open search form

News RSS Icon Subscribe via RSS

Keck Telescope and "Cosmic Lens" Resolve Nature and Fate of Early Star-Forming Galaxy
10/08/2008

Keck Telescope and "Cosmic Lens" Resolve Nature and Fate of Early Star-Forming Galaxy

Kathy Svitil

Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and their colleagues have provided unique insight into the nature of a young star-forming galaxy as it appeared only two billion years after the Big Bang and determined how the galaxy may eventually evolve to become a system like our own Milky Way.

Caltech Scientists Find Cells Coordinate Gene Activity with FM Bursts
09/30/2008

Caltech Scientists Find Cells Coordinate Gene Activity with FM Bursts

Kathy Svitil
How a cell achieves the coordinated control of a number of genes at the same time, a process that's necessary for it to regulate its own behavior and development, has long puzzled scientists. Michael Elowitz, an assistant professor of biology and applied physics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), along with Long Cai, a postdoctoral research scholar at Caltech, and graduate student Chiraj Dalal, have discovered a surprising answer. Just as human engineers control devices ranging from dimmer switches to retrorockets using pulsed--or frequency modulated (FM)--signals, cells tune the expression of groups of genes using discrete bursts of activation.
Caltech Scientist Proposes Explanation for Puzzling Property of Night-Shining Clouds at the Edge of Space
09/25/2008

Caltech Scientist Proposes Explanation for Puzzling Property of Night-Shining Clouds at the Edge of Space

Kathy Svitil
An explanation for a strange property of noctilucent clouds--thin, wispy clouds hovering at the edge of space at 85 km altitude--has been proposed by an experimental plasma physicist at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), possibly laying to rest a decades-long mystery.
MacArthur Foundation Names Alexei Kitaev Latest Caltech "Genius"
09/22/2008

MacArthur Foundation Names Alexei Kitaev Latest Caltech "Genius"

Sonia Chernobieff
Alexei Kitaev, a California Institute of Technology (Caltech) faculty member, has been named a MacArthur Fellow, winning one of the five-year, $500,000 grants that are awarded annually to creative, original individuals and that are often referred to as the "genius" awards.
Caltech Astronomers Describe the Bar Scene at the Beginning of the Universe
07/29/2008

Caltech Astronomers Describe the Bar Scene at the Beginning of the Universe

Kathy Svitil

Bars abound in spiral galaxies today, but this was not always the case. A group of 16 astronomers, led by Kartik Sheth of NASA's Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology, has found that bars tripled in number over the past seven billion years, indicating that spiral galaxies evolve in shape.

Rare 'Star-making Machine' Found in Distant Universe
07/10/2008

Rare 'Star-making Machine' Found in Distant Universe

Kathy Svitil

Astronomers have uncovered an extreme stellar machine -- a galaxy in the very remote universe pumping out stars at a surprising rate of up to 4,000 per year. In comparison, our own Milky Way galaxy turns out an average of just 10 stars per year.

LIGO Observations Probe the Dynamics of the Crab Pulsar
06/02/2008

LIGO Observations Probe the Dynamics of the Crab Pulsar

Kathy Svitil
The search for gravitational waves has revealed new information about the core of one of the most famous objects in the sky: the Crab Pulsar in the Crab Nebula. An analysis by the international LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) Scientific Collaboration to be submitted to Astrophysical Journal Letters has shown that no more than 4 percent of the energy loss of the pulsar is caused by the emission of gravitational waves.
Astrophysicist Wins One of First Kavli Prizes
05/30/2008

Astrophysicist Wins One of First Kavli Prizes

elisabeth nadin
Quasars--now known to be compact halos of matter that surround the massive black holes of distant galaxies--were once thought to be stars in our own galaxy. Now, Maarten Schmidt, who showed that quasars are thousands of millions of light-years away from Earth, has been named one of the first recipients of the $1 million Kavli Prize for his contributions to the field of astrophysics.
placeholder
Stellar Death Caught in the Act
05/21/2008

Stellar Death Caught in the Act

elisabeth nadin

Astronomers for the first time have caught a star in the act of exploding. Astronomers have previously observed thousands of stellar explosions, known as supernovae, but they have always seen them after the fireworks were well underway.

Thirty-Meter Telescope Focuses on Two Candidate Sites
05/15/2008

Thirty-Meter Telescope Focuses on Two Candidate Sites

elisabeth nadin
After completing a worldwide survey unprecedented in rigor and detail of astronomical sites for the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT), the TMT Observatory Corporation board of directors has selected two outstanding sites, one in each hemisphere, for further consideration. Cerro Armazones lies in Chile's Atacama Desert, and Mauna Kea is on Hawai'i Island.