April

From Cosmic Dawn To Milkomeda, And Beyond

April 22, 2013

Science Magazine wrote a biographical article on Avi Loeb. From Cosmic Dawn To Milkomeda, And Beyond: The thoughts of Harvard theorist Avi Loeb traverse the universe, past and future—and he urges young researchers to be just as daring (pdf)

Harvard Astronomy's Supernova Forensics group has teamed up with Astronomy 100 undergraduate students to unveil the nature of the peculiar SN2012au

April 2, 2013

Harvard Astronomy's Supernova Forensics group has teamed up with Astronomy 100 undergraduate students to unveil the nature of the peculiar SN2012au - a massive star that exploded some 75 million years ago.  This energetic, slow-evolving and helium-rich explosion provides a golden link between the emerging class of "super-luminous" supernovae and other more seemingly normal supernovae that are far less bright.

Some observations of the supernova were obtained by two generations of Astro 100 students in 2012 and 2013 as part of the department's annual Spring Break trip to Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory in Arizona. Students were the first to classify the new supernova in 2012 with the FLWO 1.5m telescope within just hours of its discovery by the Catalina Sky Survey.  A year later, the next group of students used the FLWO 1.2m telescope to show that SN2012au is still shining bright and thus evolving slowly.  A paper led by postdoc, Dan Milisavljevic, has been submitted to the Astrophysical Journal Letters with details on this unusual stellar explosion (link).

Article in Harvard Crimson

Tweaking the Universe

April 2, 2013

Astronomy Department Chair Avi Loeb discussed the findings from the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite program that showed the universe as being a little older, containing a bit more mysterious dark matter, and expanding more slowly than previously thought.

Read this article in the Harvard Gazette that features Avi Loeb.

Harvard Gazette: Tweaking the Universe