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“Galactic Bloom” by Zach Hafen and Alex Gurvich

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“Galactic Bloom” by Zach Hafen and Alex Gurvich

This cosmic flower was not grown in nature, but by astrophysicists using supercomputers. At the center of the flower, a simulated galaxy shines in bright yellow. The galaxy is surrounded by multi- colored petals, representing different origins and consisting of many smaller lines; each is a record of the path of matter through space. Simulations

  • Achievement,
  • Interdisciplinary

CIERA’s 10th Annual Public Lecture, “The NU Astronomy of Stars, Black Holes, and Cosmic Explosions”

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CIERA’s 10th Annual Public Lecture, “The NU Astronomy of Stars, Black Holes, and Cosmic Explosions”

CIERA’s 10th annual public lecture was presented October 11, 2018 by director Vicky Kalogera. Kalogera’s talk–a glimpse into the years of fascinating work conducted by CIERA–highlighted key discoveries and what they mean for the future of astronomy. Kalogera discussed the lives of stars, how their influence on the Cosmos has changed in the recent decade,

CIERA / Northwestern

NSF Panel for First Cosmic Event seen in Gravitational Waves and Light

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NSF Panel for First Cosmic Event seen in Gravitational Waves and Light

LIGO – Virgo discovery marks first cosmic event observed in both gravitational waves and light. Announcement made at the National Press Club, Washington, DC. Panel with representatives from various telescopes, begins at 51:21 (Please note that Marica Branchesi’s institutional affiliation is incorrectly indicated in the video. The correct affiliation for Dr. Branchesi is Gran Sasso

NSF / LIGO-Virgo

  • Education,
  • Event,
  • Science

Eccentric Black Hole Mergers in Globular Clusters

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Eccentric Black Hole Mergers in Globular Clusters

This simulation shows a binary-binary encounter involving four black holes, which can occur at the cores of dense stellar systems such as gloublar clusters. Such encounters can lead to long-lived “resonating” interactions, through which many temporary binary systems are created. By incorporating a more accurate description of Einstein’s gravity in the equations of motion, the formation

Mike Zevin / Northwestern

  • Education,
  • Science

Radio Rebound Powered by Jets from Gamma-Ray Burst

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Radio Rebound Powered by Jets from Gamma-Ray Burst

Astronomers using ALMA studied a cataclysmic stellar explosion known as a gamma-ray burst, or GRB, and found its enduring “afterglow.” The rebound, or reverse shock, triggered by the GRB’s powerful jets slamming into surrounding debris, lasted thousands of times longer than expected. These observations provide fresh insights into the physics of GRBs, one of the

National Radio Astronomy Observatory

What is LIGO?

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What is LIGO?

CIERA Director and Northwestern LIGO group lead Vicky Kalogera talks about the different types of waves astronomers have used throughout history to study the Universe. Now, we are in the age of “multi-messenger” astronomy. This means that different types of waves from the same cosmic event can be studied.

LIGO-Virgo / Northwestern

  • Education,
  • Science,
  • Outreach

The Signal

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The Signal

CIERA Associate Director and Northwestern LIGO group member Shane Larson describes how different the 2017 Neutron Star Merger (GW170817) signal is from previous signals.

LIGO-Virgo / Northwestern

  • Education,
  • Science

Science Lecture from Peering into the Cosmic Maelstrom

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Science Lecture from Peering into the Cosmic Maelstrom

Following the October 16, 2017 announcement of the first-ever observation of a binary neutron star inspiral and merger, Northwestern’s astronomy research center, CIERA, held a discussion with the Northwestern scientists behind the discovery. View the lecture by Shane Larson to understand the science behind this amazing astronomical event!

