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  • richardmitnick 1:31 pm on July 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , UCSC-UC Santa Cruz, VERITAS Collaboration added to project   

    From UC Santa Cruz: “Breakthrough Listen launches new optical search with VERITAS Telescope Array” 

    UC Santa Cruz

    From UC Santa Cruz

    July 17, 2019
    Tim Stephens
    stephens@ucsc.edu

    SCIPP (Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics) physicist David Williams will help lead effort using four 12-meter telescopes to search for nanosecond flashes of light from extraterrestrial civilizations.

    The Breakthrough Listen initiative to find signs of intelligent life in the universe will collaborate with the VERITAS Collaboration in the search for technosignatures, signs of technology developed by intelligent life beyond the Earth.

    Joining the Breakthrough Listen initiative’s ongoing radio frequency survey and spectroscopic optical laser survey, VERITAS (the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System) will search for pulsed optical beacons with its array of four 12-meter telescopes at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory in Amado, Arizona.

    VERITAS is the world’s most powerful telescope array for studying high-energy astrophysics with gamma rays. It detects gamma rays coming from space by looking for the extremely brief flashes of blue “Cherenkov” light they create when they hit the top of the Earth’s atmosphere.

    VERITAS will look for pulsed optical beacons with durations as short as several nanoseconds. Over such timescales, artificial beacons could easily outshine any stars that lie in the same direction on the sky. The use of all four telescopes simultaneously allows for very effective discrimination against false positive detections. The VERITAS Collaboration has previously published observations of the mysteriously dimming Boyajian’s Star in search of such optical pulses. The new program of VERITAS observations will provide complementary searches for optical pulse signatures of many more stars from the primary Breakthrough Listen star list.

    “It is impressive how well-suited the VERITAS telescopes are for this project, since they were built only with the purpose of studying very-high-energy gamma rays in mind,” said David Williams, adjunct professor of physics at UC Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics (SCIPP) and a member of the VERITAS collaboration.

    Breakthrough Listen’s search for optical technosignatures with VERITAS will be led by Williams at UCSC and Jamie Holder of the University of Delaware, in collaboration with the Listen team at UC Berkeley’s SETI Research Center led by Andrew Siemion.

    “When it comes to intelligent life beyond Earth, we don’t know where it exists or how it communicates,” said Yuri Milner, founder of the Breakthrough Initiatives. “So our philosophy is to look in as many places, and in as many ways, as we can. VERITAS expands our range of observation even further.”

    “Breakthrough Listen is already the most powerful, comprehensive, and intensive search yet undertaken for signs of intelligent life beyond Earth,” Siemion said. “Now, with the addition of VERITAS, we’re sensitive to an important new class of signals: fast optical pulses. Optical communication has already been used by NASA to transmit high definition images to Earth from the moon, so there’s reason to believe that an advanced civilization might use a scaled-up version of this technology for interstellar communication.”

    If a laser comparable to the most powerful lasers on Earth (delivering about 500 terawatts in a pulse lasting a few nanoseconds) were situated at the distance of Boyajian’s Star and pointed in our direction, VERITAS could detect it. But most of the stars in the Listen target list are 10 to 100 times closer than Boyajian’s Star, meaning that the new search will be sensitive to pulses a factor 100 to 10,000 times fainter still.

    “Using the huge mirror area of the four VERITAS telescopes will allow us to search for these extremely faint optical flashes in the night sky, which could correspond to signals from an extraterrestrial civilization,” said Holder.

    Breakthrough Listen Project

    1

    UC Observatories Lick Autmated Planet Finder, fully robotic 2.4-meter optical telescope at Lick Observatory, situated on the summit of Mount Hamilton, east of San Jose, California, USA




    GBO radio telescope, Green Bank, West Virginia, USA


    CSIRO/Parkes Observatory, located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia


    SKA Meerkat telescope, 90 km outside the small Northern Cape town of Carnarvon, SA

    Newly added

    CfA/VERITAS, a major ground-based gamma-ray observatory with an array of four 12m optical reflectors for gamma-ray astronomy in the GeV – TeV energy range. Located at Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, Mount Hopkins, Arizona, US in AZ, USA, Altitude 2,606 m (8,550 ft)

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UCSC Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft)

    .

    UCO Lick Shane Telescope
    UCO Lick Shane Telescope interior
    Shane Telescope at UCO Lick Observatory, UCSC

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    UC Santa Cruz campus
    The University of California, Santa Cruz, opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

    UCSC is the home base for the Lick Observatory.

    Lick Observatory's Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building
    Lick Observatory’s Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building

    Search for extraterrestrial intelligence expands at Lick Observatory
    New instrument scans the sky for pulses of infrared light
    March 23, 2015
    By Hilary Lebow
    1
    The NIROSETI instrument saw first light on the Nickel 1-meter Telescope at Lick Observatory on March 15, 2015. (Photo by Laurie Hatch) UCSC Lick Nickel telescope

    Astronomers are expanding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light at UC’s Lick Observatory. A new instrument, called NIROSETI, will soon scour the sky for messages from other worlds.

    “Infrared light would be an excellent means of interstellar communication,” said Shelley Wright, an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego who led the development of the new instrument while at the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics.

    Wright worked on an earlier SETI project at Lick Observatory as a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate, when she built an optical instrument designed by UC Berkeley researchers. The infrared project takes advantage of new technology not available for that first optical search.

    Infrared light would be a good way for extraterrestrials to get our attention here on Earth, since pulses from a powerful infrared laser could outshine a star, if only for a billionth of a second. Interstellar gas and dust is almost transparent to near infrared, so these signals can be seen from great distances. It also takes less energy to send information using infrared signals than with visible light.

    Frank Drake, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and director emeritus of the SETI Institute, said there are several additional advantages to a search in the infrared realm.

    “The signals are so strong that we only need a small telescope to receive them. Smaller telescopes can offer more observational time, and that is good because we need to search many stars for a chance of success,” said Drake.

    The only downside is that extraterrestrials would need to be transmitting their signals in our direction, Drake said, though he sees this as a positive side to that limitation. “If we get a signal from someone who’s aiming for us, it could mean there’s altruism in the universe. I like that idea. If they want to be friendly, that’s who we will find.”

    Scientists have searched the skies for radio signals for more than 50 years and expanded their search into the optical realm more than a decade ago. The idea of searching in the infrared is not a new one, but instruments capable of capturing pulses of infrared light only recently became available.

    “We had to wait,” Wright said. “I spent eight years waiting and watching as new technology emerged.”

    Now that technology has caught up, the search will extend to stars thousands of light years away, rather than just hundreds. NIROSETI, or Near-Infrared Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, could also uncover new information about the physical universe.

    “This is the first time Earthlings have looked at the universe at infrared wavelengths with nanosecond time scales,” said Dan Werthimer, UC Berkeley SETI Project Director. “The instrument could discover new astrophysical phenomena, or perhaps answer the question of whether we are alone.”

    NIROSETI will also gather more information than previous optical detectors by recording levels of light over time so that patterns can be analyzed for potential signs of other civilizations.

    “Searching for intelligent life in the universe is both thrilling and somewhat unorthodox,” said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. “Lick Observatory has already been the site of several previous SETI searches, so this is a very exciting addition to the current research taking place.”

    NIROSETI will be fully operational by early summer and will scan the skies several times a week on the Nickel 1-meter telescope at Lick Observatory, located on Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose.

    The NIROSETI team also includes Geoffrey Marcy and Andrew Siemion from UC Berkeley; Patrick Dorval, a Dunlap undergraduate, and Elliot Meyer, a Dunlap graduate student; and Richard Treffers of Starman Systems. Funding for the project comes from the generous support of Bill and Susan Bloomfield.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:43 am on May 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cal Teach, , UCSC-UC Santa Cruz   

    From UC Santa Cruz: “NSF grant supports training of math and science teachers at UC Santa Cruz” 

    UC Santa Cruz

    From UC Santa Cruz

    May 13, 2019
    Tim Stephens
    stephens@ucsc.edu

    $1.45 million grant continues NSF support for UCSC’s Cal Teach program, funding an integrated pathway to recruit and train new teachers for the Central Coast region.

    2
    Cal Teach participants at a workshop on active learning strategies.

    UC Santa Cruz has received a $1.45 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program to recruit and prepare new math and science teachers in partnership with regional school districts and community colleges.

    This is the third in a series of five-year NSF grants supporting the UC Santa Cruz Cal Teach program and Education Department in their efforts to increase the number and retention of new, highly qualified science and math teachers in high-need California public schools.

    “The goal for this project is to strengthen the regional pipeline that supports students who are interested in math and science teaching careers,” said Cal Teach Program Director Gretchen Andreasen.

    The Cal Teach program serves UCSC undergraduates in science, mathematics, or engineering majors, as well as prospective transfer students from regional community colleges, who are interested in teaching careers. The program offers a sequence of internship placements in schools during the academic year, as well as summer teaching internships.

    Cal Teach workshops and seminars help to support students and prepare them for teaching careers. The program also provides academic and career advising, enrichment opportunities, and financial support for prospective or novice science and math teachers. In addition to serving undergraduates, the program welcomes STEM professionals who want to explore teaching careers.

    Much of the funding from the Noyce program grant will go toward scholarships for Cal Teach participants to enter the combined M.A./teaching credential program offered by the UC Santa Cruz Education Department.

    “The Noyce Scholarships make a big difference for the credential program in terms of maintaining the size and strength of the math and science cohorts,” Andreasen said.

    The NSF grant also funds stipends for interns and their mentors in partner schools and for early-career professional development for graduates of the program. About 30 percent of Cal Teach participants go on to careers in teaching, Andreasen said.

    “Cal Teach provided me the opportunity to see myself in multiple classroom settings as I considered a career in education,” said Noyce Scholar Madeleine Swift. “From my internships, I knew I wanted to be an educator.”

    UCSC’s community college partners in this project are Hartnell College, Cabrillo College, and San Jose City College. The five school district partners are Gonzales Unified, Salinas Union High School, Pajaro Valley Unified, Santa Cruz City Schools, and East Side Union High School District.

