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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 Biochemistry, and Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), and others.



Courtesy: UCSD Communications
21 August 2017 : CASS Astronomers Take Flight for Rare Solar Eclipse

Several CASS astronomers traveled far and wide to view today's special eclipse, which was the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in the United States in 99 years. Read More

11 August 2017 : TRAPPIST-1 is Older Than Our Solar System

Adam Burgasser -- first author on paper outlining a new study that the TRAPPIST-1 star is quite old: between 5.4 and 9.8 billion years. This is up to twice as old as our own solar system, which formed some 4.5 billion years ago. Read More

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4 August 2017 : Primordial Black Holes May Have Helped to Forge
Heavy Elements

Astronomers like to say we are the byproducts of stars, stellar furnaces that long ago fused hydrogen and helium into the elements needed for life through the process of stellar nucleosynthesis.

As the late Carl Sagan once put it: “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff.”

But what about the heavier elements in the periodic chart, elements such as gold, platinum and uranium?

Astronomers believe most of these “r-process elements”—elements much heavier than iron—were created, either in the aftermath of the collapse of massive stars and the associated supernova explosions, or in the merging of binary neutron star systems.

“A different kind of furnace was needed to forge gold, platinum, uranium and most other elements heavier than iron,” explained George Fuller, a theoretical astrophysicist and professor of physics who directs UC San Diego’s Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences. “These elements most likely formed in an environment rich with neutrons.” Read More

26 July 2017 : Milky Way’s origins are not what they seem

Prof. Keres and the FIRE team found that a large fraction of matter in the Milky Way comes from far-flung galaxies. Read More

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1 June 2017 : Sibasish Laha joins CASS

Sibasish Laha has been appointed as a Postdoctoral Scholar in CASS effective June 1st. Dr. Laha is under the supervision of Dr. Alex Markowitz and his research activities will involve studying how supermassive black holes residing in other galaxies are fueled. He will use observational X-ray data on dozens of gas-accreting black holes to study how matter is transported from the host galaxies. Welcome aboard!

An artist’s conception of SIMP0136. Image by NASA/JPL
9 May 2017 : Nearby Brown Dwarf Appears to be a Free-Floating ‘Planet’

Adam Burgasser was part of an international team which has discovered that one of the closest brown dwarfs to our Sun has the same mass as a giant planet. It's called SIMP J013656.5+093347, or SIMP0136 for short, and is a well-studied brown dwarf only 21 light-years from the Sun in the constellation Pisces. Read More

9 March 2017 : Adam Burgasser awarded a 2017-2018 Fulbright Scholarship

Adam Burgasser has been awarded a 2017-2018 Fulbright Scholarship to conduct astrophysical research in the United Kingdom. The Fulbright Program, initiated by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946 and managed by the US Department of State, aims to increase mutual understanding and support of friendly and peaceful relations between people of the US and the people of other countries by awarding exchange grants to US and foreign researchers in over 155 countries. Over 370,000 Fulbright Awards have been awarded since the programs inception, and many have gone on to win Nobel Prizes and become leaders and innovators in scientific research. Adam will be in residence at the University of Exeter investigating cloud formation in the atmospheres of the coolest stars, brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets.

23 February 2017 : Andrew Friedman's work on cosmic tests of fundamental quantum mechanics spotlighted

New CASS Assistant Research Scientist Andrew Friedman's work on cosmic tests of fundamental quantum mechanics has been featured as an Editors Suggestion in PRL, and is written up in Forbes, New Scientist, Quanta, and The Atlantic magazines. Here are the articles in Forbes, Quanta, and The Atlantic. For the PRL release: Read More

23 February 2017 : Andrew Friedman newly appointed in CASS

Andrew Friedman has been appointed as an Assistant Research Scientist in CASS, effective March 1st. Welcome aboard!

Edward Bouchet
23 February 2017 : Two graduate students selected as members of the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society

Mojegan Azadi and Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi have been selected to be members of the UC San Diego Chapter of the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society for 2017. Their nominations demonstrate their exemplification of the characteristics of Edward A. Bouchet: Character, Leadership, Advocacy, Service, and Scholarly Achievement. Congratulations! Read More

22 February 2017 : Adam Burgasser contributes to discovery of potentially habitable planetary system

Adam Burgasser is part of an international team that discovered a record-setting seven-planet system around a very low-mass, low-temperature star called TRAPPIST-1. All seven planets are roughly Earth-sized, and three reside in the star's habitable zone. Read More

30 January 2017 : Quinn Konopacky receives 2016 UCSD Diversity Award

Congratulations to Quinn Konopacky, Assistant Professor of Physics, for being nominated to receive a 2016 UCSD Diversity Award!

The annual Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Diversity Awards Program honors staff, faculty, students, departments, and organizational units or groups that make outstanding contributions in the areas of equal opportunity, affirmative action, diversity, and the UCSD Principles of Community during the year.

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