From atomic nuclei to astrophysics, collaborative program builds basis for scientific discoveries

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is leading two nuclear physics research projects within the Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing, or SciDAC, program from the Department of Energy Office of Science. One of the projects is called Nuclear Computational Low-Energy Initiative, or NUCLEI. The other is Exascale Nuclear Astrophysics for FRIB, or ENAF.

DOE Awards $135 Million For Groundbreaking Research By 93 Early Career Scientists

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the selection of 93 early career scientists from across the country who will receive a combined $135 million in funding for research covering a wide range of topics, from artificial intelligence to astrophysics to fusion energy. The 2023 Early Career Research Program awardees represent 47 universities and 12 DOE National Laboratories across the country. These awards are a part of the DOE’s long-standing efforts to develop the next generation of STEM leaders to solidify America’s role as the driver of science and innovation around the world.

DESI Early Data Release Holds Nearly Two Million Objects

The universe is big, and it’s getting bigger. To study dark energy, the mysterious force behind the accelerating expansion of our universe, scientists are using the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) to map more than 40 million galaxies, quasars, and stars. Today, the collaboration publicly released its first batch of data, with nearly 2 million objects for researchers to explore.

First-of-its-kind measurement of the Universe’s expansion rate weighs in on a longstanding debate in physics and astronomy

A University of Minnesota Twin Cities-led team used a first-of-its-kind technique to measure the expansion rate of the Universe, providing insight that could help more accurately determine the Universe’s age and help physicists and astronomers better understand the cosmos.

UAH research programs achieve record high $169.5M in R&D funding for FY22

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) notched a record $169.5 million in research and development expenditures for fiscal year (FY) 2022, a 13% increase over FY21. This announcement accompanies the National Science Foundation Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Survey findings which cover FY21 and mark the 10th year in a row UAH has had five or more research programs ranked in the top 25 nationally for federal research funding.

Researchers discover tiny galaxy with big star power using James Webb telescope

Using first-of-their-kind observations from the James Webb Space Telescope, a University of Minnesota Twin Cities-led team looked more than 13 billion years into the past to discover a unique, minuscule galaxy that could help astronomers learn more about galaxies that were present shortly after the Big Bang.

Karen Meech Awarded 2023 Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics

The Heineman Foundation, AIP, and AAS are pleased to announce Karen Meech, astronomer at the Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawai’i, as the winner of the 2023 Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics. Meech was selected “for her pioneering work in expanding and pushing boundaries in the field of small body solar system observational science, and for making transformative contributions to shape the broader field of planetary science in general.” She will be awarded $10,000 and a certificate and invited to give a talk at a future AAS meeting.

The seven-year photobomb: Distant star’s dimming was likely a ‘dusty’ companion getting in the way, astronomers say

Astronomers discovered that the star Gaia17bpp gradually brightened over a 2 1/2-year period. But follow-up analyses revealed that the star itself wasn’t changing. Instead, it’s likely part of a rare type of binary system. Its apparent brightening was the end of a years-long eclipse by an unusual, “dusty” stellar companion.

TEAM-UP Together Awards 31 Scholarships to African American Students in Physics, Astronomy

TEAM-UP Together is pleased to announce its first cohort of scholars, 31 African American students who will each receive $10,000 for the 2022-23 academic year. The scholarship program aims to reduce financial barriers that prevent many Black students from completing their undergraduate education in physics and astronomy. A collective action initiative, TEAM-UP Together is a partnership between the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Astronomical Society, the American Institute of Physics, the American Physical Society, and the Society of Physics Students. TEAM-UP Together is sponsored by the Simons Foundation International.

Polarized X-rays reveal shape, orientation of extremely hot matter around black hole

Researchers’ recent observations of a stellar-mass black hole called Cygnus X-1 reveal new details about the configuration of extremely hot matter in the region immediately surrounding the black hole. Matter is heated to millions of degrees as it is pulled toward a black hole. This hot matter glows in X-rays. Researchers are using measurements of the polarization of these X-rays to test and refine models that describe how black holes swallow matter, becoming some of the most luminous sources of light — including X-rays — in the universe.

Pitt astrophysics expert wins Packard Fellowship developing novel galaxy simulations

Pitt’s Evan Schneider has won a Packard Fellowship Award. She is the first woman at Pitt to win the award and Pitt’s third winner since 1988. Using a GPU-powered code of her own design and the world’s fastest supercomputers, Schneider and her team simulate galaxies with greater clarity than ever before.

After Fire and Monsoons, DESI Resumes Cataloguing the Cosmos

In June, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument survived a massive wildfire, followed by rains and mudslides. After cleaning and testing the equipment, DESI collaborators successfully restarted the experiment and began imaging the night sky again on Sept. 10. The survey is creating the largest 3D map of the universe ever made to study a phenomenon called dark energy.

ESA Solar Orbiter confirms solar switchback origin theory by UAH’s Dr. Gary Zank

For the first time a solar switchback has been directly observed that confirms 2020 models by astrophysicist Dr. Gary Zank at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) that theorized how these surprising structures in the solar wind originate.

Citizen Scientist Leads Discovery of 34 Ultracool Dwarf Binaries Using Archive at NSF’s NOIRLab

How often do stars live alone? For brown dwarfs — objects that straddle the boundary between the most massive planets and the smallest stars — astronomers need to uncover more examples of their companions to find out. Ace citizen scientist Frank Kiwy has done just that by using the Astro Data Lab science platform at NSF’s NOIRLab to discover 34 new ultracool dwarf binary systems in the Sun’s neighborhood, nearly doubling the number of such systems known.

Science Results From NRAO Facilities to Be Presented at Multiple AAS 240 Press Conferences

Seven new scientific results from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the Very Large Array (VLA), and the Very Large Array Sky Survey (VLASS) will be revealed at multiple press conferences during the 240th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) between June 13-15, 2022 in Pasadena, California.

ORNL, partners launch first experiments using new facility to make cosmic isotopes on Earth

A new flagship facility for nuclear physics has opened, and scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory have a hand in 10 of its first 34 experiments.

Close Encounter More Than 10,000 Years Ago Stirred Up Spirals in Accretion Disk

Dr. LU Xing, an associate researcher from the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory (SHAO) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, along with collaborators from Yunnan University, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and the Max Planck Institute, have used high-resolution observational data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to discover a massive protostellar disk in the Galactic Center and determine how its spiral arms were formed.