    By recruiting participants from regional community colleges, the Cal Teach program aims to support prospective math and science teachers who are likely to remain in the area and teach in the partner school districts. Dozens of the program’s graduates are now teaching at schools in the Monterey Bay, Salinas Valley, and San Jose regions.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UCSC Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft)

    .

    UCO Lick Shane Telescope
    UCO Lick Shane Telescope interior
    Shane Telescope at UCO Lick Observatory, UCSC

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    UC Santa Cruz campus
    The University of California, Santa Cruz, opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

    UCSC is the home base for the Lick Observatory.

    Lick Observatory's Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building
    Lick Observatory’s Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building

    Search for extraterrestrial intelligence expands at Lick Observatory
    New instrument scans the sky for pulses of infrared light
    March 23, 2015
    By Hilary Lebow
    1
    The NIROSETI instrument saw first light on the Nickel 1-meter Telescope at Lick Observatory on March 15, 2015. (Photo by Laurie Hatch) UCSC Lick Nickel telescope

    Astronomers are expanding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light at UC’s Lick Observatory. A new instrument, called NIROSETI, will soon scour the sky for messages from other worlds.

    “Infrared light would be an excellent means of interstellar communication,” said Shelley Wright, an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego who led the development of the new instrument while at the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics.

    Wright worked on an earlier SETI project at Lick Observatory as a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate, when she built an optical instrument designed by UC Berkeley researchers. The infrared project takes advantage of new technology not available for that first optical search.

    Infrared light would be a good way for extraterrestrials to get our attention here on Earth, since pulses from a powerful infrared laser could outshine a star, if only for a billionth of a second. Interstellar gas and dust is almost transparent to near infrared, so these signals can be seen from great distances. It also takes less energy to send information using infrared signals than with visible light.

    Frank Drake, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and director emeritus of the SETI Institute, said there are several additional advantages to a search in the infrared realm.

    “The signals are so strong that we only need a small telescope to receive them. Smaller telescopes can offer more observational time, and that is good because we need to search many stars for a chance of success,” said Drake.

    The only downside is that extraterrestrials would need to be transmitting their signals in our direction, Drake said, though he sees this as a positive side to that limitation. “If we get a signal from someone who’s aiming for us, it could mean there’s altruism in the universe. I like that idea. If they want to be friendly, that’s who we will find.”

    Scientists have searched the skies for radio signals for more than 50 years and expanded their search into the optical realm more than a decade ago. The idea of searching in the infrared is not a new one, but instruments capable of capturing pulses of infrared light only recently became available.

    “We had to wait,” Wright said. “I spent eight years waiting and watching as new technology emerged.”

    Now that technology has caught up, the search will extend to stars thousands of light years away, rather than just hundreds. NIROSETI, or Near-Infrared Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, could also uncover new information about the physical universe.

    “This is the first time Earthlings have looked at the universe at infrared wavelengths with nanosecond time scales,” said Dan Werthimer, UC Berkeley SETI Project Director. “The instrument could discover new astrophysical phenomena, or perhaps answer the question of whether we are alone.”

    NIROSETI will also gather more information than previous optical detectors by recording levels of light over time so that patterns can be analyzed for potential signs of other civilizations.

    “Searching for intelligent life in the universe is both thrilling and somewhat unorthodox,” said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. “Lick Observatory has already been the site of several previous SETI searches, so this is a very exciting addition to the current research taking place.”

    NIROSETI will be fully operational by early summer and will scan the skies several times a week on the Nickel 1-meter telescope at Lick Observatory, located on Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose.

    The NIROSETI team also includes Geoffrey Marcy and Andrew Siemion from UC Berkeley; Patrick Dorval, a Dunlap undergraduate, and Elliot Meyer, a Dunlap graduate student; and Richard Treffers of Starman Systems. Funding for the project comes from the generous support of Bill and Susan Bloomfield.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:03 pm on May 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , UCSC-UC Santa Cruz   

    From UC Santa Cruz: “Microscope expert develops powerful new tools for biologists” 

    UC Santa Cruz

    From UC Santa Cruz

    May 01, 2019
    Tim Stephens
    stephens@ucsc.edu

    With Sara Abrahamsson’s arrival in the Baskin School of Engineering, UC Santa Cruz is becoming a hotbed of advanced microscopy and microscope development.

    1
    Sara Abrahamsson at the nanofabrication facility where her team makes their custom-designed optics components. (Photo by Gustav Pettersson)

    For biologists, the golden age of microscopy is now. Powerful techniques developed in recent decades enable scientists to study living cells in unprecedented detail, and new techniques continue to push the limits of light microscopes.

    Sara Abrahamsson, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC Santa Cruz, is at the forefront of innovations in optical microscopy. She invented a technique called aberration-corrected multi-focus microscopy (MFM), which enables 3-dimensional imaging of living cells. More recently (in 2017), she showed that MFM can be combined with another technique, called structured illumination microscopy (SIM), that provides “super-resolution” beyond the classical limits of light microscopes.

    2
    The aberration-corrected multi-focus microscopy (MFM) technology developed by Abrahamsson requires custom-made diffractive gratings. (Photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

    “The 2017 paper [BOE] was a proof-of-concept study. Now we want to build the microscope and show that it works for 3-D imaging of living cells with super-resolution,” said Abrahamsson, who won a $700,000 major research instrumentation grant from the National Science Foundation to fund the project.

    Her collaborators in the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental (MCD) Biology are thrilled to be working with Abrahamsson. “Sara is a uniquely talented inventor of microscopes,” said Grant Hartzog, professor of MCD biology.

    Hartzog is one of several UCSC biologists who will be using Abrahamsson’s optical technology to study chromatin (the complex of DNA, RNA, and proteins that forms chromosomes) in the cells of various organisms. He explained that Abrahamsson’s MFM technique improves on the widely used technology of confocal microscopy. A confocal microscope blocks out-of-focus light to obtain sharp images of thin sections at different depths in a sample.

    “You can take multiple slices and build up a 3-D image. The problem is the time that elapses between each image when you’re taking multiple slices of a living cell. Because the components of the cell are in constant motion, the resulting image is blurry,” Hartzog said. “Sara figured out how to focus the light so you can collect all the slices in one shot for an instant 3-D image. That’s really important for imaging living cells.”

    UCSC Microscopy Center

    Abrahamsson’s lab has already built one multi-focus microscope and installed it in the UCSC Life Sciences Microscopy Center, where Hartzog and others have started using it and optimizing their techniques. A SIM system currently under construction will add super-resolution capabilities to the multi-focus microscope.

    3
    The M25 multi-focus microscope uses separate cameras to capture images from 25 focal planes at different depths in a sample. (Photo by Eduardo Hirata)

    Super-resolution is important because the dimensions of the structures of interest to the biologists are so small. The resolution of a light microscope is limited by the wavelengths of visible light to about 200 nanometers. Chromatin structures are much smaller than that, on the order of 10 to 30 nanometers in diameter.

    But scientists have developed ways to get past the classical limits of optical microscopy. Structured illumination microscopy is one of several super-resolution techniques that have been developed, with the first practical implementations appearing in the 1990s. By combining multi-focus and structured illumination microscopy, Abrahamsson’s lab is pushing the technology to the limit in terms of both speed and spatial resolution.

    Meanwhile, Abrahamsson’s graduate student Eduardo Hirata-Miyasaki has developed an extended version of MFM, called the M25, which increases the number of focal planes (or “slices”) from nine to 25 and uses separate cameras to capture the images from each focal plane. This instrument does not have super-resolution capability, but is super-fast. It can record live 3-D volumes at more than 100 frames per second and is designed for functional imaging of living neural circuits of the brain and spinal cord.

    “Thanks to the advances in CMOS sensor technology, we can improve the optical design of the MFM system to create a fast and sensitive method for live 3-D imaging,” said Hirata, who presented the new system at a recent Focus on Microscopy conference in London.

    Custom-designed optics

    The MF-SIM microscope requires building and combining two highly specialized, custom-designed optical systems. Abrahamsson’s team designs and fabricates their own optics components, using a nanofabrication facility at UC Santa Barbara to make the diffractive gratings needed for multi-focus microscopy.

    Hirata explained that the diffractive gratings can be easily customized depending on the region of interest and the target depth of the sample. “The M25 images simultaneously at 25 different depths, and we can vary the separation between those focal planes. Having more focal planes allows us to image greater volumes with higher resolutions,” he said.

    The biologists working with Abrahamsson’s lab are using a range of different organisms in their research. Hartzog and Hinrich Boeger study the effects of chromatin packaging on RNA transcription in yeast cells; Needhi Bhalla studies chromosome dynamics during cell division in C. elegans worms; and William Sullivan studies what happens to damaged chromosomes in fruit flies.

    Abrahamsson did some of her early work at the Advanced Imaging Center at HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia, and one of Sullivan’s students went there last year to use their specialized systems. The results only reinforced the need for Abrahamsson’s MF-SIM technology.

    “We’re looking at what happens when a chromosome is broken, which can lead to cancerous cells,” said Sullivan, a professor of MCD biology. “We want to follow this in real time in three dimensions, but we haven’t been able to do that. What Sara’s doing is really pretty ground-breaking.”

    Having the microscopy experts here on campus makes a big difference, he added.

    “There’s always a lot of back and forth, the biologists talking to the engineers to figure out how to get the end result we want,” Sullivan said. “Being able to just take our samples downstairs, instead of traveling to Janelia with live flies, we can make much faster progress.”

    Abrahamsson’s expertise in optics is in high demand, and she is developing and teaching new courses in optics and microscopy for students at UC Santa Cruz. She is also starting a project with researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory working on a planned space probe. In all these projects, Abrahamsson is excited not only about the new technology, but also about what scientists will be able to learn with it.

    “I can’t wait to see my collaborators take the first data set of living cells on the MF-SIM that we are building. Who knows what they are going to be able to discover with it?” she said.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UCSC Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft)

    .

    UCO Lick Shane Telescope
    UCO Lick Shane Telescope interior
    Shane Telescope at UCO Lick Observatory, UCSC

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    UC Santa Cruz campus
    The University of California, Santa Cruz, opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

    UCSC is the home base for the Lick Observatory.