CIERA / Northwestern

  • Education,
  • Event,
  • Science,
  • Outreach

Peering into the Cosmic Maelstrom

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Peering into the Cosmic Maelstrom

Following the October 16, 2017 announcement of the first-ever observation of a binary neutron star inspiral and merger, Northwestern’s astronomy research center, CIERA, held a discussion with the Northwestern scientists behind the discovery. View the recording of this event in full, and join Professors Vicky Kalogera, Shane Larson, Raffaella Margutti and Wen-fai Fong as they

CIERA / Northwestern

  • Education,
  • Event,
  • Science,
  • Outreach

Panel Discussion from Peering into the Cosmic Maelstrom

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Panel Discussion from Peering into the Cosmic Maelstrom

Following the October 16, 2017 announcement of the first-ever observation of a binary neutron star inspiral and merger, Northwestern’s astronomy research center, CIERA, held a discussion with the Northwestern scientists behind the discovery. View the panel discussion with Professors Vicky Kalogera, Raffaella Margutti, and Wen-fai Fong. Panel moderated by Adler Planetarium President & CEO, Michelle

CIERA / Northwestern

  • Education,
  • Event,
  • Science,
  • Outreach

Masses in the Stellar Graveyard

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Masses in the Stellar Graveyard

Supported Browsers: Windows: Google Chrome Mac: Google Chrome or Safari

Visualization: LIGO/Frank Elavsky/Northwestern | Non-LIGO Data Sources: Neutron Stars: http://xtreme.as.arizona.edu/NeutronStars/data/pulsar_masses.dat Black Holes: https://stellarcollapse.org/sites/default/files/table.pdf | LIGO-Virgo Data: https://www.gw-openscience.org/events/

  • Education,
  • Science

Final Flight of a Neutron Star Pair

Interactive

Final Flight of a Neutron Star Pair

This interactive allows you to investigate possible past lives of the two neutron stars that merged in an event called GW170817 in the galaxy NGC 4993. The pair of stars—a neutron star and a normal star—orbit quietly, until the normal star undergoes a supernova, spawning a second neutron star and “kicking” the system into an elliptical orbit.

LIGO-Virgo / Aaron Geller / Northwestern

  • Education,
  • Science

How many merger binary black holes are there?

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How many merger binary black holes are there?

How many merger binary black holes are there? There are lots of uncertainties in our understanding of stellar evolution. This plot shows one prediction from the COMPAS population synthesis code for the number of gravitational-wave detections:  there would be about 500 detections per year of observing time once our detectors reach design sensitivity! In Barrett, Gaebel,

Barrett, Gaebel, Neijssel, Vigna-Gómez, Stevenson, Berry, Farr, & Mandel (2018)

Source Galaxies for a Simulated Gravitational-wave Signal

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Source Galaxies for a Simulated Gravitational-wave Signal

This image shows the most probable source galaxies for a simulated gravitational-wave signal from a binary neutron star system. Accurately identifying the source of gravitational waves is extremely important for directing follow-up observations with telescopes, and for measuring the expansion of the Universe. In Del Pozzo, Berry, Ghosh, Haines, Singer & Vecchio (2018; http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2018MNRAS.479..601D) we applied

Del Pozzo, Berry, Ghosh, Haines, Singer & Vecchio (2018)

APERTURE Telescope Conceptual Design Animation

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APERTURE Telescope Conceptual Design Animation

APERTURE: A Precise Extremely large Reflective Telescope Using Reconfigurable Elements. This is the deployment concept which was produced during the NIAC Phase I feasibility study. APERTURE is a UV-Visible telescope with a 16-m diameter primary mirror. The primary is a flexible membrane coated with magnetic smart material. The shape of the reflector can be corrected

Mel Ulmer / CIERA Northwestern

BLAST-TNG

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BLAST-TNG

Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope – The Next Generation (BLAST-TNG) BLAST is a 5,000 pound balloon-borne telescope bound for the stratosphere over Antarctica, to search for the origins of stars and planets. This photo was taken by graduate student Paul Williams in the summer of 2018 in Palestine, Texas at the Columbia Scientific Ballooning Facility.

