The SOFIA Observatory: Revealing the Hidden Universe with Airborne Science

NASA’s SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) is a flying observatory used by astronomers worldwide to conduct research at primarily infrared wavelengths. The unique capabilities of this mobile observatory enables scientific investigations ranging from our own Solar System origins to how stars and their accompanying planetary systems are formed. As an airborne telescope optimized for infrared data collection, SOFIA offers the only regular access to the wide swath of infrared wavelengths obscured by Earth’s lower atmosphere and unavailable to ground-based observatories.

The Twisted Universe: the cosmic quest to reveal which end is up

The cosmic microwave background (CMB) has spectacularly advanced our understanding of the origin, composition, and evolution of our universe. Yet there is still much to glean from this, the oldest light in the universe. Powerful telescopes are plying the skies in a quest to discover new physics.

The Breakthrough Initiative - Listen and Megastructures at KIC 8463

Dr. Andrew Siemion, Director of the Berkeley SETI Research Center (BSRC) at the University of California, Berkeley, will present an overview of the Breakthrough Listen Initiative, 100-million-dollar, 10-year search for extraterrestrial intelligence.  Dr.

Potentially biogenic carbon preserved in a 4.1 billion year old zircon

Although our planet is approximately 4.5 billion years old (Ga), Earth’s fossil record extends only to 3.5 Ga, the chemofossil record arguably to 3.8 Ga, and the rock record to 4.0 Ga.  However, detrital zircons from Jack Hills, Western Australia range in age up to nearly 4.4 Ga.  From a population of over 10,000 zircons from this locality, we identified one 4.10 Ga zircon that contains primary graphite inclusions in a crack-free region, and report carbon isotopic measurements on the graphite.  Evidence for carbon cycling or biologic activity can be derived from carbon isotopic studies, sin

Geology After Pluto

Jeff Moore is the lead of the New Horizons Geology Team. He will talk about the discoveries made by the New Horizons mission on the fascinating fly by of the dwarf planet Pluto.


Exoplanets spectroscopy with diffraction primary objective telescopes

When diffraction is employed as the primary collector modality of a telescope instead of reflection or refraction, a new set of performance capabilities emerges. A diffraction-based telescope forms a spectrogram first and an image as secondary data. The results are startling. In multiple object capability, the diffraction telescope on earth can capture 2 million spectra to R > 100,000 in a single night, better for a census of exoplanets by radial velocity than any prior art.

Observing the re-entry of space debris WT1190F

Dr. Jenniskens will describe the airborne observations he took part in of the re-entry of space debris on Nov 13, 2015.

Life in the Universe — the Breakthrough Initiatives

On July 20, 2015, the 46th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the Breakthrough Prize Foundation announced in London, UK a new initiative to study life in the universe.  The announcement was made by Silicon Valley billionaire Yuri Milner and physicist Steven Hawking.  The Breakthrough Initiatives currently consist of two primary elements, Breakthrough Listen which is a $100M renewed search for intelligent extraterrestrial signals, and Breakthrough Message, a global competition with a $1M prize to create, but not sent a message representing humanity.  S.

Finding Amazing Structures Hidden in Big, Complex, Dense, Raw Data

Mr Marvin Weinstein consults on the application of Dynamic Quantum Clustering (DQC) to exploring and analyzing big, complex datasets. The goal is to reveal and understand unexpected hidden information without modeling the data or engaging in complex statistical analyses.


High Temperature Volcanism on Earth: Physical Volcanology, Mineralogy, and Geochemistry of Archean Komatiites

Komatiites are magnesium-rich magmas characterized by very high temperature (up to 1640°C vs. ~1200°C for modern basalts), very low viscosity (0.1-1 Pa·s), and a very large interval (460-160°C) between liquidus and solidus. As a consequence, they formed highly mobile flows capable of flowing long distances over gentle slopes that - if channelized - thermally and thermomechanically eroded wallrocks and substrates. This led to the formation of some of the world’s richest nickel-copper-platinum group element deposits.


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