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The Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences (CASS) is an interdisciplinary research unit for research and graduate study in astronomy, astrophysics, and space sciences. Areas of specialization include high-energy astrophysics, optical and ultraviolet astronomy, infrared astronomy, radio astronomy, theoretical astrophysics, cosmology, solar physics, space plasma physics, interferometry, and astronomical instrumentation. CASS includes faculty, research staff and students affiliated with UCSD's departments of Physics, Chemistry, and Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Recent News


Professor Keating
10 November 2014 : Brian Keating presents talk at 2014 TEDx San Diego's Chain Reaction event

Professor Keating's TEDx talk outlined his team's epic research - trying to unravel the origins of the universe. The Polarbear study involves peering skyward with space-age instruments from cold, distant locales in Chile's Atacama desert and in Antarctica, or more precisely, the South Pole, the coldest, driest, highest continent on earth, ideal for obtaining images of the distant universe. Read More

Dr. Tiglio
15 July 2014 : Manuel H. Tiglio appointed CASS Associate Research Scientist

We are pleased to announce that Manuel H. Tiglio has accepted an appointment in CASS as an Associate Research Scientist, effective July 1, 2014. Dr. Tiglio is formerly from Caltech and the University of Maryland, College Park. Welcome to CASS!

15 July 2014 : Lee Lindblom appointed CASS Research Scientist

We are pleased to announce that Lee Lindblom has accepted an appointment in CASS as a Research Scientist, effective July 1, 2014. Dr. Lindblom is formerly from Caltech. Welcome to CASS!

Dr. Kaufman
15 June 2014 : Jon Kaufman appointed CASS Postdoctoral Scholar

Jon Kaufman has been appointed to CASS as a Postdoctoral Scholar effective June 15, 2014. Dr. Kaufman works in Brian Keating's observational cosmology group on the POLARBEAR telescope project. He earned his PhD in Physics from UCSD. Congratulations, Dr. Kaufman!

Dr. Laurence Peterson
24 March 2014 : Dr. Laurence Peterson writes historical perspective on the early years of High Energy Astrophysics group

Dr. Laurence Peterson, retired head and founder of the High Energy Astrophysics group has written "A Personal Perspective on the Early Years of High Energy Astronomy: from Minnesota to San Diego", which documents the people and events that led to the establishment of the group, as well as the history of discoveries in the earliest days of hard X-ray and gamma ray astronomy in the United States. Read More

Professor Keating
17 March 2014 : Professor Keating and scientists see 'fingerprint' of Big Bang

Professor Brian Keating and scientists at four other universities announced they've found circumstantial evidence of the spark that caused the Big Bang 13.78 billion years ago. Read More

Grad student Jon Kaufman replenishes liquid helium for BICEP2's sensors
17 March 2014 : Professor Keating and other cosmologists report evidence for cosmic inflation

Professor Brian Keating is among the cosmologists in the consortium that reported a detection in curling patterns in the faint glow of the universe's oldest light that appear to be traces left by cosmic inflation, an exponential expansion of the universe thought to have occurred fractions of a second after the Big Bang. The evidence comes from observations made by BICEP2, a telescope that operated at the South Pole for three years, continuously scanning the sky for variations in the cosmic microwave background, or CMB. Read More

10 March 2014 : UCSD-CASS Ph.D student in Physics Darcy Barron: TV hash could signal evidence for the Big Bang

The snow-like hash on an analogue television is caused by background radiation from the Big Bang, the explosion 13.8 billion years ago which led to the formation of the Universe. But the Big Bang and the inflation of the universe which followed is presently just a theory. Darcy Barron's work has the potential to produce evidence which would turn theory into fact. Read More

The Cloudy Cores of Active Galaxies
19 February 2014 : Drs. Alex Markowitz and Mirko Krumpe led team to reveal the cloudy cores of active galaxies using RXTE satellite data

An international team of astronomers, led by scientists Dr. Alex Markowitz, CASS Assistant Research Scientist (also with Karl Remeis Observatory, Germany) and Dr. Mirko Krumpe (with the European Southern Observatory, Germany) has mapped out clouds of gas orbiting distant supermassive black holes using NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer.

