2013

Fast radio bursts might come from nearby stars

Fast radio bursts might come from nearby stars

December 16, 2013

Although their characteristics suggested fast radio bursts came from distant galaxies, new research points to origins from flaring stars within the Milky Way. Read Full Astronomy.com article: http://www.astronomy.com/news/2013/12/fast-radio-bursts-might-come-from-nearby-stars

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Shep Doeleman: Imaging Black Holes with The Event Horizon Telescope

Shep Doeleman: Imaging Black Holes with The Event Horizon Telescope

November 19, 2013

Recent technical advances and observations have now demonstrated that the goal of making an image of a black hole is within reach. Using the technique of Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), in which widely separated radio dishes are linked together to form an Earth-sized array, our group has succeeded in confirming event horizon scale structures in two super massive black holes: Sagittarius A*, the 4 million solar mass black hole at the center of the Milky Way (Nature, 455, 78, '08), and M87, a 6 billion solar mass black hole in the giant elliptical galaxy Virgo A (Science, 338, 355… Read more about Shep Doeleman: Imaging Black Holes with The Event Horizon Telescope

Howard Smith: The Evolving Physical Processes in Interacting Galaxies Traced by Their Spectral Energy Distributions

Howard Smith: The Evolving Physical Processes in Interacting Galaxies Traced by Their Spectral Energy Distributions

November 6, 2013

The Evolving Physical Processes in Interacting Galaxies Traced by Their Spectral Energy Distributions

Mergers and interactions have profound effects on the evolution of galaxies and on the various physical processes associated with star formation and the fueling of active nuclei (AGN). There remains, however, an incomplete understanding of how interactions affect such processes or how important they are in controlling the appearance of today's universe.  Recent Harvard grad Lauranne Lanz for her thesis successfully completed a multi-band analyses (GALEX-Herschel) of set of 31… Read more about Howard Smith: The Evolving Physical Processes in Interacting Galaxies Traced by Their Spectral Energy Distributions

Galaxy Quest: Just How Many Earth-Like Planets Are Out There?

Galaxy Quest: Just How Many Earth-Like Planets Are Out There?

November 5, 2013

A team of planet hunters estimates that about 22 percent of the Sun-like stars in our galaxy may have planets about the size of Earth that are bathed in similar amounts of sunlight — and potentially habitable. That's the conclusion of a new analysis by Erik Petigura, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley of observations taken by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, which was launched in 2009 to hunt for potentially habitable Earth-like planets around other stars.… Read more about Galaxy Quest: Just How Many Earth-Like Planets Are Out There?

Harvard Bok Center awards 9 in the Astronomy department for Distinction and Excellence in Teaching

Harvard Bok Center awards 9 in the Astronomy department for Distinction and Excellence in Teaching

September 19, 2013

The Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning works to advance the quality of undergraduate education by providing Harvard’s teachers with resources, programs and support that promote excellence in teaching.  Each semester it recognizes with a Certificate of Distinction in Teaching those student instructors whose work is exemplary based on peer evaluations. 

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Life’s Beginnings studying how life bloomed on Earth—and might emerge elsewhere

Life’s Beginnings studying how life bloomed on Earth—and might emerge elsewhere

August 20, 2013
Are the inhabitants of Earth the only life forms in the universe, or could life exist elsewhere? As astronomers rapidly identify exoplanets—those beyond our solar system—the question has been transformed from a science-fiction trope to one discussed in scientific journals and conferences according to Professor of Astronomy, Dimitar Sasselov.
Faculty and post-docs prevail over students in annual ITC Soccer Cup match

Faculty and post-docs prevail over students in annual ITC Soccer Cup match

August 14, 2013

The faculty and post-docs extended their winning streak in a spectacular regulation soccer match (7:3) at the annual ITC picnic on August 11th at Harvard's athletic grounds.  Pictured below, ITC Director Avi Loeb is double-teamed by students Doug Ferrer and Sukrit Ranjan with Fernando Becerra looking on.   Avi was credited with two goals and had two assists.  … Read more about Faculty and post-docs prevail over students in annual ITC Soccer Cup match

Graduate students help organize premier conference on scientific communication

Graduate students help organize premier conference on scientific communication

July 13, 2013

A group of graduate students, including six from the Harvard Department of Astronomy, developed and organized Communicating Science 2013, or “ComSciCon 2013”, a first-of-its kind workshop on science communication specifically for grad students in the sciences and engineering. ComSciCon brought together graduate students from across the country and from a wide range of scientific disciplines to the Microsoft NERD center in Cambridge on June 13-15. These 50 attendees were selected from a pool of 730 applicants based on their enthusiasm for and achievements in communicating science.

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Gamma-ray burst illuminates invisible galaxy in the "dark ages"

Gamma-ray burst illuminates invisible galaxy in the "dark ages"

August 7, 2013

More than 12 billion years ago a star exploded, ripping itself apart and blasting its remains outward in twin jets at nearly the speed of light. At its death it glowed so brightly that it outshone its entire galaxy by a million times.  Associate Professor Edo Berger and Ryan Chornock, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, were able to gear up quickly to collect data on it's afterglow just hours after it was detected by NASA's Swift spacecraft on June 6th.

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