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Solar Eclipse Dazzles at Caltech
05/22/2012

Solar Eclipse Dazzles at Caltech

Marcus Woo

Sunday evening's solar eclipse dazzled hundreds of sun gazers who gathered on Caltech's campus to watch the rare alignment, a partial annular "ring of fire" solar eclipse that wowed spectators around the world.

Notes from the Back Row: "An Explosion of Explosions"
05/18/2012

Notes from the Back Row: "An Explosion of Explosions"

Douglas Smith

In his Watson Lecture given on April 25, Shri Kulkarni, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Astronomy and Planetary Science and the director of the Caltech Optical Observatories, described how Caltech's fully automated Palomar Transient Factory—Kulkarni calls it "Transients 'R' Us"—is revolutionizing how we explore the changing sky.

NASA Lends Ultraviolet Space Telescope to Caltech
05/16/2012

NASA Lends Ultraviolet Space Telescope to Caltech

Marcus Woo

Caltech has taken over operation from NASA of the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), a space telescope that for the last nine years has been surveying the cosmos in ultraviolet light.

Overactive Black Holes Shut Down Star Formation
05/11/2012

Overactive Black Holes Shut Down Star Formation

Marcus Woo

A team of astronomers has found that the most active galactic nuclei—enormous black holes that are violently devouring gas and dust at the centers of galaxies—may prevent new stars from forming.

Notes from the Back Row: "Electrons In Flatland"
04/30/2012

Notes from the Back Row: "Electrons In Flatland"

Douglas Smith

In James Eisenstein's Watson lecture on January 18, 2012, he uses vivid analogies and nifty animations to lead us through the basics of quantum electronics to his own work with some very bizarre particles—even for quantum mechanics.

Two Galaxies in One
04/27/2012

Two Galaxies in One

Marcus Woo

Observations from the Spitzer Space Telescope show that the Sombrero galaxy is actually two galaxies in one. With a halo of stars surrounded by the thin edge of a stellar disk, the galaxy resembles a big hat.

Fermi Space Telescope Helps Scientists Narrow Search for Dark Matter
04/04/2012

Fermi Space Telescope Helps Scientists Narrow Search for Dark Matter

Marcus Woo

Scientists have further narrowed the search for a hypothetical particle that could be dark matter, the mysterious stuff that makes up 80 percent of all the mass in the universe.

Modeling Markets
03/23/2012

Modeling Markets

Marcus Woo

Chris Shannon, the Richard Merkin Professor of Economics and Mathematics, is one of Caltech's newest faculty members. Her research involves developing mathematical models to understand financial markets and other mechanisms that allocate goods, such as auctions.

Astronomers Find Light-Bending Quasars
03/16/2012

Astronomers Find Light-Bending Quasars

Marcus Woo

Astronomers have found celestial objects called quasars that bend and distort the light coming from galaxies behind them. The discovery may finally allow astronomers to determine the masses of galaxies that host quasars.

Experiment Observes Elusive Neutrino Transformation
03/08/2012

Experiment Observes Elusive Neutrino Transformation

Marcus Woo

An international team of physicists—including several from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech)—has detected and measured, for the first time, a transformation of one particular type of neutrino into another type. The finding, physicists say, may help solve some of the biggest mysteries about the universe, such as why the universe contains more matter than antimatter—a phenomenon that explains why stars, planets, and people exist at all.