Astrophysics and Cosmology
Thirteen full-time faculty members are joined by staff, postdocs, and students in research on astrophysics and cosmology. Major areas of research include:
- theories of the very early universe (Khoury, Trodden);
- approaches to cosmic acceleration, including modified gravity (Jain, Khoury, Sheth, Trodden);
- the properties of dark matter and dark energy, and their influence on the formation of galaxies (Bernstein, Devlin, Jain, Sako, Sanderson, Sheth);
- the nonlinear growth of structure in the Universe (Bernstein, Jain, Sheth);
- the evolution of galaxies through the epoch of reionization and into the recent era (Aguirre, Bernardi, Lidz);
- millimeter and sub-millimeter observations of galaxy clusters, and of star and galaxy formation (Aguirre, Devlin);
- observations of transient phenomena in the Universe (Sako);
- detection of planets and planet-forming systems around nearby stars (Blake, Devlin, Jain); and
- observations of the Solar System beyond Neptune (Bernstein, Blake, Sako).
We address these questions from many angles:
- developing new instrumentation in the optical, millimeter, and sub-millimeter regimes;
- observations from the radio through x-ray;
- analysis of large survey datasets;
- computation and simulation;
- and theory.
There is close collaboration between the astrophysics group and Penn researchers conducting laboratory and astrophysical studies of the nature of dark matter (Klein, Sanderson) and theoretical studies of gravitational and dark-sector physics (Khoury, Trodden). Many members of the department apply techniques from data science and machine learning to astronomical datasets (Bernardi, Jain, Sako, Sanderson).
With the goal of understanding dark energy and the accelerating expansion of the universe, DES released six years of data, representing one of the largest galaxy surveys published to date.Read More
Penn Physics and Astronomy Researchers Lead Effort to Publish Data About Hundreds of Millions of Astronomical Objects
In collaboration with The Dark Energy Survey, faculty and researchers in the Department of Physics and Astronomy contributed to the publication of catalog of nearly 700 million astronomical objectsRead More
Cullen Blake, Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, gives "four tips and takeaways for making the most of this end-of-the-year celestial spectacle".
Robyn Sanderson's research on a "new stellar stream, born outside the Milky Way, discovered with machine learning"
Finding this new collection of stars, named after Nyx, the Greek goddess of night, was made possible using machine learning tools and simulations of data collected by the Gaia space observatory.Read More
Combining theoretical insights with experimental results, physicists demonstrate a new design for optoelectronic devices that could help make optical fiber communications more energy efficient.Read More