Gabriele Coppi / University of Pennsylvania

Revealing the Lives of Stars Through the Cataclysmic Collisions of Black Holes

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Revealing the Lives of Stars Through the Cataclysmic Collisions of Black Holes

Northwestern Physics and Astronomy student Mike Zevin presents a talk as part of the Northwestern Ready Set Go (RSG) program. The goals of the program are to increase awareness for the urgent need for excellent research communicators and to coach graduate and post doctoral researchers to improve their own presentation skills. The program focuses on three important

Northwestern's RSG Program

Balloons Above Antarctica: The Coolest Place to Put a Telescope

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Balloons Above Antarctica: The Coolest Place to Put a Telescope

Northwestern Physics and Astronomy student Paul Williams presents a talk as part of the Northwestern Ready Set Go (RSG) program. The goals of the program are to increase awareness for the urgent need for excellent research communicators and to coach graduate and post doctoral researchers to improve their own presentation skills. The program focuses on three important

Northwestern's RSG Program

Listening for Colliding Black Holes

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Listening for Colliding Black Holes

Northwestern Physics and Astronomy student Michael Katz presents a talk as part of the Northwestern Ready Set Go (RSG) program. The goals of the program are to increase awareness for the urgent need for excellent research communicators and to coach graduate and post doctoral researchers to improve their own presentation skills. The program focuses on three important

Northwestern's RSG Program

Exploring the Invisible Universe with Computer Simulations

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Exploring the Invisible Universe with Computer Simulations

Northwestern Physics and Astronomy student Alex Gurvich presents a talk as part of the Northwestern Ready Set Go (RSG) program. The goals of the program are to increase awareness for the urgent need for excellent research communicators and to coach graduate and post doctoral researchers to improve their own presentation skills. The program focuses on three important

Northwestern's RSG Program

Exploring the Universe with Virtual Galaxies

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Exploring the Universe with Virtual Galaxies

Northwestern Physics and Astronomy student Zachary Hafen presents a talk as part of the Northwestern Ready Set Go (RSG) program. The goals of the program are to increase awareness for the urgent need for excellent research communicators and to coach graduate and post doctoral researchers to improve their own presentation skills. The program focuses on three important

Northwestern's RSG Program

Pulsars in the Snow Globes

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Pulsars in the Snow Globes

Northwestern Physics and Astronomy student Shi Ye presents a talk as part of the Northwestern Ready Set Go (RSG) program. The goals of the program are to increase awareness for the urgent need for excellent research communicators and to coach graduate and post doctoral researchers to improve their own presentation skills. The program focuses on three important

Northwestern's RSG Program

Highlights from Cosmos in Concert

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Highlights from Cosmos in Concert

Developed by astronomer and musician Kyle Kremer, Cosmos in Concert brings together astronomy and live classical music to entertain and educate audiences. Through multimedia shows, in-school residencies, and public outreach events, Cosmos in Concert introduces a new platform for science education and outreach. Cosmos in Concert

Kyle Kremer / Northwestern

Isolated Disc Galaxy

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Isolated Disc Galaxy

Simulation of an isolated disc galaxy, looking at the disc of the galaxy face on (top panels) and edge on (bottom panels). The left-hand panels show images of the stellar light, and is what we would see if we viewed this galaxy with a telescope such as Hubble. The right-hand panels show the gas in

Alex Richings / Northwestern

A Stellar Collision, Ripples In Space-Time, And The Origins Of Gold

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A Stellar Collision, Ripples In Space-Time, And The Origins Of Gold

About 130 million years ago, two neutron stars collided, unleashing an explosion that rippled space-time and splattered the cosmos with a cocktail of heavy metals. Astronomers announced that they spotted the signals from that “kilonova” explosion, both in gravitational waves like the ones LIGO previously detected from merging black holes, and in signals across the

Science Friday

A 10 Solar Mass Star

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A 10 Solar Mass Star

This movie shows the evolution of a star 10 times more massive than our sun. The blue color of the star’s surface visible in the first frame is the result of this higher mass. Each star spends most of its life in a phase known as the main sequence, during which it burns hydrogen into

