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ASTRONOMY CLUB TONIGHT: 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, The Accelerating Universe October 12, 2011

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, Cosmology, General Relativity, supernova.
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Physics-Nobel-Prize Medal

Physics-Nobel-Prize Medal

Tonight at 8:00PM, October 12, 2011 in Room 2153 Physical Science Building

Dr James Conwell will be giving a talk on this years Nobel Prize in Physics: The Accelerating Universe and “Dark Energy”

2011 NOBEL PRIZE IN PHYSICS October 4, 2011

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomers, Cosmology, supernova, white dwarf.
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The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said American Saul Perlmutter would share the 10 million kronor ($1.5 million) award with U.S.-Australian Brian Schmidt and U.S. scientist Adam Riess. Working in two separate research teams during the 1990s – Perlmutter in one and Schmidt and Riess in the other – the scientists raced to map the change in the  universe’s expansion over time. They were measuring the change in  Hubble’s Constant,  by analyzing a particular type of supernovas, Type Ia, or exploding stars.

SN 1994D in NGC 4526. in lower left

Type Ia supernovas are thought to be caused by a white dwarf star exceeding its maximum mass, the Chandrasekar limit, of about 1.4 Solar masses, collapsing and detonating into a supernova. Since this collapse occurs at the same mass limit , it’s though all Type Ia supernova are equally bright.

They found that the light emitted by more than 50 distant Ia supernovas was weaker than expected, a sign that the universe was expanding at an accelerating rate, the academy said.

“For almost a century the universe has been known to be expanding as a consequence of the Big Bang about 14 billion years ago,” the citation said. “However the discovery that this expansion is accelerating is astounding. If the expansion will continue to speed up the universe will end in ice.”

Perlmutter, 52, heads the Supernova Cosmology Project at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California, Berkeley.

Schmidt, 44, is the head of the High-z Supernova Search Team at the Australian National University in Weston Creek, Australia.

Riess, 41, is an astronomy professor at Johns Hopkins University and Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

Schmidt said he was just sitting down to have dinner with his family in Canberra, Australia, when the phone call came.

“I was somewhat suspicious when the Swedish voice came on,” Schmidt told The Associated Press. “My knees sort of went weak and I had to walk around and sort my senses out.”

The academy said the three researchers were stunned by their own discoveries – they had expected to find that the expansion of the universe was slowing down. But both teams reached the opposite conclusion: faraway galaxies were racing away from each other at an ever-increasing speed.

The discovery was “the biggest shakeup in physics, in my opinion, in the last 30 years,” said Phillip Schewe, a physicist and spokesman at the Joint Quantum Institute, which is operated by the University of Maryland and the federal government.

Astronomy Club Meeting Tonight (but at U of I) September 15, 2010

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy.
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The astronomy club is meeting …but we are taking a road trip, 50 miles north to the U of I campus, to listen to the annual Icko Iben Jr. Distinguished Lecture in Astronomy.

The 2010 Icko Iben Jr. Distinguished Lecture in Astronomy will be delivered by Dr. Tony Tyson, Distinguished Professor of Physics at the University of California, Davis. In his lecture, “Exploring the Dark Side of the Universe,” Prof. Tyson will discuss one of the most intriging mysteries in astronomy today. The talk will be at 7:00pm on September 15th in Foellinger Auditorium at the University of Illinois. This event is free and open to the public.

New Podcast sponsered by EIU May 24, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, Cosmology, Podcast.
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Description: There have been multiple theories of the ongoing evolution of the universe. Solid state, the big crunch – but hardly anyone expected the universe to not only expand, but to accelerate in it’s expansion. The Ordinary Guy talks to Dr Brian Schmidt, who explains the discovery, and what this means.

Bio: The Brains Matter podcast has been producing and communicating science stories and interviews since September 2006. The show is based out of Melbourne, Australia, and takes an everyday person’s perspective of science in easy-to-understand language.

New Podcast is up today at 365 Days of Astronomy May 12, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, Cosmology, IYA 2009, Podcast.
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Listen to the new podcast interview of Dr Michael Turner, who talks about the term he coined, DARK ENERGY.  It’s the May 12th episode of  365 days of astronomy sponsered by the EIU physics department. Permanent Link at: