DiRAC Open House and Research Highlights

We would like to thank all of you who attended the lecture by Nobel Laureate Saul Perlmutter to celebrate the opening of our DiRAC Institute.

It was a wonderful and inspiring evening that demonstrated how our understanding of the universe might change as a result of the data from a new generation of telescopes and satellites that will come on line over the next few years. We were very happy that you could join us and share this excitement and hope that, over the coming months, you will follow the work and discoveries that will come from the DiRAC Institute.

If you would like to hear about some of the research going on at DiRAC Institute you can watch our team describe some of their research highlights below or check the news on our site. We would also welcome your support of the students and researchers at the DiRAC Institute.

DiRAC Institute Introduction from Nikolina Horvat on Vimeo.

“Life in Space” screening at Pacific Science Center

A new 3D IMAX movie, The Search For Life in Space, is now playing at the Pacific Science Center and explores the questions: What does it mean to be an Astrobiologist? and How do people study life in space when we haven’t yet found life outside of Earth?

On Wednesday December 6, 2017, three University of Washington astrobiologists will discuss their research – including the search for planets around other stars, characterizing how stars influence the habitability of those planets, and techniques to mix computer modeling with data analysis to determine the characteristics of potentially habitable worlds. After viewing the documentary “The Search for Life in Space”, the scientists will answer questions about their research and other topics addressed in the film.

Tickets can be purchased at the Pacific Science Center website. The event can also be viewed on Facebook.

About the speakers:
Brett Morris is a PhD candidate of astronomy and astrobiology at the University of Washington. He studies stars and their planets with observations from telescopes on the ground and in space. Brett grew up in New York, and received his BS in astronomy and BS in physics from the University of Maryland, and his masters in astronomy from the University of Washington.

Marshall “Moosh” Styczinski is a graduate student at the University of Washington, with a Master’s degree in physics. In his research, Marshall uses magnetic fields to peel back the icy crust of Jupiter’s moons, looking for places that life may be found.

Dr. Erika Harnett is a Research Associate Professor at the University of Washington. Her background is in math and physics. She studies how radiation and magnetic fields from the Sun influence the upper atmospheres and surfaces of planets and moons in the solar system, through physics-based computer simulations. She investigates both the evolution of those environments over time, and how the current conditions may influence exploration of the surfaces by both robots and humans. She is passionate about communicating the excitement of science and math to the general public.

Doors open: 6:40 p.m.
Location: PACCAR Theater (Pacific Science Center)
Cost: $5 for general admission, free for Members

Solar Eclipse Aug 21, 2017

Star chart for August 2017.

The solar eclipse will occur on August 21, 2017. The eclipse will by 95% in Seattle and will start at 9:08am and end 11:38am, with ~totality at 10:20am. Remember to wear special eclipses glasses, as staring at the sun directly, even during an eclipse, can cause permanent damage to your eyes. Read about the eclipse event in Seattle and tips here (via SeattleMet). For a more broad overview of the August solar eclipse across the US, explore this article/interactive graphic here (via WashingtonPost).

PS – there’s the annual August Perseid Meteor Shower the week prior to the eclipse when the moon isn’t very bright.

Astronomy Graduation Celebration: Friday June 9

Please join us for the Astronomy Department’s Graduation Celebration on Friday, June 9 at 4:00pm in PAA 118. A light reception (joint with Physics) will begin at 4:00pm with the ceremony starting at 4:30pm. Please plan to arrive early as we will be asking the graduates to line up around 4:15pm. If you are a double-major you must select which Department ceremony you wish to attend. RSVP for the Astronomy Graduation Ceremony here.

Graduation June 2016

The Astronomy Graduation Celebration will take place on Friday, June 10, 2016 at 4:00pm in Physics/Astronomy A118. A light reception (co-hosted with Physics) will begin at 4:00pm with the ceremony starting at 4:30pm. Graduates should plan to arrive early as we will be asking them to line up around 4:15pm. Both Physics and Astronomy will provide more information and online RSVP links in April. Double-majors in Physics and Astronomy will need to decide which Department’s ceremony they wish to attend. Note: while the reception is co-hosted with Physics, our ceremonies are held in different auditoriums at the same time.

Grad Applications 2015

Grad applications for UW Astronomy are due December 31, 2015! For official information about the graduate program and structure, click here and here. If you’d like to learn more about our program from the prospective of current grads, see these pages. We seek to achieve scientific rigor and excellence and strive to promote a welcoming environment for people of all gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or national origin. When you’re ready to apply, follow detailed instructions on how to do so here.