    Lick Observatory's Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building
    Lick Observatory’s Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building

    Search for extraterrestrial intelligence expands at Lick Observatory
    New instrument scans the sky for pulses of infrared light
    March 23, 2015
    By Hilary Lebow
    1
    The NIROSETI instrument saw first light on the Nickel 1-meter Telescope at Lick Observatory on March 15, 2015. (Photo by Laurie Hatch) UCSC Lick Nickel telescope

    Astronomers are expanding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light at UC’s Lick Observatory. A new instrument, called NIROSETI, will soon scour the sky for messages from other worlds.

    “Infrared light would be an excellent means of interstellar communication,” said Shelley Wright, an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego who led the development of the new instrument while at the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics.

    Wright worked on an earlier SETI project at Lick Observatory as a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate, when she built an optical instrument designed by UC Berkeley researchers. The infrared project takes advantage of new technology not available for that first optical search.

    Infrared light would be a good way for extraterrestrials to get our attention here on Earth, since pulses from a powerful infrared laser could outshine a star, if only for a billionth of a second. Interstellar gas and dust is almost transparent to near infrared, so these signals can be seen from great distances. It also takes less energy to send information using infrared signals than with visible light.

    Frank Drake, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and director emeritus of the SETI Institute, said there are several additional advantages to a search in the infrared realm.

    “The signals are so strong that we only need a small telescope to receive them. Smaller telescopes can offer more observational time, and that is good because we need to search many stars for a chance of success,” said Drake.

    The only downside is that extraterrestrials would need to be transmitting their signals in our direction, Drake said, though he sees this as a positive side to that limitation. “If we get a signal from someone who’s aiming for us, it could mean there’s altruism in the universe. I like that idea. If they want to be friendly, that’s who we will find.”

    Scientists have searched the skies for radio signals for more than 50 years and expanded their search into the optical realm more than a decade ago. The idea of searching in the infrared is not a new one, but instruments capable of capturing pulses of infrared light only recently became available.

    “We had to wait,” Wright said. “I spent eight years waiting and watching as new technology emerged.”

    Now that technology has caught up, the search will extend to stars thousands of light years away, rather than just hundreds. NIROSETI, or Near-Infrared Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, could also uncover new information about the physical universe.

    “This is the first time Earthlings have looked at the universe at infrared wavelengths with nanosecond time scales,” said Dan Werthimer, UC Berkeley SETI Project Director. “The instrument could discover new astrophysical phenomena, or perhaps answer the question of whether we are alone.”

    NIROSETI will also gather more information than previous optical detectors by recording levels of light over time so that patterns can be analyzed for potential signs of other civilizations.

    “Searching for intelligent life in the universe is both thrilling and somewhat unorthodox,” said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. “Lick Observatory has already been the site of several previous SETI searches, so this is a very exciting addition to the current research taking place.”

    NIROSETI will be fully operational by early summer and will scan the skies several times a week on the Nickel 1-meter telescope at Lick Observatory, located on Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose.

    The NIROSETI team also includes Geoffrey Marcy and Andrew Siemion from UC Berkeley; Patrick Dorval, a Dunlap undergraduate, and Elliot Meyer, a Dunlap graduate student; and Richard Treffers of Starman Systems. Funding for the project comes from the generous support of Bill and Susan Bloomfield.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:44 pm on May 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Sandra Faber receives American Philosophical Society's Magellanic Premium Medal, UCSC-UC Santa Cruz   

    From UC Santa Cruz: “Sandra Faber receives American Philosophical Society’s Magellanic Premium Medal” 

    UC Santa Cruz

    From UC Santa Cruz

    April 29, 2019
    Tim Stephens
    stephens@ucsc.edu

    Faber was honored for her transformative research on galaxy formation and evolution.

    1
    Sandra Faber

    The American Philosophical Society awarded its 2018 Magellanic Premium Medal to astronomer Sandra Faber at a meeting of the society in Philadelphia on April 26.

    Faber, a professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, was recognized “for her contributions to the study of galaxy formation and evolution, which have transformed our understanding of these building blocks of the Universe and set the agenda for years to come. From the discovery of the Faber-Jackson relation to her fundamental contributions to the cold dark matter theory of galaxy formation, she has made galaxy formation and evolution a quantitative science.”

    Faber has been one of the leading optical astronomers since the 1970s, and her contributions have changed the study of galaxies from a qualitative to a quantitative science. Her observations and analysis showed the quantitative relations among mass, size, velocity dispersion, stellar populations, and resident black holes in the massive elliptical galaxies that are the bedrock of extragalactic astronomy. Among the earliest observers to recognize the prevalence and importance of dark matter, she also was among the earliest to note how feedback from supernova winds would alter the evolution of galaxies. Her numerous prescient contributions form the basis on which modern understanding of galaxy evolution now stands.

    Faber has received many awards and honors for her work, including the National Medal of Science in 2013. She was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in 2001.

    The Magellanic Premium Medal was established in 1786 from a gift of 200 guineas by John Hyacinth de Magellan of London, “for a gold medal to be awarded from time to time under prescribed terms, to the author of the best discovery or most useful invention relating to navigation, astronomy, or natural philosophy (mere natural history only excepted).” First awarded in 1790, it is the oldest medal recognizing scientific achievements given by a North American institution.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UCSC Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft)

    .

    UCO Lick Shane Telescope
    UCO Lick Shane Telescope interior
    Shane Telescope at UCO Lick Observatory, UCSC

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    UC Santa Cruz campus
    The University of California, Santa Cruz, opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

    UCSC is the home base for the Lick Observatory.

    Lick Observatory's Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building
    Lick Observatory’s Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building

    Search for extraterrestrial intelligence expands at Lick Observatory
    New instrument scans the sky for pulses of infrared light
    March 23, 2015
    By Hilary Lebow
    1
    The NIROSETI instrument saw first light on the Nickel 1-meter Telescope at Lick Observatory on March 15, 2015. (Photo by Laurie Hatch) UCSC Lick Nickel telescope

    Astronomers are expanding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light at UC’s Lick Observatory. A new instrument, called NIROSETI, will soon scour the sky for messages from other worlds.

    “Infrared light would be an excellent means of interstellar communication,” said Shelley Wright, an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego who led the development of the new instrument while at the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics.

    Wright worked on an earlier SETI project at Lick Observatory as a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate, when she built an optical instrument designed by UC Berkeley researchers. The infrared project takes advantage of new technology not available for that first optical search.

    Infrared light would be a good way for extraterrestrials to get our attention here on Earth, since pulses from a powerful infrared laser could outshine a star, if only for a billionth of a second. Interstellar gas and dust is almost transparent to near infrared, so these signals can be seen from great distances. It also takes less energy to send information using infrared signals than with visible light.

    Frank Drake, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and director emeritus of the SETI Institute, said there are several additional advantages to a search in the infrared realm.

    “The signals are so strong that we only need a small telescope to receive them. Smaller telescopes can offer more observational time, and that is good because we need to search many stars for a chance of success,” said Drake.

    The only downside is that extraterrestrials would need to be transmitting their signals in our direction, Drake said, though he sees this as a positive side to that limitation. “If we get a signal from someone who’s aiming for us, it could mean there’s altruism in the universe. I like that idea. If they want to be friendly, that’s who we will find.”

    Scientists have searched the skies for radio signals for more than 50 years and expanded their search into the optical realm more than a decade ago. The idea of searching in the infrared is not a new one, but instruments capable of capturing pulses of infrared light only recently became available.

    “We had to wait,” Wright said. “I spent eight years waiting and watching as new technology emerged.”

    Now that technology has caught up, the search will extend to stars thousands of light years away, rather than just hundreds. NIROSETI, or Near-Infrared Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, could also uncover new information about the physical universe.

    “This is the first time Earthlings have looked at the universe at infrared wavelengths with nanosecond time scales,” said Dan Werthimer, UC Berkeley SETI Project Director. “The instrument could discover new astrophysical phenomena, or perhaps answer the question of whether we are alone.”

    NIROSETI will also gather more information than previous optical detectors by recording levels of light over time so that patterns can be analyzed for potential signs of other civilizations.

    “Searching for intelligent life in the universe is both thrilling and somewhat unorthodox,” said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. “Lick Observatory has already been the site of several previous SETI searches, so this is a very exciting addition to the current research taking place.”

    NIROSETI will be fully operational by early summer and will scan the skies several times a week on the Nickel 1-meter telescope at Lick Observatory, located on Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose.

    The NIROSETI team also includes Geoffrey Marcy and Andrew Siemion from UC Berkeley; Patrick Dorval, a Dunlap undergraduate, and Elliot Meyer, a Dunlap graduate student; and Richard Treffers of Starman Systems. Funding for the project comes from the generous support of Bill and Susan Bloomfield.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:40 am on May 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Hubble Legacy Field. Image contains 265000 galaxies that stretch billions of years back in time., , UCSC-UC Santa Cruz, University of Connecticut,   

    From NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope : “Hubble Astronomers Assemble Wide View of the Evolving Universe” 

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope


    From NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    May 2, 2019
    Donna Weaver
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
    410-338-4493
    dweaver@stsci.edu

    Ray Villard
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
    410-338-4514
    villard@stsci.edu

    Garth Illingworth
    University of California, Santa Cruz; UCO/Lick Observatory, Santa Cruz, California
    831-459-2843
    gdi@ucolick.org

    Bethany Downer
    ESA/Hubble, Public Information Officer
    Garching, Germany
    Email: bethany.downer@partner.eso.org

    Team led by UC Santa Cruz astronomer Garth Illingworth used 16 years of Hubble Space Telescope observations to create a new portrait of the distant universe.

    1
    Hubble Legacy Field. Image contains 265,000 galaxies that stretch billions of years back in time. Image credit: NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth and D. Magee (University of California, Santa Cruz), K. Whitaker (University of Conneticut), R. Bouwens (Leiden University), P. Oesch (University of Geneva), and the Hubble Legacy Field Team.

