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Astronomy News

The 2012 Iben Lecture - The Galactic Center: Unveiling the Heart of our Galaxy

Author: Bryan Dunne

Published Date:September 18, 2012

The Astronomy Department is pleased to announce the 2012 Icko Iben Jr. Distinguished Lecture will be delivered by Andrea Ghez, Professor of Physics & Astronomy at UCLA. In her lecture, "The Galactic Center: Unveiling the Heart of our Galaxy," Prof. Ghez will discuss the evidence that a supermassive black hole with 4 million times the mass of the Sun lies at the center of our Galaxy. The talk will be at 7:00pm on October 16th in Lincoln Hall Theater. This event is free and open to the public.

Published Date: September 18, 2012


World's most powerful digital camera records first images in hunt for dark energy

Author: Siv Schwink and Tricia Barker

Published Date:September 17, 2012

Eight billion years ago, rays of light from distant galaxies began their long journey to Earth. Now that ancient starlight found its way to a mountaintop in Chile, where the newly-constructed Dark Energy Camera captured and recorded it for the first time. That light may hold the answer to one of the biggest mysteries in astronomy - why the expansion of the universe is speeding up. Illinois' contributions to the project include camera components, data intensive computing, and scientific analyses.

Published Date: September 17, 2012


NASA Selects Illinois Science Team for Astrobiology Institute

Published Date:September 7, 2012

An interdisciplinary team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is among five new research groups selected to join the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) to study the origin and evolution of life. The NAI invitation comes with a five-year research grant totaling about $8 million. Nigel Goldenfeld, Swanlund Professor of Physics and leader of the Biocomplexity research theme at the Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB), will serve as the principal investigator. We want to help answer not only the basic questions of How does life begin and evolve? and Is there life beyond Earth? but also Why does life exist at all? said Goldenfeld. We are really excited to be a part of NAI. Its a unique group, and NASA is the leading scientific organization trying to address these questions.

Published Date: September 7, 2012


Spring 2012 Excellent Astronomy Teachers

Author: Bryan Dunne

Published Date:September 5, 2012

The Astronomy Department would like to offer its congratulations to members of the department named to the "List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent" by the Center for Teaching Excellence for the Spring 2012 semester. Included on the list were Prof. Robert Brunner, Prof. Bryan Dunne, Prof. Leslie Looney, Margaret Gelman, and Ashley Haney.

Published Date: September 5, 2012


Brunner Selected for IACAT Fellowship

Author: Bryan Dunne

Published Date:September 1, 2012

Astronomy Professor Robert Brunner has been selected as one of thirteen researchers to receive one-year fellowships to pursue collaborative projects at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Prof. Brunner will work with NCSAs Don Petravick to develop a new technique for distinguishing stars and galaxies in large, photometric datasets. Data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey will be used to develop the new technique, which then will be applied to the upcoming Dark Energy Survey.

Published Date: September 1, 2012