Frontiers of Astrophysics: How Discoveries Can Change Our Lives - Public lecture on Wednesday, April 25th at 7 p.m. in G09 White Hall

Dr. Joan Centrella of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center will be presenting a public lecture on Wednesday, April 25, 2018, at 7 pm in G-09 White Hall on the downtown WVU campus.  

 The title of the talk is Frontiers of Astrophysics:  How Discoveries Can Change Our Lives.  The frontiers of astrophysics are driven forward by the power of ideas and discoveries.  The lecture will focus on three exciting areas: the search for exoplanets and life in the universe; revealing the dark side of the universe with gravitational waves; and probing farther back in time with new telescopes.  In addition to the scientific achievements, Dr. Centrella will also discuss how knowledge from these areas of astrophysics can impact how we think and live.

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"The Giant Telescopes of the Future” - Public talk on Friday, March 2 at 7 p.m. in G09 White Hall.

Sarah Kendrew, an astronomer and instrument scientist at the European Space Agency, will give a talk on “The Giant Telescopes of the Future” on Friday, March 2 at 7 p.m. in G09 White Hall. She will discuss the James Webb Space Telescope, which is NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency’s flagship infrared space mission for the next decade. Scheduled for launch in spring 2019, the telescope and spacecraft are now in the final stages of integration and testing. She will present an overview of the mission status and of the capabilities of the telescope’s instrumentation and discuss other giant telescopes planned for future launches.

The talk is hosted by the Department of Physics and Astronomy and is free and open to the public. The WVU Planetarium and Observatory will also be open to participants following the lecture.

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WVU professor plays key role in telescope program that will map the history of the Universe

Since the early 1900s scientists have known that the Universe is expanding but recent studies have shown that the rate of expansion is accelerating. The reason for this is currently unknown; however, Kevin Bandura, an assistant professor in the Lane Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering at West Virginia University, has been working on the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, or CHIME, for the past several years to solve the mystery.

Researchers think that an unknown form of energy, called dark energy, is causing the accelerated expansion but this cannot be confirmed without first understanding the history of the Universe. CHIME is a telescope project that was designed to map that history by studying dark energy and observing hydrogen gas in distant galaxies that were strongly affected by it.

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WVU researchers help detect gravitational waves for the third time; confirm new population of black holes

West Virginia University professors Zach Etienne and Sean McWilliams and a group of WVU graduate students are part of a global team of scientists who have detected gravitational waves for the third time, demonstrating that a new window in astronomy has been firmly opened. 

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO, made a third detection of ripples in space and time on January 4, which is described in a new paper in the journal Physical Review Letters.

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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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