    Astronomers have put together the largest and most comprehensive “history book” of galaxies into one single image, using 16 years’ worth of observations from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

    The deep-sky mosaic, created from nearly 7,500 individual exposures, provides a wide portrait of the distant universe, containing 265,000 galaxies that stretch back through 13.3 billion years of time to just 500 million years after the big bang. The faintest and farthest galaxies are just one ten-billionth the brightness of what the human eye can see. The universe’s evolutionary history is also chronicled in this one sweeping view. The portrait shows how galaxies change over time, building themselves up to become the giant galaxies seen in the nearby universe.

    This ambitious endeavor, called the Hubble Legacy Field, also combines observations taken by several Hubble deep-field surveys, including the eXtreme Deep Field (XDF), the deepest view of the universe. The wavelength range stretches from ultraviolet to near-infrared light, capturing the key features of galaxy assembly over time.

    “Now that we have gone wider than in previous surveys, we are harvesting many more distant galaxies in the largest such dataset ever produced by Hubble,” said Garth Illingworth of the University of California, Santa Cruz, leader of the team that assembled the image.

    UCSC Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft)

    “This one image contains the full history of the growth of galaxies in the universe, from their time as ‘infants’ to when they grew into fully-fledged ‘adults.’

    2
    This graphic shows close-up images of 15 galaxies from the 265,000 galaxies in the Hubble Legacy Field. The galaxies are scattered across time, from 550 million years ago to 13 billion years ago. The top panel of snapshots shows mature “adult” galaxies; the middle panel shows galaxies in their “teenage” years when they are growing and changing dramatically; and the bottom panel shows small, youthful galaxies. [Credits: NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth and D. Magee (University of California, Santa Cruz), K. Whitaker (University of Connecticut), R. Bouwens (Leiden University), P. Oesch (University of Geneva), and the Hubble Legacy Field team] (This image was obtained from https://news.ucsc.edu/2019/05/hubble-legacy-field.html)

    No image will surpass this one until future space telescopes are launched. “We’ve put together this mosaic as a tool to be used by us and by other astronomers,” Illingworth added. “The expectation is that this survey will lead to an even more coherent, in-depth, and greater understanding of the universe’s evolution in the coming years.”

    The image yields a huge catalog of distant galaxies. “Such exquisite high-resolution measurements of the numerous galaxies in this catalog enable a wide swath of extragalactic study,” said catalog lead researcher Katherine Whitaker of the University of Connecticut, in Storrs. “Often, these kinds of surveys have yielded unanticipated discoveries which have had the greatest impact on our understanding of galaxy evolution.”

    Galaxies are the “markers of space,” as astronomer Edwin Hubble once described them a century ago. Galaxies allow astronomers to trace the expansion of the universe, offer clues to the underlying physics of the cosmos, show when the chemical elements originated, and enable the conditions that eventually led to the appearance of our solar system and life.

    Edwin Hubble looking through a 100-inch Hooker telescope at Mount Wilson in Southern California, 1929 discovers the Universe is Expanding

    This wider view contains about 30 times as many galaxies as in the previous deep fields. The new portrait, a mosaic of multiple snapshots, covers almost the width of the full Moon. The XDF, which penetrated deeper into space than this wider view, lies in this region, but it covers less than one-tenth of the full Moon’s diameter. The Legacy Field also uncovers a zoo of unusual objects. Many of them are the remnants of galactic “train wrecks,” a time in the early universe when small, young galaxies collided and merged with other galaxies.

    Assembling all of the observations was an immense task. The image comprises the collective work of 31 Hubble programs by different teams of astronomers. Hubble has spent more time on this tiny area than on any other region of the sky, totaling more than 250 days, representing nearly three-quarters of a year.

    “Our goal was to assemble all 16 years of exposures into a legacy image,” explained Dan Magee, of the University of California, Santa Cruz, the team’s data processing lead. “Previously, most of these exposures had not been put together in a consistent way that can be used by any researcher. Astronomers can select the data in the Legacy Field they want and work with it immediately, as opposed to having to perform a huge amount of data reduction before conducting scientific analysis.”

    The image, along with the individual exposures that make up the new view, is available to the worldwide astronomical community through the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST). MAST, an online database of astronomical data from Hubble and other NASA missions, is located at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

    The Hubble Space Telescope has come a long way in taking ever deeper “core samples” of the distant universe. After Hubble’s launch in 1990, astronomers debated if it was worth spending a chunk of the telescope’s time to go on a “fishing expedition” to take a very long exposure of a small, seemingly blank piece of sky. The resulting Hubble Deep Field image in 1995 captured several thousand unseen galaxies in one pointing. The bold effort was a landmark demonstration and a defining proof-of-concept that set the stage for future deep field images. In 2002, Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys went even deeper to uncover 10,000 galaxies in a single snapshot.

    NASA Hubble Advanced Camera forSurveys

    Astronomers used exposures taken by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), installed in 2009, to assemble the eXtreme Deep Field snapshot in 2012.

    NASA/ESA Hubble WFC3

    Unlike previous Hubble cameras, the telescope’s WFC3 covers a broader wavelength range, from ultraviolet to near-infrared.

    This new image mosaic is the first in a series of Hubble Legacy Field images. The team is working on a second set of images, totaling more than 5,200 Hubble exposures, in another area of the sky. In the future, astronomers hope to broaden the multiwavelength range in the legacy images to include longer-wavelength infrared data and high-energy X-ray observations from two other NASA Great Observatories, the Spitzer Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory.

    NASA/Spitzer Infrared Telescope

    NASA/Chandra X-ray Telescope

    The vast number of galaxies in the Legacy Field image are also prime targets for future telescopes. “This will really set the stage for NASA’s planned Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST),” Illingworth said.

    NASA/WFIRST

    “The Legacy Field is a pathfinder for WFIRST, which will capture an image that is 100 times larger than a typical Hubble photo. In just three weeks’ worth of observations by WFIRST, astronomers will be able to assemble a field that is much deeper and more than twice as large as the Hubble Legacy Field.”

    In addition, NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope will allow astronomers to push much deeper into the legacy field to reveal how the infant galaxies actually grew.

    NASA/ESA/CSA Webb Telescope annotated

    Webb’s infrared coverage will go beyond the limits of Hubble and Spitzer to help astronomers identify the first galaxies in the universe.

    For more information about the Hubble Legacy Field and Hubble telescope, visit http://www.nasa.gov/hubble.

    See the full HubbleSite article here .
    See the full ESA/Hubble article here .
    See the full UCSC article here .

    Related Links
    This site is not responsible for content found on external links

    NASA’s Hubble Portal
    Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST)
    Hubble Legacy Field (HLF) in MAST
    University of Connecticut’s Release
    Yale University’s Release


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), is a free-standing science center, located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

    ESA50 Logo large

    AURA Icon

     
  • richardmitnick 9:00 am on March 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 51 Pegasi b Fellowship, , , , , UCSC-UC Santa Cruz, , Xinting Yu   

    From UC Santa Cruz: Women in STEM-“Postdoctoral fellowship supports planetary science research” Xinting Yu 

    UC Santa Cruz

    From UC Santa Cruz

    March 27, 2019
    Tim Stephens
    stephens@ucsc.edu

    1
    Xinting Yu

    Xinting Yu wins 51 Pegasi b Fellowship for research at UC Santa Cruz on formation of clouds and hazes on exoplanets.

    The Heising-Simons Foundation has awarded a 51 Pegasi b Fellowship to Xinting Yu to support her postdoctoral research in planetary sciences at UC Santa Cruz starting in fall 2019.

    Established in 2017, the Heising-Simons Foundation 51 Pegasi b Fellowship is named for the first exoplanet discovered orbiting a sun-like star. The fellowship provides up to $375,000 of support for independent research over three years, as well as other benefits including an annual summit to develop professional networks, exchange information and ideas, and foster collaboration.

    In her research at UC Santa Cruz, Yu plans to explore how clouds, hazes, fog, dust, and other matter interact with different wavelengths of light, and how these relationships impact the signals we receive from exoplanets.

    Yu said she is intrigued by the abundant “super-Earths” and “mini-Neptunes” detected by the Kepler space mission. Since these exoplanets are completely unlike anything found in our own solar system, uncovering new information can contribute to a greater understanding of a large and diverse class of objects in the galaxy. As an experimentalist, she aims to generate a more realistic portrait of these exoplanets by expanding upon her research on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, and reproducing organic particles in exoplanet atmospheres through lab simulations.

    “My goal is to create more self-consistent models of clouds and hazes so we can get realistic simulations of what’s happening on exoplanets,” said Yu, who is currently completing her Ph.D. in planetary science at Johns Hopkins University.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UCSC Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft)

    .

    UCO Lick Shane Telescope
    UCO Lick Shane Telescope interior
    Shane Telescope at UCO Lick Observatory, UCSC

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    UC Santa Cruz campus
    The University of California, Santa Cruz, opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

    UCSC is the home base for the Lick Observatory.

    Lick Observatory's Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building
    Lick Observatory’s Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building

    Search for extraterrestrial intelligence expands at Lick Observatory
    New instrument scans the sky for pulses of infrared light
    March 23, 2015
    By Hilary Lebow
    1
    The NIROSETI instrument saw first light on the Nickel 1-meter Telescope at Lick Observatory on March 15, 2015. (Photo by Laurie Hatch) UCSC Lick Nickel telescope

    Astronomers are expanding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light at UC’s Lick Observatory. A new instrument, called NIROSETI, will soon scour the sky for messages from other worlds.

    “Infrared light would be an excellent means of interstellar communication,” said Shelley Wright, an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego who led the development of the new instrument while at the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics.

    Wright worked on an earlier SETI project at Lick Observatory as a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate, when she built an optical instrument designed by UC Berkeley researchers. The infrared project takes advantage of new technology not available for that first optical search.

    Infrared light would be a good way for extraterrestrials to get our attention here on Earth, since pulses from a powerful infrared laser could outshine a star, if only for a billionth of a second. Interstellar gas and dust is almost transparent to near infrared, so these signals can be seen from great distances. It also takes less energy to send information using infrared signals than with visible light.

