Department News

The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture in Astronomy

The Department of Astronomy presents: The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture in Astronomy "A Decade at Saturn" with Carolyn Porco, Director of the Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 5:00pm Lecture Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Engineering Center UC Berkeley

TAGS: faculty, Carolyn Porco, Sackler Lecture

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Link to 'Professor Eugene Chiang Receives 2014 Distinguished Teaching Award'

Professor Eugene Chiang Receives 2014 Distinguished Teaching Award

On March 13th 2014, Chancellor Nicholas Dirks announced faculty member Dr. Eugene Chiang as a recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Teaching Award. Dr. Chiang has been a professor with the Astronomy department since 2001 and currently serves as director of the Berkeley Center for Integrative Planetary Science. His research focuses on theoretical astrophysics, with an emphasis on understanding …

TAGS: faculty, awards, Eugene Chiang, Distinguished Teaching, undergraduate

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Geoff Marcy Profiled in New York Times

Geoff Marcy was recently profiled in the New York Times for his work and achievements as the world's premiere "Planet Hunter". 

TAGS: video, New York Times

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Link to 'Closest, brightest supernova in decades is also a little weird'

Closest, brightest supernova in decades is also a little weird

A supernova discovered by Alex Filippenko and his research team is causing scientists to ask new questions about exploding stars and how we currently understand the expanding universe. Full article found here.

TAGS: Supernova, Alex Filippenko, WeiKeng Zheng

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Cosmic Census Finds Billions of Planets That Could Be Like Earth

"One out of every five sunlike stars in the galaxy has a planet the size of Earth circling it in the Goldilocks zone — not too hot, not too cold — where surface temperatures should be compatible with liquid water, according to a herculean three-year calculation based on data from the Kepler spacecraft by Erik Petigura, a graduate student at the University of California, …

TAGS: Erik Petigura, Kepler

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Astronomers answer key question: How common are habitable planets?

NASA’s Kepler space telescope, now crippled and its four-year mission at an end, nevertheless provided enough data to answer its main research question: How many of the 200 billion stars in our galaxy have potentially habitable planets? Based on a statistical analysis of all the Kepler observations, astronomers at UC Berkeley and University of Hawaii, Manoa now estimate that one in …

TAGS: Erik Petigura, Andrew Howard, Kepler, planets

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Intelligent civilizations rarer than one in a million

"Scientists at UC Berkeley have now used the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia to look for intelligent radio signals from planets around 86 of these stars. While discovering no telltale signs of life, the researchers calculate that fewer than one in a million stars in the Milky Way Galaxy have planetary civilizations advanced enough to transmit beacons we could detect. “We …

TAGS: SETI, Dan Werthimer, Kepler, planets, Andrew Siemion

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Link to 'Planet makes weird loops around dusty star'

Planet makes weird loops around dusty star

"Newly released NASA Hubble Space Telescope images of a vast debris disk encircling the nearby star Fomalhaut and a mysterious planet circling it may provide forensic evidence of a titanic planetary disruption in the system. Astronomers are surprised to find the debris belt is wider than previously known, spanning a section of space from 14 to nearly 20 billion miles from the star. …

TAGS: SETI, Paul Kalas

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Link to 'Alex Filippenko Flies with the Blue Angels!'

Alex Filippenko Flies with the Blue Angels!

Faculty member Alex Filippenko took to the skies with the Blue Angels during this years fleet week; in a jet piloted by Navy Lt. Mark Tedrow, Filippenko took the opportunity to film lessons on gravity and force during his flight to enhance his popular Astronomy C10 course. You can find the full article here.

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Prof. Marcy receives Templeton grant to study Kepler data

"Astronomer Geoff Marcy, who kicked off the search for extrasolar planets 20 years ago, plans to rummage through data from the Kepler space telescope in search of evidence for civilizations advanced enough to have built massive orbiting “solar” power stations." Complete article can be found here.

TAGS: Kepler, Templeton Grant

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