News

Destination: Nearest star

Destination: Nearest star

April 15, 2016

Astronomer explains plan to send tiny spaceships to Alpha Centauri

"A group of astronomers and technology entrepreneurs has announced an audacious plan to send a fleet of tiny spaceships traveling at a fifth the speed of light to the nearest star, Alpha Centauri. 

"The plan would see humankind leap out of the solar system with the aid of an ultralight vessel made of what are essentially cellphone components and a thin, reflective light sail propelled by an enormous array of Earth-based lasers. 

Read full interview with Avi Loeb. 

Fast Radio Burst "Afterglow" Was Actually a Flickering Black Hole

Fast Radio Burst "Afterglow" Was Actually a Flickering Black Hole

April 4, 2016
Last February a team of astronomers reported detecting an afterglow from a mysterious event called a fast radio burst, which would pinpoint the precise position of the burst's origin, a longstanding goal in studies of these mysterious events. These findings were quickly called into question by follow-up observations. New research by Harvard astronomers Peter Williams and Edo Berger shows that the radio emission believed to be an afterglow actually originated from a distant galaxy's core and was unassociated with the fast radio burst.
Yuan-Sen Ting will participate in the 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Yuan-Sen Ting will participate in the 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

March 2, 2016

Astronomy’s Yuan-Sen Ting will participate in the 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.  He was chosen via an international, multi-stage application process.  The 396 grad students and post docs, all under the age of 35 from 80 countries, will get the chance to spend a week with 30 Nobel Laureates mainly from the field of physics.

Astronomers Report Results of First Search for Visible Light Associated with Gravitational Waves

Astronomers Report Results of First Search for Visible Light Associated with Gravitational Waves

February 14, 2016

Einstein's general theory of relativity predicts the emission of gravitational waves by massive celestial bodies moving though space-time. For the past century gravitational waves have eluded a direct detection, but now the LIGO Virgo Collaboration has announced the first direct detection of gravitational waves, emitted by a merging pair of black holes. Catastrophic mergers of binary systems can also produce brilliant and explosive fireworks of light, so a team of astronomers, including at Harvard, sought evidence of such an visible afterglow.