    Frank Drake, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and director emeritus of the SETI Institute, said there are several additional advantages to a search in the infrared realm.

    “The signals are so strong that we only need a small telescope to receive them. Smaller telescopes can offer more observational time, and that is good because we need to search many stars for a chance of success,” said Drake.

    The only downside is that extraterrestrials would need to be transmitting their signals in our direction, Drake said, though he sees this as a positive side to that limitation. “If we get a signal from someone who’s aiming for us, it could mean there’s altruism in the universe. I like that idea. If they want to be friendly, that’s who we will find.”

    Scientists have searched the skies for radio signals for more than 50 years and expanded their search into the optical realm more than a decade ago. The idea of searching in the infrared is not a new one, but instruments capable of capturing pulses of infrared light only recently became available.

    “We had to wait,” Wright said. “I spent eight years waiting and watching as new technology emerged.”

    Now that technology has caught up, the search will extend to stars thousands of light years away, rather than just hundreds. NIROSETI, or Near-Infrared Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, could also uncover new information about the physical universe.

    “This is the first time Earthlings have looked at the universe at infrared wavelengths with nanosecond time scales,” said Dan Werthimer, UC Berkeley SETI Project Director. “The instrument could discover new astrophysical phenomena, or perhaps answer the question of whether we are alone.”

    NIROSETI will also gather more information than previous optical detectors by recording levels of light over time so that patterns can be analyzed for potential signs of other civilizations.

    “Searching for intelligent life in the universe is both thrilling and somewhat unorthodox,” said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. “Lick Observatory has already been the site of several previous SETI searches, so this is a very exciting addition to the current research taking place.”

    NIROSETI will be fully operational by early summer and will scan the skies several times a week on the Nickel 1-meter telescope at Lick Observatory, located on Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose.

    The NIROSETI team also includes Geoffrey Marcy and Andrew Siemion from UC Berkeley; Patrick Dorval, a Dunlap undergraduate, and Elliot Meyer, a Dunlap graduate student; and Richard Treffers of Starman Systems. Funding for the project comes from the generous support of Bill and Susan Bloomfield.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:53 am on March 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Advances in artificial intelligence also make government policy changes necessary she said. She plans to set up a think tank centered on issues around AI., Amita Kuttner, Amita Kuttner is a Green Party candidate for a seat in Canada’s House of Commons, Amita Kuttner was away at boarding school in 2005 when the mudslide hit her parents’ home outside of Vancouver Canada., “But when I felt powerless to do anything I thought ‘I can’t stand this. I can’t see something unjust and not want to change it.’”, “I love to do astrophysics” she said “but right now we have to save the planet so that we can do astrophysics.”, “I was sitting in my adviser’s office crying because I felt so powerless and never before then had I ever wanted power” she said., “The climate of the university is such that we are encouraged to not take the world for what it is but to challenge the status quo” she said., “The intention is bigger than the means” she said. “In the end it doesn’t matter how things get accomplished. I’ll just try another way.”, Donald Trump was elected president and she felt she could no longer focus only on her science., Her father survived but suffered permanent brain injuries according to Kuttner, Her platform includes a push to have municipalities prepare better for disasters and to strengthen social safety nets for people whose jobs are eliminated because of automation, Her time at UC Santa Cruz not only led her to a study of black holes which is the focus of her thesis but also birthed her activism., Kuttner is a Ph.D. student in astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, Kuttner led the Women in Physics and Astronomy group on campus, Kuttner said her campaign is very people centered., Kuttner said she has been fascinated by the universe and the nature of time since she was a young girl, Kuttner wants to establish a guaranteed livable income and to create policy to deal with the changes coming because of leaps in artificial intelligence technology, Kuttner went north to work on her Ph.D. and announce her Green Party candidacy. She will defend her thesis in May. The election is Oct. 21., She pointed herself toward the sciences early on, The disaster left her with post-traumatic stress disorder anxiety and depression., Tons of rocks soil and trees swept through her parent’s hillside house killing Kuttner’s mother Eliza while she slept and tossing her father Michael who was in the bathtub into the maelstrom., UCSC-UC Santa Cruz, Whether she wins the election or not Kuttner said she will continue to work on these issues., , Yet she graduated from high school and eventually landed at UC Santa Cruz where she completed her bachelor’s degree in physics in 2013 and received a master’s in 2016.   

    From UC Santa Cruz: Women in STEM-“Leading the charge for change” Amita Kuttner 

    UC Santa Cruz

    From UC Santa Cruz

    March 08, 2019
    Peggy Townsend
    gwenj@ucsc.edu

    Alumna Amita Kuttner, a current graduate student in astrophysics, is running as a Green Party candidate for a seat in Canada’s House of Commons in order to make policy around climate change—a quest sparked by a devastating loss.

    1
    Alumna Amita Kuttner, current Astrophysics graduate student & Green Party candidate for a seat in Canada’s House of Commons.

    Amita Kuttner was away at boarding school in 2005 when the mudslide hit her parents’ home outside of Vancouver, Canada.

    Tons of rocks, soil, and trees swept through her parent’s hillside house, killing Kuttner’s mother, Eliza, while she slept and tossing her father, Michael, who was in the bathtub, into the maelstrom. He survived but suffered permanent brain injuries, according to Kuttner.

    The slide came after several days of extreme rain, and while Kuttner, a Ph.D. student in astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, said she can’t specifically blame the disaster on climate change, she’s seen the devastating effects of recent wildfires, hurricanes, and floods that have been sparked by the Earth’s warming. She couldn’t just sit by, she said.

    Today, Kuttner, 28, is not only finishing her Ph.D. thesis but also running as a Green Party candidate for a seat in Canada’s 338-member House of Commons in order to help make policy for the changes we are facing.

    Her platform includes a push to have municipalities prepare better for disasters, to strengthen social safety nets for people whose jobs are eliminated because of automation, to establish a guaranteed livable income, and to create policy to deal with the changes coming because of leaps in artificial intelligence technology.

    “I love to do astrophysics,” she said by telephone from her home in a suburb of Vancouver, “but right now we have to save the planet so that we can do astrophysics.”

    Kuttner said she has been fascinated by the universe and the nature of time since she was a young girl and that she pointed herself toward the sciences early on. She was 14 and attending the private Mount Madonna School in the hills above Watsonville, Calif., when the slide struck her home. If she hadn’t been away at boarding school, she said, she would most likely have become another victim of the slide.

    The disaster left her with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression, she said. Yet, she graduated from high school and eventually landed at UC Santa Cruz, where she completed her bachelor’s degree in physics in 2013 and received a master’s in 2016.

    According to the College Nine grad, her time at UC Santa Cruz not only led her to a study of black holes, which is the focus of her thesis, but also birthed her activism.

    “The climate of the university is such that we are encouraged to not take the world for what it is but to challenge the status quo,” she said.

    Kuttner led the Women in Physics and Astronomy group on campus; learned about pushing back against outdated institutional policy; and spent hours in conversation with her adviser, Professor of Physics Anthony Aguirre, on big-picture topics that ranged from climate change to artificial intelligence. Aguirre is also associate director of the Foundational Questions Institute.

    Then, according to her, Donald Trump was elected president and she felt she could no longer focus only on her science.

    “I was sitting in my adviser’s office, crying because I felt so powerless, and never before then had I ever wanted power,” she said. “But when I felt powerless to do anything I thought, ‘I can’t stand this. I can’t see something unjust and not want to change it.’”

    Kuttner went north to work on her Ph.D. and announce her Green Party candidacy. She will defend her thesis in May. The election is Oct. 21.

    “It’s very easy to feel hopeless about the magnitude of the problems we face and how much we’re heading in the wrong direction,” Aguirre said. “But if you give in to that despair there’s no way those problems will be solved. Amita has taken that truth to heart, and chosen to be motivated rather than devastated. That’s a wonderful thing to see and gives me hope as well.”

    Kuttner said her campaign is very people centered. She believes that municipalities need to better prepare for the extreme weather that is coming by making sure people are ready, that communities can be resilient. She also believes government must address the root causes of people’s inability to make a decent living and also provide a guaranteed livable income, especially as jobs are lost because of automation.

    Advances in artificial intelligence also make government policy changes necessary, she said. She plans to set up a think tank centered on issues around AI.

    But whether she wins the election or not, Kuttner said, she will continue to work on these issues.

    “The intention is bigger than the means,” she said. “In the end, it doesn’t matter how things get accomplished. I’ll just try another way.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UCSC Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft)

    .

    UCO Lick Shane Telescope
    UCO Lick Shane Telescope interior
    Shane Telescope at UCO Lick Observatory, UCSC

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    UC Santa Cruz campus
    The University of California, Santa Cruz, opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

    UCSC is the home base for the Lick Observatory.

    Lick Observatory's Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building
    Lick Observatory’s Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building

    Search for extraterrestrial intelligence expands at Lick Observatory
    New instrument scans the sky for pulses of infrared light
    March 23, 2015
    By Hilary Lebow
    1
    The NIROSETI instrument saw first light on the Nickel 1-meter Telescope at Lick Observatory on March 15, 2015. (Photo by Laurie Hatch) UCSC Lick Nickel telescope

    Astronomers are expanding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light at UC’s Lick Observatory. A new instrument, called NIROSETI, will soon scour the sky for messages from other worlds.

    “Infrared light would be an excellent means of interstellar communication,” said Shelley Wright, an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego who led the development of the new instrument while at the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics.

    Wright worked on an earlier SETI project at Lick Observatory as a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate, when she built an optical instrument designed by UC Berkeley researchers. The infrared project takes advantage of new technology not available for that first optical search.

    Infrared light would be a good way for extraterrestrials to get our attention here on Earth, since pulses from a powerful infrared laser could outshine a star, if only for a billionth of a second. Interstellar gas and dust is almost transparent to near infrared, so these signals can be seen from great distances. It also takes less energy to send information using infrared signals than with visible light.

    Frank Drake, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and director emeritus of the SETI Institute, said there are several additional advantages to a search in the infrared realm.

    “The signals are so strong that we only need a small telescope to receive them. Smaller telescopes can offer more observational time, and that is good because we need to search many stars for a chance of success,” said Drake.

