Observational Astronomy

Shape dynamics: a relational view of the Universe

Shape Dynamics is a new theory of gravity which removes the notion of local relativistic time from the guiding principles of gravity in the universe. It is a very promising approach which has been shown to be equivalent to Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, without being embedded in time. It is inspired by adherence to Mach's Principle, which is violated by Einstein's theory.
 
Shape Dynamics provides new tools in the quest for a theory that describes quantum gravity.
 

Siding Spring at Mars, 209P/Linear at Earth and other close encounters with comets SETI Talks

Nine days after the event, SETI Institute meteor astronomer Dr. Peter Jenniskens gives an update on what we know so far from the close encounter of comet Siding Spring with Mars on October 19, and the study of meteor showers on Earth, including the shower that was seen during the close passage of comet 209P/Linear by Earth in May.

The Gemini Planet Imager initial performance and data analysis

Gemini Planet Imager schematicThe Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) is a dedicated facility for directly imaging and spectroscopically characterizing extrasolar planets. It combines a very high-order adaptive optics system, a diffraction-suppressing coronagraph, and an integral field spectrograph with low spectral resolution but high spatial resolution. GPI has been tuned for maximum sensitivity to faint planets near bright stars.

Our Galactic Center

milky way galaxy illustrationAbstract: Evidence has been accumulating for several decades that many galaxies harbor central mass concentrations that may be in the form of black holes with masses between a few million to a few billion times the mass of the Sun.

Khayyam: A Tunable Spatial Heterodyne Spectrometer for Broadband Observation of Diffuse Emission Line Targets

Shane telescope at Lick ObservatoryAbstract: Sona Hosseini will report on progress toward development of a tunable spatial heterodyne spectrometer (TSHS) at the fixed focus of the Coudé Auxiliary Telescope (CAT) in the Shane Telescope at Lick Observatory (Khayyam).

Towards Improved Occurrence Rates of Exoplanets: The Properties of Stars Observed by Kepler

Abstract: The detection of over 3000 new exoplanets by the NASA Kepler mission has opened up the possibility to infer the occurrence rate of planets in the habitable zones of stars in our galaxy. However, both the characteristics of the detected planets and their occurrence rates crucially depend on our understanding of properties of the stars that were observed.

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