News and announcements

Cosmic Collision

Astronomers at the European Space Agency have recently discovered that our Milky Way galaxy was involved in a 'cosmic collision' 10 billion years ago when another galaxy slammed into it. The resulting merger gives us a greater understanding of the processes at work in other galaxies. Professor Kim Venn, Director of UVic's Astronomy Research Centre (ARC), comments on this exciting research in a recent CBC news article.

Noted Arctic waters researcher is a UVic grad

Prof. Mary-Louise Timmermans, Yale University, is the first author of a recently published paper that examined historical data which indicates the heat content of a vast section of the Arctic Ocean has doubled in the last 30 years. Interviewed by the Times Colonist, Timmermans discusses her paper's findings in terms of consequences to sea ice. A graduate of the University of Victoria Physics and Astronomy department, Prof. Timmermans spent several co-op work terms with the Arctic science group at the Institute of Ocean Sciences. She completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge after which she worked as a post-doctoral research fellow with colleagues at IOS and UVic before moving on to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and then Yale.

Funding Announcement: Canada Contributing to the HL-LHC Accelerator

Federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan announced that Canada will contribute $10 million for the cryomodules of the crab cavities of the High-Luminosity Large Hadron Collider (HL-LHC) in response to a request from CERN, vigorously supported by IPP. Crab cavities are a critical component of the HL-LHC upgrade and are essential to achieve the high luminosity goals of this next generation of the LHC. TRIUMF will manage the production of the components and will make a $2 million in-kind contribution for a total project value of $12 million.

Canada’s Most Powerful Research Supercomputer Simulates Life of a Star

As R&D magazine reports Herwig and his collaborators have used "Canada’s most powerful research supercomputer to simulate life of a star”. To understand a star’s structure, researchers simulate them on a supercomputer using complex hydrodynamics calculations over a long series of time steps. These very detailed simulations of the core convection in a massive star reveal the turbulent flows of the interior and stellar oscillations that can be observed with space telescopes like Kepler or TESS. These simulations provide exquisite detail on how different parts of the stars are mixed, which in turn improves our understanding how the elements form in stars and stellar explosions.

Astronomers use old-time math to measure distance, age of one of the oldest objects in the universe

A new study co-authored by Don Vandenberg is cited in a CBC News article about technologies—old and new—that astronomers are using to measure the distance to one of the oldest globular clusters, a tight mass of hundreds of thousands of stars.

Stars align for UVic graduate student, resulting in a cosmic thrill

The Times Colonist followed up with doctoral student Clare Higgs on her chance encounter at a Chilean observatory this summer. She was at the observatory when two neutron stars collided and merged, the first time the celestial event has been seen and recorded on Earth. Ondrea Clarkson was also interviewed for this article.

Astronomy graduate student participates in unprecedented observation of neutron star collision

A UVic, Astronomy doctoral student visiting an observatory in Chile unexpectedly became a participant in the observation of the first recorded gravitational wave signature caused by a neutron star collision – a discovery that is transformational to our understanding of the universe.

When galaxies collide: In search of supermassive black hole pairs

Dr. Sara Ellison in Physics and Astronomy at University of Victoria has discovered an inspired method of finding the elusive pairing of supermassive black holes that mark merging galaxies, a discovery that may provide clues to the future of Earth’s own galaxy. Read more: https://www.uvic.ca/home/about/campus-news/media-releases-tips/2017+when-galaxies-collide+media-release https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/chandra/news/seeing-double-scientists-find-elusive-giant-black-hole-pairs.html

Nobel Prize to Weiss, Barish and Thorne for gravitational waves

The 2017 UVic Astbury Lecturer Barry Barish (Caltech) along with Rainer Weiss and Kip Thorne were awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics earlier today, for their contributions to LIGO and the observation of gravitational waves. For details see: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2017/.

Science Literacy Week 2017

The UVic observatory will host two special events as part of the Science Literacy Week 2017, a nationwide celebration of science set to take place this September 18th-24th for the fourth year running. Coast to coast we're expecting some 700 events, ranging from nature hikes to chemistry demos, astronomy nights to public talks and more (scienceliteracy.ca).

MITACS student’s experience in galactic astronomy

Braulio Antonio, an undergraduate student at National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City participated in the MITACS Globalink program this summer at the University of Victoria. Under the supervision of Dr. Sara Ellison in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, he shares his experience working on the phenomenon of galaxy mergers.

Solar Eclipse Open House

Join us on Monday, August 21 from 9:00-11:30am for a special public open house at the UVic Observatory (5th floor of Bob Wright Centre) to view the solar eclipse. The eclipse will be visible at 90% coverage from Victoria. The eclipse begins at 9:08am, reaches maximum coverage at 10:20 and will end at 11:38. The event is free and no pre-registration is necessary.

Cafe Scientifique

The Café Scientifique series is an informal series of talks given in a relaxed setting such as a café. These talks are designed to engage the public in learning about recent research in science. The talks, which are given by experts in the field, provide an opportunity to stimulate discussion around some of the most exciting topics in modern science. Join us for this exciting series of talks in 2016-17! **Café Scientifique is sponsored jointly by UVic's Office of the Vice President Research and the Faculty of Science and is hosted by the Centre for Biomedical Research and the Department of Physics & Astronomy**