    The only downside is that extraterrestrials would need to be transmitting their signals in our direction, Drake said, though he sees this as a positive side to that limitation. “If we get a signal from someone who’s aiming for us, it could mean there’s altruism in the universe. I like that idea. If they want to be friendly, that’s who we will find.”

    Scientists have searched the skies for radio signals for more than 50 years and expanded their search into the optical realm more than a decade ago. The idea of searching in the infrared is not a new one, but instruments capable of capturing pulses of infrared light only recently became available.

    “We had to wait,” Wright said. “I spent eight years waiting and watching as new technology emerged.”

    Now that technology has caught up, the search will extend to stars thousands of light years away, rather than just hundreds. NIROSETI, or Near-Infrared Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, could also uncover new information about the physical universe.

    “This is the first time Earthlings have looked at the universe at infrared wavelengths with nanosecond time scales,” said Dan Werthimer, UC Berkeley SETI Project Director. “The instrument could discover new astrophysical phenomena, or perhaps answer the question of whether we are alone.”

    NIROSETI will also gather more information than previous optical detectors by recording levels of light over time so that patterns can be analyzed for potential signs of other civilizations.

    “Searching for intelligent life in the universe is both thrilling and somewhat unorthodox,” said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. “Lick Observatory has already been the site of several previous SETI searches, so this is a very exciting addition to the current research taking place.”

    NIROSETI will be fully operational by early summer and will scan the skies several times a week on the Nickel 1-meter telescope at Lick Observatory, located on Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose.

    The NIROSETI team also includes Geoffrey Marcy and Andrew Siemion from UC Berkeley; Patrick Dorval, a Dunlap undergraduate, and Elliot Meyer, a Dunlap graduate student; and Richard Treffers of Starman Systems. Funding for the project comes from the generous support of Bill and Susan Bloomfield.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:58 pm on January 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Resolved spectroscopy (also called integral field spectroscopy), UCSC-UC Santa Cruz   

    From UC Santa Cruz: “MaNGA data release includes detailed maps of thousands of nearby galaxies” 

    UC Santa Cruz

    From UC Santa Cruz

    January 29, 2019
    Tim Stephens
    stephens@ucsc.edu

    Major data release from Sloan Digital Sky Survey includes galaxy maps, new data access and visualization tools, and a huge ‘stellar library’.

    1
    The MaNGA data set will eventually include more than 10,000 nearby galaxies, and the survey is already more than half way toward that goal. (Image credit: SDSS/MaNGA collaboration)

    The latest data release from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) includes observations revealing the internal structure and composition of nearly 5,000 nearby galaxies observed during the first three years of a program called Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory (MaNGA).

    SDSS 2.5 meter Telescope at Apache Point Observatory, near Sunspot NM, USA, Altitude 2,788 meters (9,147 ft)

    MaNGA uses a technique called resolved spectroscopy to study galaxies in much greater detail than previous surveys. Spectroscopy is a powerful tool for astronomers, yielding a wealth of information by measuring how much light an object emits at different wavelengths. In the past, astronomers typically acquired just one spectrum for each galaxy, but resolved spectroscopy (also called integral field spectroscopy) obtains hundreds of separate spectra covering every location within the galaxy.

    “Resolved spectroscopy allows us to dissect a galaxy and study its internal composition and the motions of its stars and gas,” explained MaNGA principal investigator Kevin Bundy, an associate researcher at UC Observatories and adjunct professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz.

    2
    The Marvin web site offers easy access to a wealth of information about each galaxy in the MaNGA survey, including maps of key features such as star formation, stellar motion, emission lines, and dozens of other properties important to astronomers. View larger image here. (Image credit: SDSS/MaNGA collaboration)

    3
    The MaNGA survey obtains spectra across the entire face of target galaxies using custom-designed fiber bundles. The bottom right illustrates how the array of fibers spatially samples a particular galaxy. The top right compares spectra observed by two fibers at different locations in the galaxy, showing how the spectrum of the central regions differs dramatically from outer regions. (Image Credit: Dana Berry/SkyWorks Digital Inc., David Law, and the SDSS collaboration)

    “People have been doing resolved spectroscopy for individual galaxies, but we’ve never had it for thousands of galaxies, so MaNGA gives us the statistical power to address a lot of important questions,” Bundy said.

    MaNGA’s goal is to understand the “life history” of present-day galaxies, from their initial birth and assembly, through their ongoing growth via star formation and mergers, to their death from “quenching” of star formation at late times. Bundy and his students at UC Santa Cruz, for example, have discovered evidence in the MaNGA data for outflows of hot ionized gas in “dead” galaxies, supporting the idea that powerful winds driven out from a galaxy’s central black hole can shut down star formation. Bundy’s team is also finding clues to how galaxies were assembled over time by studying the motions of their stars and gas and by analyzing the chemical signatures of stars in different parts of galaxies.

    One of three programs in the fourth phase of SDSS, MaNGA will eventually study a representative sample of some 10,000 nearby galaxies. Bundy said the survey is more than half way toward that goal and on track to reach it by 2020. Data from 4,621 galaxies are now publicly available as part of the 15th SDSS data release (the third data release for SDSS-IV).

    “This data release is a major milestone for us,” Bundy said. “MaNGA is already by far the largest survey of its kind, and this release includes both the data and the analytical tools the project has developed.”

    A powerful new interface called Marvin provides access to the MaNGA data and galaxy maps based on analyses of the data. Marvin includes a wide range of tools for searching, accessing, and visualizing the data. The Marvin web site offers easy access to a wealth of information about each galaxy, including maps of key features such as star formation, stellar motion, emission lines, and dozens of other properties important to astronomers. Kyle Westfall, a project scientist at UC Observatories, led the development of the data analysis pipeline that produced the maps and other data products now publicly available for the first time.

    Another important part of this data release is the MaNGA Stellar Library containing spectra of more than 3,000 stars in our Milky Way galaxy. When complete, it will include 5,000 to 6,000 stars. Researchers can use the spectra of these individual stars to try to reconstruct the spectrum of a galaxy and thereby figure out that galaxy’s unique mix of different star types.

    “The MaNGA Stellar Library is the largest library of stars ever compiled, with spectra from the same instruments used for the galaxies, so it’s a very powerful tool for understanding the nature of the stellar populations in these galaxies,” Bundy said.

    MaNGA Survey Scientist Renbin Yan of the University of Kentucky led the development of the Stellar Library.

    The MaNGA survey uses the two BOSS spectrographs at the 2.5-meter Sloan Foundation Telescope at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico in a novel way.

    BOSS Spectrograph – SDSS-III

    Specially designed “integral field units,” each composed of tightly packed arrays of optical fibers, enable the measurement of spectra at multiple points in the same galaxy. The MaNGA spectra provide continuous coverage from optical to near-infrared wavelengths.

    Funding for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey IV has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, and the Participating Institutions.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UCSC Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft)

    .

    UCO Lick Shane Telescope
    UCO Lick Shane Telescope interior
    Shane Telescope at UCO Lick Observatory, UCSC

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    UC Santa Cruz campus
    The University of California, Santa Cruz, opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

    UCSC is the home base for the Lick Observatory.

    Lick Observatory's Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building
    Lick Observatory’s Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building

    Search for extraterrestrial intelligence expands at Lick Observatory
    New instrument scans the sky for pulses of infrared light
    March 23, 2015
    By Hilary Lebow
    1
    The NIROSETI instrument saw first light on the Nickel 1-meter Telescope at Lick Observatory on March 15, 2015. (Photo by Laurie Hatch) UCSC Lick Nickel telescope

    Astronomers are expanding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light at UC’s Lick Observatory. A new instrument, called NIROSETI, will soon scour the sky for messages from other worlds.

    “Infrared light would be an excellent means of interstellar communication,” said Shelley Wright, an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego who led the development of the new instrument while at the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics.

    Wright worked on an earlier SETI project at Lick Observatory as a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate, when she built an optical instrument designed by UC Berkeley researchers. The infrared project takes advantage of new technology not available for that first optical search.

    Infrared light would be a good way for extraterrestrials to get our attention here on Earth, since pulses from a powerful infrared laser could outshine a star, if only for a billionth of a second. Interstellar gas and dust is almost transparent to near infrared, so these signals can be seen from great distances. It also takes less energy to send information using infrared signals than with visible light.

    Frank Drake, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and director emeritus of the SETI Institute, said there are several additional advantages to a search in the infrared realm.

    “The signals are so strong that we only need a small telescope to receive them. Smaller telescopes can offer more observational time, and that is good because we need to search many stars for a chance of success,” said Drake.

    The only downside is that extraterrestrials would need to be transmitting their signals in our direction, Drake said, though he sees this as a positive side to that limitation. “If we get a signal from someone who’s aiming for us, it could mean there’s altruism in the universe. I like that idea. If they want to be friendly, that’s who we will find.”

    Scientists have searched the skies for radio signals for more than 50 years and expanded their search into the optical realm more than a decade ago. The idea of searching in the infrared is not a new one, but instruments capable of capturing pulses of infrared light only recently became available.

    “We had to wait,” Wright said. “I spent eight years waiting and watching as new technology emerged.”

    Now that technology has caught up, the search will extend to stars thousands of light years away, rather than just hundreds. NIROSETI, or Near-Infrared Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, could also uncover new information about the physical universe.

    “This is the first time Earthlings have looked at the universe at infrared wavelengths with nanosecond time scales,” said Dan Werthimer, UC Berkeley SETI Project Director. “The instrument could discover new astrophysical phenomena, or perhaps answer the question of whether we are alone.”

    NIROSETI will also gather more information than previous optical detectors by recording levels of light over time so that patterns can be analyzed for potential signs of other civilizations.

    “Searching for intelligent life in the universe is both thrilling and somewhat unorthodox,” said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. “Lick Observatory has already been the site of several previous SETI searches, so this is a very exciting addition to the current research taking place.”

    NIROSETI will be fully operational by early summer and will scan the skies several times a week on the Nickel 1-meter telescope at Lick Observatory, located on Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose.

