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Northwestern University

CIERA members are in collaborations that span the University, the country, and the globe. Here are some of the collaborations that we work in:

In the US:
  • Kepler is NASA’s mission to search for exoplanets, measure their properties, and help understand the distribution and population of exoplanets.
    • Research Assistant Professor Jason Steffen is a member of this collaboration; many other CIERA members work with Kepler data.
  • LSST, or the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, is an 8-meter class survey telescope, currently under development, and rated as the #1 priority in ground-based astronomy by the 2010 Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey.
    • Professor Vicky Kalogera serves as Northwestern’s Institutional Representative, and serves on the LSST Corporation Board. She has also joined three of the Science Collaborations: the Supernovae Collaboration, the Milky Way & Stellar Populations Collaboration, and the Transients/Variable Stars Collaboration.
    • Professor Mel Ulmer has joined the Dark Energy Sciences Collaboration.
    • Professor Dave Meyer has joined the Stars, Milky Way, and Local Volume Collaboration.
  • SHARP is a polarimeter at the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory.
    • Professor Giles Novak and Research Assistant Professor Nicholas Chapman both worked on this instrument.

  • BLAST-Pol, or the Balloon-borne Large-Aperture Submillimeter Telescope for Polarimetry, is a long-duration balloon that flies over Antarctica for approximately a week, and is designed to study star formation in our Galaxy.
    • Professor Giles Novak and Postdoctoral Fellow Laura Fissel collaborate with a team from the US, Canada, Mexico, and the UK, and in mapping the polarization in star-forming regions to constrain the importance of magnetic fields in star birth.
  • DAFT/FADA (the Dark energy American French Team/French American DArk energy) Survey is a large project that aims to characterize statistically high-redshift galaxy clusters and infer cosmological constraints from weak lensing by those clusters.
    • Professor Mel Ulmer has been a part of the DAFT/FADA collaboration since 2011, collaborating with researchers in France, but also scientists at The Ohio University, Fermilab, Leiden Observatory, Stanford, and UC Santa Barbara.
  • FIRE: The Feedback in Realistic Environments collaboration builds large-scale computer simulations of galaxy formation and evolution, utilizing detailed, explicit implementations of feedback processes of stars and black holes during galaxy evolution.
    • Assistant Professor Claude-André Faucher-Giguère leads the Northwestern contingent of FIRE, working with Postdoctoral Fellow Daniel Angles-Alcazar.
  • LIGO: The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory is an instrument designed to measure the minute perturbations caused by passing gravitational waves, which are caused by merging compact objects, such as a black hole and a neutron star.
    • Professor Vicky Kalogera leads the Northwestern component of the LIGO collaboration, working with Postdoctoral Fellows Chris Pankow and Laura Sampson. They focus on the understanding the populations of astrophysical sources that can generate gravitational waves.
  • SOFIA / HAWC+: SOFIA is NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy – a telescope that is mounted in the back of a 747, flying to approximately 40,000 feet to get beyond most of the water vapor in our atmosphere. Our group works primarily on HAWC+: the High-Resolution Airborne Wideband Camera and Polarimeter.
    • Professor Giles Novak and Visiting Scholar Marc Berthoud are developing the data analysis pipeline for HAWC+, using our on-campus High-Performance Computing system (Quest).