LISA Gravitational-Wave Mission Strongly Endorsed by National Research Council

The National Research Council (NRC) has strongly recommended the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) as one of NASA's next two major space missions, to start in 2016 in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA). LISA will study the universe in a manner different from any other space observatory, by observing gravitational waves. The recommendation was announced August 13 in a press conference at the Keck Center of the National Academies in Washington, D.C.

NRC Recommends Three Astronomy/Astrophysics Projects with Potential Major Caltech Roles

In an announcement August 13, the National Research Council recommended three space- and ground-based astronomy and astrophysics projects with potential major roles for researchers at Caltech: CCAT, a giant submillimeter telescope that will help unravel the origins of stars, planets, and galaxies; LISA, designed to detect gravitational waves; and the development of a Giant Segmented Mirrored Telescope—the Thirty Meter Telescope being one of two such telescopes under development.

Caltech Astronomer Finds Planets in Unusually Intimate Dance around Dying Star

Hundreds of extrasolar planets have been found, most solitary worlds orbiting their parent star in seeming isolation. Further observation has revealed that planets come in bunches. Most systems contain planets orbiting too far from one another to feel each other's gravity. In a handful of cases, planets have been found near enough to one another to interact gravitationally. Now, however, Caltech's John A. Johnson and his colleagues have found two systems with pairs of gas giant planets locked in an intimate orbital embrace.

Astronomers Discover an Unusual Cosmic Lens

Astronomers at Caltech and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have discovered the first known case of a distant galaxy being magnified by a quasar acting as a gravitational lens. The discovery, based in part on observations done at the W. M. Keck Observatory on Hawaii's Mauna Kea, is being published July 16 in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

A Mine for Dark Matter

Deep in a mine 230 stories underground, physicists are trying to detect dark matter, the mysterious stuff that makes up nearly a quarter of the universe. Last December, tantalizing rumors of a major discovery by the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS) set the physics world abuzz. The Caltech collaborators describe their experiment. 

Astronomical Society of the Pacific Honors Caltech Achievements

A constellation of Caltechers has been honored this week by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the world's largest general astronomy society. The ASP announced eight 2010 awards for "excellence in astronomy research and education," four of them recognizing people and programs affiliated with the Caltech community.

Caltech Receives More than $33 Million from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Research in genomic sciences, astronomy, seismology, and neuroeconomics are some of the many projects being funded at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Caltech Physicist Named National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellow

Caltech's H. Jeff Kimble named National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellow.

Caltech Mourns the Passing of Andrew Lange

Physicist Andrew Lange passes away at the age of 52.

Caltech Astronomer Spots Second Smallest Exoplanet

Astronomers from Caltech and other institutions, using the highly sensitive 10-meter Keck I telescope atop Hawaii's Mauna Kea, have detected an extrasolar planet with a mass just four times that of Earth. The planet, which orbits its parent star HD156668 about once every four days, is the second-smallest world among the more than 400 exoplanets (planets located outside our solar system) that have been found to date.

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