Stellar simulation by Vicky Kalogera, Bart Willems and Francesca Valsecchi. Visualization by Matthew McCrory. / Funding: NSF and LIGO

Stellar encounters: Binary+single (exchange and collision)

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Stellar encounters: Binary+single (exchange and collision)

Binary+single encounter that leads to an exchange, followed by a second binary+single encounter that leads to a collision Within star clusters, close encounters between single and multiple stars can be frequent and may lead to the production of exotic stars like X-ray sources and blue stragglers. By using the small-N-body code FEWBODY and another visualization

Movies by Aaron Geller using IDL and MPEG Streamclip; dynamical calculation performed using FEWBODY / Funding: NSF

Stellar encounters: Triple+binary (collision)

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Stellar encounters: Triple+binary (collision)

Triple+binary encounter that leads to a collision Within star clusters, close encounters between single and multiple stars can be frequent and may lead to the production of exotic stars like X-ray sources and blue stragglers. By using the small-N-body code FEWBODY and another visualization software, a few visualizations of interesting stellar encounters were created. In

Movies by Aaron Geller using IDL and MPEG Streamclip; dynamical calculation performed using FEWBODY / Funding: NSF

Stellar encounters: Binary+single (collision)

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Stellar encounters: Binary+single (collision)

Binary + single encounter that leads to a collision Within star clusters, close encounters between single and multiple stars can be frequent and may lead to the production of exotic stars like X-ray sources and blue stragglers. By using the small-N-body code FEWBODY and another visualization software, a few visualizations of interesting stellar encounters were

Movies by Aaron Geller using IDL and MPEG Streamclip; dynamical calculation performed using FEWBODY / Funding: NSF

Stellar Encounters: Binary+single (exchange)

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Stellar Encounters: Binary+single (exchange)

Binary+single encounter that leads to an exchange Within star clusters, close encounters between single and multiple stars can be frequent and may lead to the production of exotic stars like X-ray sources and blue stragglers. By using the small-N-body code FEWBODY and another visualization software, a few visualizations of interesting stellar encounters were created. In

Movies by Aaron Geller using IDL and MPEG Streamclip; dynamical calculation performed using FEWBODY / Funding: NSF

The Late Evolution of Our Solar System

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The Late Evolution of Our Solar System

This movie, Life of the Pleiades, was generated from an interactive visualization that Aaron Geller developed with Mark SubbaRao using Uniview. The interactive version can be shown on a planetarium dome, or rendered into a movie (as shown here). A 3D version of this movie exists in the Space Visualization Lab at the Adler Planetarium.

Created by A. M. Geller and M. SubbaRao, using Uniview; music, narration and audio by A. M. Geller; dynamical calculation with stellar evolution performed using the NBODY6 code.

A 1 Solar Mass Star

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A 1 Solar Mass Star

This movie shows the evolution of a star as massive as our sun. Each star spends most of its life in a phase known as the main sequence, during which it burns hydrogen into helium at its center and it slowly expands (as the reference circles show) to accommodate the energy produced via this nuclear

Stellar simulation by Vicky Kalogera, Bart Willems and Francesca Valsecchi. Visualization by Matthew McCrory. / Funding: NSF and LIGO

Dynamical Evolution of Star Clusters

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Dynamical Evolution of Star Clusters

This movie, Life of the Pleiades, was generated from an interactive visualization that Aaron Geller developed with Mark SubbaRao using Uniview. The interactive version can be shown on a planetarium dome, or rendered into a movie (as shown here). A 3D version of this movie exists in the Space Visualization Lab at the Adler Planetarium.

Created by A. M. Geller and M. SubbaRao, using Uniview; music, narration and audio by A. M. Geller; dynamical calculation with stellar evolution performed using the NBODY6 code.

A 20 Solar Mass Star

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A 20 Solar Mass Star

This movie shows the evolution of a star 20 times more massive than our sun. The blue color of the star’s surface visible in the first frame is the result of this higher mass.

