SMU Department of Physics

Eclipsing binary stars discovered by high school students at SMU summer research program

ESO, eclipsing binary star system, SMU, Quarknet, physicsTwo Dallas high school students discovered five stars as members of an SMU summer physics research program that enabled them to analyze data gleaned from a high-powered telescope in the New Mexico desert.

All five stars are eclipsing contact binary stars, pairs of stars that orbit around each other so closely that their outer atmospheres touch. As the stars eclipse, they dim and then brighten as one emerges from behind the other.

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Hunt for dark matter takes physicists deep below earth’s surface, where WIMPS can’t hide

Dark matter makes up much of the universe, and surrounds us all like an invisible, clumpy soup. Physicists have hunted dark matter particles for decades, but they continue to elude observation.

Now construction of a major international experiment aimed at discovering dark matter could be constructed and operational by 2018, according to the SMU scientist on the experiment known as SuperCDMS SNOLAB. Continue reading

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Houston Chronicle: Texas scientists spot 12-billion-year old star explosion

Gamma ray burst, SMU, Kehoe, CBSThe Texas newspaper the Houston Chronicle covered the astronomy research of physicist Robert Kehoe, SMU professor, and two graduate students in the SMU Department of Physics, Farley Ferrante and Govinda Dhungana.

The astronomy team in May reported observation of intense light from the enormous explosion of a star more than 12 billion years ago — shortly after the Big Bang — that recently reached Earth and was visible in the sky. Continue reading

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Digital Journal: Scientists spot 12-billion-year-old star burst

Gamma_Ray_BurstThe news web site digitaljournal.com covered the astronomy research of physicist Robert Kehoe, SMU professor, and two graduate students in the SMU Department of Physics, Farley Ferrante and Govinda Dhungana.

The astronomy team in May reported observation of intense light from the enormous explosion of a star more than 12 billion years ago — shortly after the Big Bang — that recently reached Earth and was visible in the sky. Continue reading

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Global Post: Light from this 12-billion-year-old explosion just reached Earth

Gamma ray burst, SMU, Kehoe, CBSThe news service Global Post covered the astronomy research of physicist Robert Kehoe, SMU professor, and two graduate students in the SMU Department of Physics, Farley Ferrante and Govinda Dhungana.

The astronomy team in May reported observation of intense light from the enormous explosion of a star more than 12 billion years ago — shortly after the Big Bang — that recently reached Earth and was visible in the sky. Continue reading

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CBS News: See an exploding star from 12 billion years ago

Gamma ray burst, SMU, Kehoe, CBSCBS News covered the astronomy research of physicist Robert Kehoe, SMU professor, and two graduate students in the SMU Department of Physics, Farley Ferrante and Govinda Dhungana.

The astronomy team in May reported observation of intense light from the enormous explosion of a star more than 12 billion years ago — shortly after the Big Bang — that recently reached Earth and was visible in the sky. Continue reading

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Daily Mail: Huge 12 billion-year-old explosion in space has been spotted from Earth – and it could reveal secrets of the early universe

Gamma ray burst, SMU, Kehoe, CBSThe U.K.’s widely read newspaper the Daily Mail covered the astronomy research of physicist Robert Kehoe, SMU professor, and two graduate students in the SMU Department of Physics, Farley Ferrante and Govinda Dhungana.

The astronomy team in May reported observation of intense light from the enormous explosion of a star more than 12 billion years ago — shortly after the Big Bang — that recently reached Earth and was visible in the sky. Continue reading

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Observed by Texas telescope: Light from huge explosion 12 billion years ago reaches Earth

Intense light from the enormous explosion of a star more than 12 billion years ago — shortly after the Big Bang — recently reached Earth and was visible in the sky.

Known as a gamma-ray burst, light from the rare, high-energy explosion traveled for 12.1 billion years before it was detected and observed by a telescope, ROTSE-IIIb, owned by Southern Methodist University, Dallas. Continue reading

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Search for dark matter covers new ground with CDMS experiment in Minnesota

CDMS Dark matter, Jodi Cooley, SMUScientists hunting for dark matter announced Friday they’ve made significant headway in figuring out a key characteristic of the mysterious substance.

Dark matter has never been detected, but scientists believe it constitutes a large part of our universe. Key to finding dark matter is determining its mass, or the volume of matter it contains. Continue reading

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