Astronomy News

Quasars illuminate swiftly swirling clouds around galaxies

Published Date:January 20, 2014

A new study of light from quasars has provided astronomers with illuminating insights into the swirling clouds of gas that form stars and galaxies, proving that the clouds can shift and change much more quickly than previously thought. Led by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign astronomy professor Robert J. Brunner and former graduate student Troy Hacker (now with the U.S. Air Force), the astronomers published their findings in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Published Date: January 20, 2014


New studies give strong boost to binary-star formation theory

Published Date:January 2, 2014

Using the new capabilities of the upgraded Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), scientists have discovered previously-unseen binary companions to a pair of very young protostars. The discovery gives strong support for one of the competing explanations for how double-star systems form. The work was done by a team that includes former Illinois undergraduate John Tobin and Illinois faculty member Leslie Looney.

Published Date: January 2, 2014


New Faculty Member Involved in Discovery of the Year

Published Date:December 16, 2013

Joaquin Vieira, one of the new faculty members in the Department of Astronomy, was involved in one of Physics World's Breakthroughs of the Year. He was one of a team of astronomers working on the South Pole Telescope who were the first to measure B-mode polarization in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation.

Published Date: December 16, 2013


CAS Appointments for Astronomy Faculty

Published Date:November 26, 2013

The Department of Astronomy is pleased to announce that two faculty members will receive appointments in the Center for Advanced Study in 2014-15, pending approval by the Board of Trustees. Robert Brunner will be appointed as a CAS Associate and Neal Dalal will be appointed as a CAS Fellow. Congratulations to them both!

Published Date: November 26, 2013


A View of the Moon

Published Date:November 15, 2013

A View of the Moon: Lecture by Jim Kaler, Followed by Direct Observation hosted by Leslie Looney. November 19, 7:00 p.m. at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The Moon has been an object of speculation and myth from time immemorial. Before the advent telescopic astronomy people thought that the dark spots on the Moon might have been caused by shadows of the Earth's mountains or contained vast bodies of water. It was imagined to be a possible site for extraterrestrial life and a future colony; even before rocket technology people dreamed of traveling there and exploring its surface. Today, careful scientific observation, great leaps in astronomy, and actual visits to the lunar surface have brought us much closer to the truth. We continue to make discoveries about the Moon and investigate its history and composition. Astronomer and Professor Jim Kaler will be delivering a talk about the Moon that will help you better understand our nearest celestial neighbor. There will be an actual Moon rock on display and many other books documenting the history of speculation about life on the Moon. Following the lecture, Leslie Looney will be hosting a Moon observation session at the Campus Observatory. You will be able to take a close look through the 12" Bashear refracting telescope. Not to be missed!

Published Date: November 15, 2013