGO Results: Discussion" Philipp Moesta (UC Berkeley) - "The Future of LIGO: Improvements and Science" Jenni Barnes (UC Berkeley) - "LIGO Followup with Other Observing Techniques"

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CIPS Seminar: Enceladus Series 2-24

Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 3:00 pm

131 Campbell Hall

Rob De Rosa (UC Berkeley)
François Soubiran (UC Berkeley)

This weeks CIPS Seminar will feature two speakers (please continuing reading for complete abstracts and titles).

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Modeling Galaxies in the Era of Precision Cosmology: An open source approach with Halotools

Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 1:00 pm

131 Campbell Hall

Andrew Hearin (Yale)

In this talk, I will review how models of the galaxy-halo connection can provide constraints on cosmology and insight into galaxy formation physics. Theoretical predictions in conventional formulations of these models are plagued by persistent systematic errors, for example due to uncertainty associated with "assembly bias". As galaxy surveys continue to provide ever more precise …

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