    The NIROSETI team also includes Geoffrey Marcy and Andrew Siemion from UC Berkeley; Patrick Dorval, a Dunlap undergraduate, and Elliot Meyer, a Dunlap graduate student; and Richard Treffers of Starman Systems. Funding for the project comes from the generous support of Bill and Susan Bloomfield.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:53 pm on September 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alexie Leauthaud, , , , , First-year Subaru Hyper Suprime-Cam survey results yield cosmological constraints, , The deepest wide-field map of the three-dimensional distribution of matter in the universe, UCSC-UC Santa Cruz,   

    From UC Santa Cruz: Women in STEM- “First-year Subaru Hyper Suprime-Cam survey results yield cosmological constraints” Alexie Leauthaud 

    UC Santa Cruz

    From UC Santa Cruz

    September 25, 2018
    Tim Stephens
    stephens@ucsc.edu

    NAOJ Subaru Hyper Suprime-Cam

    NAOJ/Subaru Telescope at Mauna Kea Hawaii, USA,4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    Using the powerful Japanese Subaru telescope, the Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) survey collaboration team has made and analyzed the deepest wide-field map of the three-dimensional distribution of matter in the universe.

    The results place new constraints on the nature of the mysterious dark energy that is accelerating the expansion of the universe, said Alexie Leauthaud, assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and a member of the international collaboration.

    1
    Alexie Leauthaud (Photo by T. Stephens)

    The HSC survey, led by the astronomical communities of Japan and Taiwan and Princeton University, is an unprecedented effort to measure gravitational lensing, in which the gravity of a galaxy in the foreground of an image bends the light from a more distant galaxy as it passes by. Gravitational lensing can reveal dark matter, which accounts for about 80 percent of the mass in the universe but cannot be observed directly.

    Leauthaud has been involved in the survey from the beginning, joining the project when she was at the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (IPMU) at the University of Tokyo, before she joined the faculty at UC Santa Cruz. She helped to write the proposal that secured 300 nights for the survey on the Subaru telescope and has provided expertise with weak lensing measurements and performed critical data quality checks.

    2
    Left panel: The 3-dimensional dark matter map of the universe inferred from one of the six HSC observation areas is shown in the background with various shades of blue (brighter areas have more dark matter). The map was inferred from the distortions of shapes of galaxies in the HSC data which are indicated by white sticks. The stick lengths represent the amount of distortion and the angle of the stick corresponds to the direction of the distortion. Right panel: The measurements are enabled by the light from distant galaxies that travels through the Universe and gets deflected by matter at different epochs in the Universe, before reaching the Subaru telescope. (All images credit: C. Hikage et al.)

    Lumpiness

    3
    The cosmological constraints on the fractional contribution of matter to the energy budget of the universe (the rest of it corresponds to dark energy), and the clumpiness of the matter distribution today as inferred from the analysis of the 3d dark matter map. The results of the clumpiness of the matter distribution from HSC observations of the distant universe using weak gravitational lensing are consistent with results from other similar observations (Dark Energy Survey and the Kilo Degree Survey) of more nearby universe. The results from the cosmic microwave background observations during the universe’s infancy obtained by the Planck satellite are shown in blue.

    A team of scientists led by Chiaki Hikage at the Kavli IPMU has now used the gravitational distortion of images of about 10 million galaxies to make a precise measurement of the lumpiness of matter in the universe. By combining this measurement with observations of the cosmic microwave background by the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite and other cosmological experiments, the team has been able to further constrain dark energy.

    “Taken together in the context of other weak lensing data sets, the hints of a deviation from Planck are very intriguing,” Leauthaud said. “It is exciting to see what we have been able to achieve this early on in our survey. With our full data set, we will have the power to say whether or not there is a tension with Planck. That is incredibly exciting to me because we may be on the verge of learning something very interesting about the physics of dark energy.”

    Though quite weak, the gravitational lensing effect results in small but measurable distortions in the images of distant galaxies. Like a pointillist painting, the distorted images of millions of galaxies located further and further away paint a three-dimensional picture of the distribution of matter in the universe. The research team has characterized the precise amount of fluctuations in the matter distribution and their change over billions of years, from the universe’s adolescence to its adulthood.

    Precise measurements

    4
    Cosmological constraints on the dark energy equation of state: blue contours alone from HSC, red contours correspond to constraints after combining with cosmological results from the Planck CMB satellite and other contemporary cosmological measurements.

    The study required precise measurements of galaxy shapes. Since the weak lensing effect is quite small, the HSC team had to control various problems affecting the measurement of shapes, such as distortions due to the atmosphere and the instrument itself. The team overcame these difficulties by using detailed painstaking image simulations of the HSC survey based on Hubble Space Telescope images.

    When carrying out precise measurements of very small effects, it is known that people have a tendency to decide that their analysis is complete if their results confirm earlier results. The HSC team performed a so-called blind analysis of their data in order to avoid such “confirmation bias.” They carried out many tests of their catalogs for more than a year without ever seeing the actual values of cosmological parameters from their analysis or comparing with results from other experiments.

    The HSC weak lensing measurement is used to determine the lumpiness of matter in the universe, quantified by a parameter called S8. Larger S8, for example, would mean more structure such as galaxies in the universe. With the high-precision HSC data, the team determined S8 with a precision of 3.6 percent, which is similar to the precision with which it was measured by the weak lensing analysis from the Dark Energy Survey (DES). The DES surveyed​ ​14 times more area on the sky than HSC, but focused on the more nearby universe. With a deeper survey that images even fainter galaxies, the HSC team was able to map out a sharper dark matter distribution than was previously possible and achieved a similar precision measurement with a smaller area. This showcases the strength and complementarity of HSC among ongoing projects worldwide.

    Consistent picture

    When compared to the fluctuations expected from those seen in the universe’s infancy by the Planck satellite, the HSC measurements offer a consistent picture of the cosmological model. The universe today is dominated by dark matter and dark energy, and that dark energy behaves like Einstein’s cosmological constant—the simplest model.

    However, taken together the results from weak lensing surveys prefer a slightly smaller value of fluctuations than that predicted by the Planck satellite. This could just be a statistical fluctuation due to the limited amount of data, or it might be a signature of the breakdown of the standard model of the universe based on general relativity and the cosmological constant. The new HSC results come from a mere one tenth of the planned survey. When completed, the survey has the potential to deepen scientists’ understanding of the standard cosmological model by shedding light on the behavior of dark energy.

    The research paper has now been submitted to the journal ​Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan​ and will undergo rigorous peer review by the scientific community.

    The HSC survey began in the spring of 2014 using the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan’s Subaru telescope located at the summit of Mt. Maunakea on the Big Island of Hawaii. The telescope features a large collecting area corresponding to a diameter of 8.2 meters, a wide angle camera that fits an area equal to about 9 moons in a single shot, and superb image quality, making it well suited to conduct a wide yet deep imaging survey of the sky. The survey has covered about 140 square degrees of sky (the area of 3,000 full moons) over 90 nights on the telescope​.

    The research will be uploaded to the preprint server arxiv.org and will be submitted to the Publication of the Astronomical Society of Japan.

    See the full article here.
    See the phsy.org article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UCSC Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft)

    .

    UCO Lick Shane Telescope
    UCO Lick Shane Telescope interior
    Shane Telescope at UCO Lick Observatory, UCSC

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    UC Santa Cruz campus
    The University of California, Santa Cruz, opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

    UCSC is the home base for the Lick Observatory.

    Lick Observatory's Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building
    Lick Observatory’s Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building

    Search for extraterrestrial intelligence expands at Lick Observatory
    New instrument scans the sky for pulses of infrared light
    March 23, 2015
    By Hilary Lebow
    1
    The NIROSETI instrument saw first light on the Nickel 1-meter Telescope at Lick Observatory on March 15, 2015. (Photo by Laurie Hatch) UCSC Lick Nickel telescope

    Astronomers are expanding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light at UC’s Lick Observatory. A new instrument, called NIROSETI, will soon scour the sky for messages from other worlds.

    “Infrared light would be an excellent means of interstellar communication,” said Shelley Wright, an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego who led the development of the new instrument while at the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics.

    Wright worked on an earlier SETI project at Lick Observatory as a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate, when she built an optical instrument designed by UC Berkeley researchers. The infrared project takes advantage of new technology not available for that first optical search.

    Infrared light would be a good way for extraterrestrials to get our attention here on Earth, since pulses from a powerful infrared laser could outshine a star, if only for a billionth of a second. Interstellar gas and dust is almost transparent to near infrared, so these signals can be seen from great distances. It also takes less energy to send information using infrared signals than with visible light.

    Frank Drake, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and director emeritus of the SETI Institute, said there are several additional advantages to a search in the infrared realm.

    “The signals are so strong that we only need a small telescope to receive them. Smaller telescopes can offer more observational time, and that is good because we need to search many stars for a chance of success,” said Drake.

    The only downside is that extraterrestrials would need to be transmitting their signals in our direction, Drake said, though he sees this as a positive side to that limitation. “If we get a signal from someone who’s aiming for us, it could mean there’s altruism in the universe. I like that idea. If they want to be friendly, that’s who we will find.”

    Scientists have searched the skies for radio signals for more than 50 years and expanded their search into the optical realm more than a decade ago. The idea of searching in the infrared is not a new one, but instruments capable of capturing pulses of infrared light only recently became available.

    “We had to wait,” Wright said. “I spent eight years waiting and watching as new technology emerged.”

    Now that technology has caught up, the search will extend to stars thousands of light years away, rather than just hundreds. NIROSETI, or Near-Infrared Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, could also uncover new information about the physical universe.

    “This is the first time Earthlings have looked at the universe at infrared wavelengths with nanosecond time scales,” said Dan Werthimer, UC Berkeley SETI Project Director. “The instrument could discover new astrophysical phenomena, or perhaps answer the question of whether we are alone.”

    NIROSETI will also gather more information than previous optical detectors by recording levels of light over time so that patterns can be analyzed for potential signs of other civilizations.

    “Searching for intelligent life in the universe is both thrilling and somewhat unorthodox,” said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. “Lick Observatory has already been the site of several previous SETI searches, so this is a very exciting addition to the current research taking place.”

