Past Astronomy Colloquia

Mon, 2017-11-27 15:00 - 16:15
Andreas Faisst (Caltech/IPAC)
Less than 1 billion year after the Big Bang (< 8% of today's age of the Universe), the cosmic star formation rate and stellar mass density of galaxies increased by more than one order of magnitude, a gradient steeper than at any other time. Hence it is expected that galaxies during this early rapid growth phase show significantly different spatial and physical properties compared to galaxies at later times. I present how observations with Spitzer, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), and the HST help us to study and understand this important corner-stone phase of galaxy evolution.
Mon, 2017-11-20 15:00 - 16:15
Chris Willott (Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics)

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is currently in its final phase of integration and scheduled for launch in the spring of 2019, with science operations to commence six months later. Equipped with four powerful science instruments, JWST will provide imaging and spectroscopy from 0.6 to 28 microns through numerous observing modes specifically designed to tackle of wide range of scientific investigations, from studying planets and moons of our Solar system, detecting the faintest galaxies in the early universe to probing the thin atmosphere of exoplanets transiting nearby bright stars.

Mon, 2017-11-13 15:30 - 16:45
Mon, 2017-11-06 15:00 - 16:15
Courtney Dressing (Berkeley)
Over the past twenty years, ground- and space-based investigations have revealed that our galaxy is teeming with planetary systems and that Earth-sized planets are common. Although Earth-size planets within the habitable zones of Sun-like stars are challenging to detect, potentially habitable planets orbiting low-mass dwarfs are more amenable to detection due to their deeper transit depths, larger radial velocity semi-amplitudes, increased likelihoods of transit, and shorter orbital periods.
Mon, 2017-10-30 15:00 - 16:15
Charli Sakari (University of Washington)

A universal understanding of galaxy formation requires observations of galaxies beyond the Milky Way. Although individual stars in distant galaxies are too faint for high-resolution spectroscopy, globular clusters (GCs) can be studied through integrated light (IL) s pectroscopy. Since GCs are expected to trace the properties of their host galaxies, distant clusters can be utilized in lieu of resolved stars to investigate the assembly histories of their hosts.

Mon, 2017-10-23 15:30 - 16:45
Karin Sandstrom (UC San Diego)

Dust plays critical roles in many of the processes occurring in the interstellar medium and dust’s infrared emission serves as a tracer for the ISM and star formation from the nearby universe out to high redshift. While most of our knowledge of dust is built from observations of the local area of the Milky Way, it is clear that dust properties change dramatically in low metallicity conditions which may be prevalent at high redshift and in nearby dwarf galaxies.

Mon, 2017-10-16 15:00 - 16:15
Hannah Jang-Condell (University of Wyoming)
Exoplanets have been discovered in orbits as close as 0.05 AU, and as distant as hundreds of AU. Hence, exoplanets are a hot topic, but they are also pretty cool. One way to better understand planetary systems is to study their origins. Gas-rich protoplanetary disks represent early stages of planet formation, when gas giants form. Gas-free debris disks represent later stages of planet formation, when terrestrial planets might form.
Mon, 2017-10-09 15:30 - 16:45
Mon, 2017-10-02 15:00 - 16:00
Yancy Shirley (Steward Observatory, University of Arizona)

Recent surveys of the dust continuum emission in the Milky Way Galaxy have revealed tens of thousands of cold, dense clumps with enough mass to form clusters of stars (some potentially massive stars) but no current evidence for star formation. These massive starless clump candidates represent the earliest phase of cluster formation. The typical starless clump candidate is ~1 pc in size, cold (Tk ~ 13 K), and with a mass of ~250 Msun.

Mon, 2017-09-25 15:00 - 16:00
Yashar Hezaveh (Stanford)

Strong gravitational lensing provides a unique opportunity to investigate many subjects, including the distribution of dark matter in lensing galaxies, the properties of distant galaxies by magnifying their images, and the expansion rate of the universe. Today, however, there are only a few hundred strong lenses known and the study of these systems has been often limited to small samples, due to the challenging nature of lens modeling analysis. This is about to change.

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