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Category Archives: Astronomy and space

UC Davis-led team achieves first light for flying infrared instrument

As we blogged last week, the EXES (Echelon-Cross-Echelle Spectrograph) instrument, a collaboration involving UC Davis and NASA Ames scientists and engineers and led by research scientist Matthew J. Richter of the UC Davis Physics Department, successfully carried out its first …
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SOFIA flying observatory passing over tonight

The SOFIA flying lab will make its second flight with the EXES experiment on board tonight. The EXES (Echelon-Cross-Echelle-Spectrograph) project is lead by UC Davis phyicist Matt Richter. The flight plan should have SOFIA, which operates out of Palmdale, Calif., …
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Hubble weighs the “El Gordo” colliding galaxy cluster

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has weighed the largest known galaxy cluster in the distant universe and found that it definitely lives up to its nickname: El Gordo, Spanish for “the fat one.” By precisely measuring how much the gravity from …
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Infrared observatory to take flight

On March 31, a team from UC Davis and NASA Ames installed the EXES Science Instrument aboard SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. EXES (Echelon-Cross-Echelle Spectrograph) is designed to observe light in the mid-infrared at high resolution. It operates …
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Physicists reflect on gravity wave discovery

Contributed by Lloyd Knox, Department of Physics On March 17, the scientific world was shaken by a dramatic announcement: Astronomers reported what many consider to be the “smoking gun” of a theorized stage in the very early evolution of the …
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Rover’s first sample of Martian soil comes up wet

Contributed by Kat Kerlin The Mars Rover Curiosity is all grown up and eating solids. The first solid sample ingested and analyzed by the rover revealed a high percentage of water in the soil. Water molecules bound to fine-grained soil …
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Engineering professor’s ‘messaging code’ helps NASA communicate with IRIS spacecraft

One of NASA’s recent missions, the IRIS Solar Observatory, has been communicating its results via a 7/8 Low-Density Parity-Check (LDPC) code developed by Shu Lin, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The Interface Region …
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Taking the temperature of the universe — from the South Pole

Astronomers are getting a better grasp on the structure of the universe, the nature of neutrinos and possibly a way to see gravity waves from the Big Bang, thanks to observations from the South Pole Telescope and the Herschel Space …
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Planck’s new map brings universe into focus

The Planck space mission has today released the most accurate and detailed map ever made of the oldest light in the universe. The universe according to Planck is expanding a bit more slowly than thought, and at 13.8 billion is …
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Curious about the Higgs boson, dark energy, black holes? Hear from the experts

If this week’s news about the Higgs boson got your interest, don’t miss a day of public lectures set for Saturday, April 6. Four leading physicists — Nobel prizewinner Frank Wilczek (MIT), Maxwell Chertok (UC Davis), Michael S. Turner (University …
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