    NIROSETI will be fully operational by early summer and will scan the skies several times a week on the Nickel 1-meter telescope at Lick Observatory, located on Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose.

    The NIROSETI team also includes Geoffrey Marcy and Andrew Siemion from UC Berkeley; Patrick Dorval, a Dunlap undergraduate, and Elliot Meyer, a Dunlap graduate student; and Richard Treffers of Starman Systems. Funding for the project comes from the generous support of Bill and Susan Bloomfield.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:06 pm on September 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Quantum information science on the verge of a technological revolution, , UCSC-UC Santa Cruz   

    From UC Santa Cruz: “Quantum information science on the verge of a technological revolution” Revised 

    UC Santa Cruz

    From UC Santa Cruz

    September 13, 2018
    Tim Stephens
    stephens@ucsc.edu

    Theorist Yuan Ping is developing computational methods to guide the design of new materials for quantum computing and other quantum information technologies.

    1
    Materials scientist Yuan Ping (center) with graduate student Tyler Smart (left) and postdoctoral fellow Feng Wu (right) at the UCSC supercomputer center. (Photo by C. Lagattuta)

    See https://sciencesprings.wordpress.com/2018/09/10/from-uc-santa-cruz-nsf-funds-powerful-new-supercomputer-for-uc-santa-cruz-researchers/

    3
    Researchers are racing to develop quantum information technologies, in which information will be stored in quantum bits, or qubits. Qubits can be made from any quantum system that has two states, such as the spin states of electrons. (Image credit: National Science Foundation)

    Quantum computers may one day solve problems that are effectively beyond the capacity of conventional supercomputers. Quantum communications may enable instantaneous, secure transmission of information across vast distances, and quantum sensors may provide previously unheard of sensitivities.

    A global race is on to develop these new quantum information technologies, in which information will be stored in quantum bits, or qubits. In conventional digital technologies, a bit is either 0 or 1, whereas a qubit can represent both states at the same time because of a strange phenomenon of quantum physics called superposition. In theory, this will enable a massive increase in computing speed and capacity for certain types of calculations.

    At UC Santa Cruz, materials scientists are working to develop novel materials that can serve as the foundation for quantum information technology, just as silicon chips paved the way for today’s digital technologies. Several different systems for creating and manipulating qubits have been proposed and implemented, but for now they remain too cumbersome for real-world applications.

    “Our focus as materials scientists is on what material we should use as the fundamental element to carry the information. Other researchers are more concerned with how to wire it up to make a device that can perform calculations, but we’re focused on the material basis of the qubit,” said Yuan Ping, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UC Santa Cruz.

    2D materials

    In particular, Ping and other UCSC researchers are focusing on defects in extremely thin materials, called two-dimensional (2D) materials. Defects or imperfections in the atomic structure of a material can function as qubits because information can be encoded in the spin states of their electrons. This phenomenon has been well studied in other types of materials, most notably the “nitrogen vacancy” or NV defect in diamond. But according to Ping, 2D materials offer significant advantages.

    “Unlike diamond, 2D materials are relatively cheap and easy to make, they are scalable, and they are easy to integrate into a solid-state device,” she said. “They are also stable at room temperature, which is important because a lot of the qubit systems implemented so far use superconductors that can only operate at very low temperatures.”

    There are a lot of different 2D materials, however, and a lot of ways to put defects into them. The possibilities are almost endless, and it’s not practical to synthesize and test them all experimentally to see which have the best properties for quantum technologies.

    That’s where theorists like Ping come in. She is developing computational methods that can be used to predict the properties of defects in 2D materials reliably and efficiently. In December 2017, her team published a paper in Physical Review Materials establishing the fundamental principles for doing calculations to accurately describe charge defects, electronic states, and spin dynamics in 2D materials. (Her coauthors on the paper include postdoctoral fellow Feng Wu, graduate student Andrew Galatas, and collaborators Dario Rocca at University of Lorraine in France and Ravishankar Sundararaman at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.)

    In July, Ping won a $350,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to further develop these computational methods.

    “We’re developing a reliable set of tools to predict the electronic structure, excited-state lifetime, and quantum-state coherence time of defects in 2D materials at a quantum mechanical level,” Ping said. “We do calculations from first principles, meaning we don’t need any input from experiments. Everything is predicted based on quantum mechanics.”

    Quantum weirdness

    The world of quantum mechanics is notoriously counter-intuitive and hard to grasp. Concepts such as superposition and entanglement defy common sense, yet they have been demonstrated conclusively and are fundamental to quantum information technologies. Superposition, when a particle exists in two different states simultaneously, is often compared to a spinning coin, neither heads nor tails until it stops spinning. Entanglement creates a link between the quantum states of two particles or qubits, so it is as if the outcome of one spinning coin determined the outcome of another spinning coin.

    A major challenge in exploiting these phenomena for quantum information technologies is their inherent fragility. Interaction with the environment causes a superposition to fall into one state or the other. Called decoherence, this can be caused by vibrations of the atoms in the material and other subtle effects.

    “You want qubits to be well insulated from the environment to give longer coherence times,” Ping said.

    One 2D material that has shown promise for quantum technologies is ultrathin hexagonal boron nitride. Ping used her computational methods to investigate various defects in this material and identified a promising candidate for scalable quantum applications. This defect (a nitrogen vacancy adjacent to carbon substitution of boron) is predicted to have stable spin states well insulated from the environment and bright optical transitions, making it a good source for single photon emission and a good candidate for qubits.

    “Quantum emitters, which can emit one photon at a time, are important for optically-based quantum information processing, information security, and ultrasensitive sensing,” Ping said.

    She works closely with experimentalists, helping to interpret their results and guide their efforts to create novel materials with desirable properties for quantum technologies. Her group is part of a large collaborative effort, the Quantum Information Science and Engineering Network (QISE-NET), funded by the National Science Foundation. Tyler Smart, a graduate student in Ping’s group, is funded by QISE-NET and is working on a project at Argonne National Laboratory.

    “He will be traveling to Chicago to present his research every few months,” Ping said. “There are about 20 universities as well as national laboratories and industry partners in the network, meeting regularly and sharing ideas, which is important because it’s a fast-moving field.”

    One of the National Science Foundation’s 10 Big Ideas for Future NSF Investments is “The Quantum Leap: Leading the Next Quantum Revolution.”

    The Department of Energy is also investing in this area, as are companies such as Google and Intel, hoping to exploit quantum mechanics to develop next-generation technologies for computing, sensing, and communications.

    “They are all investing in it because it will take a lot of effort to develop this field, and the potential is so great,” Ping said.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UCO Lick Shane Telescope
    UCO Lick Shane Telescope interior
    Shane Telescope at UCO Lick Observatory, UCSC

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    UC Santa Cruz campus
    The University of California, Santa Cruz, opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

    UCSC is the home base for the Lick Observatory.

    Lick Observatory's Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building
    Lick Observatory’s Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building

    Search for extraterrestrial intelligence expands at Lick Observatory
    New instrument scans the sky for pulses of infrared light
    March 23, 2015
    By Hilary Lebow
    1
    The NIROSETI instrument saw first light on the Nickel 1-meter Telescope at Lick Observatory on March 15, 2015. (Photo by Laurie Hatch) UCSC Lick Nickel telescope

    Astronomers are expanding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light at UC’s Lick Observatory. A new instrument, called NIROSETI, will soon scour the sky for messages from other worlds.

    “Infrared light would be an excellent means of interstellar communication,” said Shelley Wright, an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego who led the development of the new instrument while at the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics.

    Wright worked on an earlier SETI project at Lick Observatory as a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate, when she built an optical instrument designed by UC Berkeley researchers. The infrared project takes advantage of new technology not available for that first optical search.

    Infrared light would be a good way for extraterrestrials to get our attention here on Earth, since pulses from a powerful infrared laser could outshine a star, if only for a billionth of a second. Interstellar gas and dust is almost transparent to near infrared, so these signals can be seen from great distances. It also takes less energy to send information using infrared signals than with visible light.

    Frank Drake, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and director emeritus of the SETI Institute, said there are several additional advantages to a search in the infrared realm.

    “The signals are so strong that we only need a small telescope to receive them. Smaller telescopes can offer more observational time, and that is good because we need to search many stars for a chance of success,” said Drake.

    The only downside is that extraterrestrials would need to be transmitting their signals in our direction, Drake said, though he sees this as a positive side to that limitation. “If we get a signal from someone who’s aiming for us, it could mean there’s altruism in the universe. I like that idea. If they want to be friendly, that’s who we will find.”

    Scientists have searched the skies for radio signals for more than 50 years and expanded their search into the optical realm more than a decade ago. The idea of searching in the infrared is not a new one, but instruments capable of capturing pulses of infrared light only recently became available.

    “We had to wait,” Wright said. “I spent eight years waiting and watching as new technology emerged.”

    Now that technology has caught up, the search will extend to stars thousands of light years away, rather than just hundreds. NIROSETI, or Near-Infrared Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, could also uncover new information about the physical universe.

    “This is the first time Earthlings have looked at the universe at infrared wavelengths with nanosecond time scales,” said Dan Werthimer, UC Berkeley SETI Project Director. “The instrument could discover new astrophysical phenomena, or perhaps answer the question of whether we are alone.”

    NIROSETI will also gather more information than previous optical detectors by recording levels of light over time so that patterns can be analyzed for potential signs of other civilizations.

    “Searching for intelligent life in the universe is both thrilling and somewhat unorthodox,” said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. “Lick Observatory has already been the site of several previous SETI searches, so this is a very exciting addition to the current research taking place.”

    NIROSETI will be fully operational by early summer and will scan the skies several times a week on the Nickel 1-meter telescope at Lick Observatory, located on Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose.

    The NIROSETI team also includes Geoffrey Marcy and Andrew Siemion from UC Berkeley; Patrick Dorval, a Dunlap undergraduate, and Elliot Meyer, a Dunlap graduate student; and Richard Treffers of Starman Systems. Funding for the project comes from the generous support of Bill and Susan Bloomfield.

     
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