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AST News

Dave Principe AST Alumni is coauthor of a new paper that has just appeared in Nature

July 13, 2016

Dave Principe, AST Alumni, is coauthor of a new paper in Nature. The paper concerns the detection of the so-called "snow line" in a planet-forming disk orbiting a very young (less than 1 million year old) star, using the powerful new Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA). The "snow line" is thought to mark the position in a disk where coatings of volatile ices (CO, CO2, methanol, etc) can form on dust grains, setting the stage for the buildup of the icy cores of Jupiter-like planets.

AST Faculty & Graduate Student mentor RIT undergraduates building star-tracking instrument for NASA research rockets

August 10, 2016

Rochester Institute of Technology undergraduates are making a “compass” for rockets using a new kind of detector technology. The instrument will fly on a NASA technology demonstration mission later this year. The team’s mentors are Zemcov; Dorian Patru, professor of electrical engineering; and Chi Nguyen, a Ph.D. student from Vietnam in the astrophysical sciences and technology graduate program.

The student team is designing, building—and deploying—a telescope and camera that will orient the rocket payload based on the images of stars. RIT’s Cryogenic Star Tracking Attitude Regulation System is funded by a $200,000 grant from NASA’s Undergraduate Student Instrument Project Flight Research Opportunity program. The NASA program is designed to give undergraduates experience developing and flying experiments relevant to NASA’s mission. Full Article

AST Faculty create new method for identifying black holes Techniques connect solutions to Einstein’s equations directly with observations

June 29, 2016

Rochester Institute of Technology professors have developed a faster, more accurate way to assess gravitational wave signals and infer the astronomical sources that made them. Their method directly compares data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory to cutting-edge numerical simulations of binary black holes, including simulations performed at RIT.

In a paper available online, the LIGO Scientific Collaboration reanalyzed the first gravitational wave detections using this method. Insights from these simulations indicate that the first detected black holes were slightly more similar in mass than previously thought. RIT authors on the paper include faculty Richard O’Shaughnessy, Manuela Campanelli, Carlos Lousto, John Whelan and Yosef Zlochower; postdoctoral researcher James Healy; graduate students Jacob Lange and Yuanhao Zhang; and undergraduate student Monica Rizzo and recent graduate Jackson Henry. They are all members of RIT’s Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration... Full Article

AST Faculty Richard O'Shaughnessy predicts a universe crowded with black holes, co-author of paper in ‘Nature’

June 22, 2016
A new study published in Nature presents one of the most complete models of matter in the universe and predicts hundreds of massive black hole mergers each year observable with the second generation of gravitational wave detectors. The model anticipated the massive black holes observed by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory. The two colliding masses created the first directly detected gravitational waves and confirmed Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
AST Faculty Richard O'Shaughnessy featured in Forbes, National Geographic, Physicsworld & Redorbit articles. 

Smaller stars pack big X-ray punch for developing planets,AST Faculty leads study

June 13, 2016
Young stars much less massive than the sun can unleash a torrent of X-ray radiation that can significantly shorten the lifetime of planet-forming disks surrounding these stars. This result comes from a new study of a group of nearby stars using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes. Rochester Institute of Technology astronomer Joel Kastner led the study.

AST Faculty help identify, analyze gravitational waves, properties of the final black hole, New gravitational waves observed from second pair of black holes

June 15, 2016

Gravitational waves from a second pair of colliding black holes has validated the landmark discovery from earlier this year that confirmed Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Rochester Institute of Technology scientists contributed to the initial breakthrough and to the second discovery announced Wednesday by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory.

The second gravitational wave was observed by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration on Dec. 26, 2015, toward the end of the first science run of the Advanced LIGO detectors. The findings, which will appear in the journal Physical Review Letters, validate the new field of gravitational wave astronomy and reveal diversity of size and spin among black holes in the universe.

Full Article: 


RIT scientists have long reached for the stars

April 11, 2016

Four AST program faculty and their research team contributed to LIGO’s breakthrough discovery, which detected signals emitted from a black-hole collision 1.3 billion light years away. RIT’s LIGO team is preparing for the first-ever black-hole census when LIGO begins its second operational run this summer. Full Article

From Left: Carlos Lousto, Richard O'Shaughnessy, Manuela Campanelli & John Whelan. 

AST Graduate Students perform well at graduate symposium

April 8, 2016

Graduate Research Symposium offers students a chance to share their findings 

AST graduate students presented 12 talks at the RIT Graduate Research and Creativity Symposium.  AST Students: Jake Lange, Brennan Ireland, Harry Zhang and Alexander Rasskazov  participated in the panel discussion on Gravitational Waves. 

Zach Silberman won the best oral presentation award
Andrew Lipnicky was the runner up for the oral presentation award
Kevin Cooke won the honorable mention



RIT AST Graduate Students & Faculty among group whose work confirms Einstein’s theories November 2015

Feb. 11, 2016
Detection by international LIGO Collaborative opens new window on the universe with detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes 

RIT CCRG researchers who contributed to this amazing discovery include AST Students: Jam Sadiq, Brennan Ireland, Yuanhao (Harry) Zhang, Dennis Bowen, Jake Lange, & Zachary Silberman and AST Faculty: John Whelan, Jason Nordhaus, Carlos Lousto, Manuela Campanelli, Johsua Faber, & Yosef Zlochower.  Also including Physics Undergradute student Monica Rizzo. 


AST Faculty & Student participate in Evan Dawson's Monthly Science Roundtable

Feb. 1, 2016

RIT's Senior Lecturer Brian Koberlein, Professor Michael Richmond, and Ph.D. student Kevin Cooke join radio host Evan Dawson's Monthly Science Roundtable for adiscussion about a possible Planet Nine beyond the orbit of Pluto. The evidence for the claim as well as possible problems with the evidence are examined as they take questions from the audience about the claim and planetary science.