WVU helps find origins of mysterious, ultra-powerful bursts in space

You can’t see it, but billions of light years away cosmic flash bulbs are popping and no one knows why.

Fast radio bursts, brilliant and intense flashes of energy that blaze for a millisecond and then disappear, have puzzled scientists for years, but West Virginia University astronomers are helping to find the celestial bread crumbs that will help lead scientists to answers about this mysterious phenomenon.

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WVU astrophysicist part of team that has created most detailed map of the Milky Way

Hydrogen. Atomic number 1. It is the simplest and lightest element on the periodic table, but don’t be fooled by its humble appearance. With just a single proton and a single electron it is the most abundant element in the universe and has fueled star formation for the past 13 billion years.

Now scientists – including an astrophysicist from West Virginia University – have mapped the key ingredient’s distribution across the Milky Way revealing details about our galaxy that have never been seen before.

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'little green men' to premiere at WVU on September 29th

No, it isn’t about aliens. While the title of the upcoming documentary “little green men” suggests an extra-terrestrial theme, it actually features life in our own backyard.

The film showcases student participants in the  Pulsar Search Collaboratory, a joint project between  West Virginia University and the  National Radio Astronomy Observatory. The high school students search for pulsars, or exotic stars, using radio astronomy data from the  Green Bank Telescope in Pocahontas County, W.Va. Over the past nine years, the students have discovered seven pulsars.

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WVU engineering professors to utilize Green Bank telescope in K-12 teacher research experience

When a group of teachers from four West Virginia counties get asked what they did on their summer vacation in fall 2017, they will have an out-of-this-world answer, thanks to a grant received by a research team from West Virginia University.

Natalia Schmid and Kevin Bandura, faculty members in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, have been awarded a grant of $577,815 from the National Science Foundation that will allow them to team with the WVU Center for Gravitational Waves and Cosmology and the Green Bank Observatory in Green Bank to create a research experience for teachers. The program, Digital Signal Processing in Radio Astronomy, will provide high school teachers with hands-on experience using high-quality, open source software development tools, in both research engineering and educational settings.  

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WVU astrophysicists part of gravitational wave search that provides insights into galaxy evolution and mergers

On the heels of their participation in the historic research that resulted in the detection of gravitational waves, West Virginia University astrophysicists continue to plow new ground and build upon their work.

WVU scientists were members of the LIGO team that detected gravitational waves from merging pairs black holes approximately 29 to 36 times the mass of the sun, confirming that distortions in the fabric of space-time can be observed and measured.

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Gravitational waves detected 100 years after Einstein's prediction

WASHINGTON D.C./MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.

Gravitational waves carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained. Physicists have concluded that the detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive spinning black hole. This collision of two black holes had been predicted but never observed.

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WVU will use $9.65 million NSF grant to build science and engineering infrastructure that will benefit West Virginia

West Virginia University will use nearly half of a $20 million National Science Foundation grant to research areas important to the state and nation – a clean water supply and a deeper understanding of our universe – while also preparing the state’s workforce for high-tech jobs and promoting science education among the state’s students.

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