The video was the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day for Feb. 24, seen here:

Click on 'Read More' for the NASA Feature web page and video animation by NASA/GSFC and Wolfgang Steffen, UNAM, Mexico. Read More

The late Professor Arthur M. Wolfe
18 February 2014 : Sad News

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Arthur M. Wolfe, distinguished astrophysicist, and Professor Emeritus in Physics at the University of California, San Diego. Art was a true leader in the fields of cosmology (Sachs-Wolfe effect) and extra-galactic astronomy. He was known as the founding father of the Damped Ly-alpha Systems. He influenced the research of hundreds of colleagues with his deep physical insight and was a terrific mentor to young researchers. He will be greatly missed by his colleagues and by the entire world of physics and astronomy communities.

Dimitri Basov (Chair, Department of Physics, UCSD)
George M. Fuller (Director of CASS, UCSD)
J Xavier Prochaska (UCO)

Please see UCSD News Center article for additional information. Read More

The three telescopes will be known as the Simons Array
7 February 2014 : Brian Keating and Adrian Lee awarded $4.3 million by
the Simons Foundation

The Simons Foundation has awarded co-investigators Brian Keating and Adrian Lee $4.3 million to build two additional telescopes, and implement improvements to the existing device. Together, the three telescopes will be known as the Simons Array. Keating is a member of CASS and Associate Professor of Physics. Read More

Lunar-ranging laser illuminates a spot of high thin clouds on its way to the surface of the eclipsed moon.
6 February 2014 : Source of 'Moon Curse' Revealed by Eclipse

Tom Murphy, CASS member and Associate Professor of Physics, is among the scientists who have aimed laser beams at suitcase-sized reflectors placed on the moon by Apollo astronauts and unmanned Soviet rovers. By precisely timing the light's return to Earth, Murphy can measure the distance from here to the moon with millimeter precision. Read More

Dr. Kishimoto
31 January 2014 : Chad Kishimoto appointed as Assistant Project Scientist

Chad Kishimoto has been appointed to CASS as an Assistant Project Scientist effective February 1, 2014. Dr. Kishimoto's research is in theoretical astrophysics, neutrino astrophysics, nuclear and particle astrophysics. Prior to his appointment at UCSD, he was a UCLA postdoc and UCSD Physics graduate. Congratulations, Dr. Kishimoto!

Professor Burgasser
30 January 2014 : Adam Burgasser 2013 UCSD EO/AA Diversity Award recipient

The Chancellor of UCSD has announced that Adam Burgasser, Associate Professor of Physics and member of CASS, has been awarded the 2013 Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action and Diversity Award. This award is given to individuals, departments, and organizational units who have made outstanding efforts to further diversity, equal opportunity, and affirmative action at UCSD. We in CASS are very familiar with Adam's extensive outreach/diversity efforts and are grateful for his leadership on these issues. This award was richly deserved. Congratulations Adam.

Galaxy formation hopkins.jpg
22 January 2014 : Galaxies on FIRE: Star feedback results in less massive galaxies

Dusan Keres and collaborators convincingly show that large amount of energy released by individual stars has dramatic consequences for the evolution of galaxies. For a long time astrophysicists attempted to understand why galaxies contain only a small fraction of the material available in the universe. In a new set of realistic supercomputer models of galaxies in our universe called FIRE (The Feedback in Realistic Environments) multi-university collaboration convincingly showed that this lack of cosmic material in galaxies is related to energetic events that closely follow formation of stars. Energy released by individual young stars substantially affects the evolution of galaxies and pushes large quantities of galactic gas into the inter-galactic medium preventing its accumulation in galaxies. (Link to press release from Caltech:
Click here for the ScienceDaily news article: Read More

POLARBEAR telescope
9 January 2014 : New telescopes search for origin of Universe

Two new telescopes will be built to join a single Polarization of Background Radiation (POLARBEAR) telescope located in Chile's high elevation Atacama Desert. The telescopes will be known as the Simons Array and used to probe the skies for extremely faint signatures of inflation. Read More

7 January 2014 : Massive weather systems revealed in a study of the nearest brown dwarfs

Adam Burgasser reported the results of an international monitoring campaign targeting the nearest brown dwarfs, during a press conference at the 223rd Meeting of the American Astronomical Society. Prof. Burgasser's collaboration made spectral and photometric measurements of the Luhman 16AB system, and L dwarf and T dwarf pair, using a dozen telescopes on four continents. The reported measurements, based on just two telescopes, allowed the team to constrain the size and variation of storm cells in mineral and metal clouds in the atmosphere of one of the brown dwarfs, which is only 6.5 light-years from the Sun. Read More

More News...

Please contact CASS website content manager Dana Johnson for update requests.