Stellar simulation by Vicky Kalogera, Bart Willems and Francesca Valsecchi. Visualization by Matthew McCrory. / Funding: NSF and LIGO

Neutron Star & White Dwarf Binary

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Neutron Star & White Dwarf Binary

This movie shows one of the possible evolutionary scenarios of a binary system. Binary systems are star systems comprising two stars orbiting around their common center of mass in a Keplerian orbit, which means that the two components are bound together by their mutual gravitational attraction. In this movie, the binary system consists of a

Stellar simulation by Vicky Kalogera, Bart Willems and Francesca Valsecchi. Visualization by Matthew McCrory. / Funding: NSF and LIGO

Evolution of the Color Magnitude Diagram of a Star Cluster

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Evolution of the Color Magnitude Diagram of a Star Cluster

This is a movie of the evolving color-magnitude diagram from the N-body model of the old open cluster NGC 188. Binaries are plotted with blue points, and show the combined light of the unresolved system. Single stars are plotted in black points. The dynamical and stellar evolution calculations were performed using NBODY6, with some modifications

Movie by Aaron Geller using IDL and MPEG Streamclip; dynamical and stellar evolution calculations performed with NBODY6 / Funding: NSF

Radiative-hydrodynamic Simulation of a Dusty Cloud Irradiated by a Quasar

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Radiative-hydrodynamic Simulation of a Dusty Cloud Irradiated by a Quasar

The figure shows a radiative-hydrodynamic simulation of a dusty cloud irradiated by a quasar (located at r = 0). Radiation pressure is set to be the dominant pressure source. Left panel shows the initial conditions, while the right panel shows the cloud 10^4 years after exposure to the quasar radiation. A quasi-static density gradient develops at

Jonathan Stern in collaboration with J. Onorbe.

Cataclysmic Variable stars

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Cataclysmic Variable stars

Cataclysmic Variable stars (CVs) are binary star systems where an ultra-dense star (a white dwarf) pulls material off of its companion star, steadily consuming it over time. Depending on how strong the magnetic field strength of the white dwarf is, this material might be channelled down onto the surface of the white dwarf via magnetic

Deanne Coppejans / Northwestern

Mass Loss Velocity

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Mass Loss Velocity

Massive stars end their lives in powerful explosions (supernovae) that span a wide range of energies and properties. The most powerful of these are the appropriately named Superluminous Supernovae (SLSNe). As SLSNe are so bright and energetic, we can see them out to great distances in the universe, and they could prove to be very

Deanne Coppejans / Northwestern

Black Hole Encounter

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Black Hole Encounter

In late 2015, LIGO discovered gravitational waves emitted by two black holes (each with a mass of about 30 times that of our Sun) that spiraled together and merged about 1.5 billion years ago. Astrophysicists are now debating which is the most likely mechanism that can bring two black holes like those observed so close

Firefly Demonstration

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Firefly Demonstration

Firefly is a portable web-based 3d visualization software developed in partnership between the Northwestern University Galaxy Formation and Visualization groups. It was developed with the data output of the FIRE simulations in mind but can visualize any 3d dataset (in coordinate or phase space). In this video I demonstrate some of the key features of

Aaron Geller / Alex Gurvich / Northwestern

Galaxy Evolution

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Galaxy Evolution

Here we show the evolution of a Milky Way-like galaxy over time. The top row shows the galaxy as it would appear today, the middle 3.5 billion years ago, and the bottom almost 10 billion years ago. Columns give different views of the same snapshot in time, leftmost is the mock view through the Hubble

Alex Gurvich / Northwestern

Firefly Visualization Platform

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Firefly Visualization Platform

A screenshot from Firefly, an interactive, web-based, and publicly available visualization platform available at ageller.github.io/Firefly. Shown here is a snapshot in time from a simulation of a Milky Way-like galaxy with the stars in blue, the gas in red, and the dark matter in yellow. In the real universe the gas and dark matter is invisible, so

Aaron Geller / Alex Gurvich / Northwestern