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This Week at Physics

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Events on Thursday, March 12th, 2015

NPAC (Nuclear/Particle/Astro/Cosmo) Forum
The status of Himalayan Gamma Ray Observatory (HiGRO)
Time: 2:30 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Bannanje Sripathi Acharya, Tata Institute
Abstract: Work on VHE gamma-ray astronomy using the Atmospheric Cherenkov Technique started in India way back in 1969,soon after the discovery of pulsars. Over the years, steady improvements in telescope hardware have led to increase in the sensitivity and collection area as well as reduction in the energy threshold of the experiments. The latest in this series of experiments is the HiGRO project located at very high altitude (4.3km), at Hanle in the Ladakh region of Himalayas. In the first phase of this project 7 telescope array called HAGAR was installed the year 2008. It is an array of wavefront sampling non- imaging telescopes having a threshold energy of about 200 GeV for gamma-rays. This is the first ACT array operating at very high altitudes. A 21-m imaging telescope (called MACE), built by BARC group, will be commissioned at the same site adjascent to HAGAR array in this year. With MACE, the threshold energy of gamma-rays is expec to be about a few tens of GeV. Regular observations of galactic and extra galactic objects using HAGAR are going on since October 2008. I shall describe the status the HiGRO project at Hanle and the recent results obtained using the HAGAR array.
Host: Mike Duvernois
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Astronomy Colloquium
The James Webb Space Telescope
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall
Speaker: Jonathan Gardner, NASA
Abstract: The James Webb Space Telescope is the scientific successor to the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes. It will be a large (6.6m) cold (50K) telescope launched into orbit around the second Earth-Sun Lagrange point. It is a partnership of NASA with the European and Canadian Space Agencies. The science goals for JWST include the formation of the first stars and galaxies in the early universe; the chemical, morphological and dynamical buildup of galaxies, the formation of stars and planetary systems and understanding our Solar System. Webb has four instruments: The Near-Infrared Camera, the Near-Infrared multi-object Spectrograph, and the Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph will cover the wavelength range 0.6 to 5 microns, while the Mid-Infrared Instrument will do both imaging and spectroscopy from 5 to 28.5 microns. The observatory is confirmed for launch in 2018; the design is complete and it is in its construction and test phase. Recent progress includes the completion of the mirrors and the flight instruments and the start of cryogenic testing.
Host: UW Astronomy Department
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Theory Seminar (High Energy/Cosmology)
Title to be announced
Time: 4:00 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Sujeet Akula, Monash University
Abstract: TBA
Host: Ran Lu
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PUBLIC TALK AT THE DISCOVERY CENTER
PUBLIC TALK : Finding our origins with the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes
Time: 7:00 pm
Place: HF Deluca Forum, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery
Speaker: Jonathan Gardner, NASA
Abstract: Astronomers try to answer the biggest question of all: “How did we get here?” Using a flood of data from the Hubble Space Telescope, other space missions, large telescopes on the ground and super-computer simulations, we are starting to piece together the history of how simple particles, mass and energy that formed in the Big Bang changed over time to become galaxies, stars and planets today. In this talk, I will discuss some of the most important astronomical discoveries of the last 20 years, and the role that space telescopes have played in those discoveries. The next decade looks equally bright with Hubble and the promise of its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope. I will describe Hubble’s greatest accomplishments and how they lead to the reasons we are building Webb.
Host: UW Astronomy Department
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