The Science of Sustainability

Kyle S. Dawson

Kyle S. Dawson

Kyle Dawson is engaged in post-doctorate studies of distant supernovae and development of a proposed space-based telescope at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

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Kyle S. Dawson's Latest Posts

Canoeing and Climate in the Far North

Canoeing and Climate in the Far North

Nunavik territory, home to the Kuuvik River.This week I am taking a break from the usual astrophysics and cosmology to write about that other hot topic: climate change and global warming. Last summer I went out for an extremely remote 215 mile canoe trip for the International Polar Year to help raise awareness of climate […]

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Mountain-top telescopes and stars that don't twinkle

Mountain-top telescopes and stars that don't twinkle

Infrared image of a zebra from the London Zoo. Credit: Steve Lowe Right now I am very excited about the possibility of working on a new small telescope in southern Utah. This telescope was funded by a private donation and will be run by the University of Utah. We even found a mountain top in […]

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Pixels are so 20th century – say hello to 'spaxels'

Pixels are so 20th century – say hello to 'spaxels'

Making Every Photon Count Last week I went to a talk given by the leader of the Supernova Factory collaboration at LBNL. What is SN factory? This is an ambitious project to study supernovae like never before. I mentioned this project briefly in a previous post , now that they are so close to releasing […]

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Supernova Legacy

Supernova Legacy

Last night we completed our observations for the Supernova Legacy Survey. This was a five year program to study supernovae using a 4-meter telescope in Hawaii in combination with several of the largest optical telescopes in the world. The project was headed by a group at a university in Toronto and a group at a […]

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Excellent conditions for skiing and supernovae

Excellent conditions for skiing and supernovae

Julien Guy: supernova cosmologistI'm sitting in the airport right now, passing time as I wait for my flight back to SFO. Looking at the clock now, I see that my jet lag future does not bode well. I awoke at 5:00 AM here and nearly 11 hours later feel like the day is over, yet […]

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H-R: Not just for “Human Resources” Anymore

H-R: Not just for “Human Resources” Anymore

H-R diagram of 47 Tucanae I started off my last post talking about the well-known properties of globular clusters, but I chose not to dive into the details of the stars inside the clusters. The stars really deserve an article all to themselves. Now is the time for that article. Basically all of the stars […]

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Star Clusters in the Milky Way

Star Clusters in the Milky Way

47 Tucunae My research group has temporarily stepped away from the distant universe to focus on the stars that are actually inside our galaxy. We’re looking at these stars because they are so bright and so well understood that we can use them to test the calibration of the telescopes we use to study the […]

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Where in the web?

Where in the web?

Saturn's moon Epimetheus from the Cassini spacecraft. Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA and APOD. On the bus in Denali National Park a few years ago, I found myself sitting next a couple from the East Bay. If you’ve ever been on the Denali bus, you know that it’s a long ride and […]

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Converting the Comets Back into Stars

Converting the Comets Back into Stars

Star or Comet?Yesterday was a very long day at work. I was stuck in meetings with our collaborators for over 6 hours! To make it worse, we spent the entire time discussing a single topic. I even wrote my last paper on it. What could possibly be so captivating, you ask? Remember the solar wind […]

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Centers of the universe

Centers of the universe

Cosmic microwave background and the infant universe. From the WMAP science team.It was on the UC Berkeley astronomy website this morning that I was reminded of something I had wanted to post for QUEST. About a month ago, Cal publicly announced the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics. This was quite a big deal for the […]

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Catching rainbows from distant galaxies

Catching rainbows from distant galaxies

A single email on Sunday afternoon brought my weekend to a screeching halt. Some collaborators made a very exciting discovery and needed to confirm if it was real. This would be the last time we'd have for almost another year on the 10 meter Keck Telescope so I jumped at the chance and scheduled it […]

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Winds of change: the climate of the solar system

Winds of change: the climate of the solar system

Several billion years ago, our solar system was nothing more than a nondescript cloud of gas. There was no sun, no planets– just a lot of hydrogen, a bit of helium, and trace amounts of the carbon, oxygen and the other elements that we take for granted here on Earth. How is it that the […]

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Global Warming on Venus?

Global Warming on Venus?

Credit: T. Credner & S. Kohle, AlltheSky.comYou may be surprised to hear that Venus is the warmest planet in the solar system. Venus has an average temperature of 850 degrees Fahrenheit. This is much warmer than the Earth, at 60 degrees, and even warmer than Mercury, which sits much closer to the sun, at 350 […]

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Seeing the Trees through the Forest

Seeing the Trees through the Forest

The Forest Venus Landing. Credit: Soviet Planetary Exploration ProgramIt's time to get back to some of the reader’s questions. Over the last couple of months I've focused on the easy ones like "how big is the universe?". Now, people are asking the tough ones, like that from Mike: "There’s been a recent debate in our […]

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Whose Telescope is it Anyway?

Whose Telescope is it Anyway?

A few telescopes from the Allen Telescope ArrayIf you're at all like me, you spend a lot of time surfing the web pages of the astronomy departments in this country. Just the other day I was looking at the departments at Yale University, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, UC-Santa Barbara and UC-San Diego. Each […]

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Beyond Edwin's Wildest Dreams

Beyond Edwin's Wildest Dreams

I am working on a project to build a space telescope named SNAP, SuperNova Acceleration Probe. We have applied for funding with NASA and the Department of Energy and are competing with two other projects named DESTINY and ADEPT. Crossing all of our fingers, we hope to launch the satellite into an orbit one million […]

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Creating artificial stars to see through the soup

Creating artificial stars to see through the soup

Here is a picture I took during a night of observing on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The laser from inside the dome at the Keck telescope creates an artificial star in the upper atmosphere that is used for adaptive optics. I mentioned before that there is one major obstacle that prevents us […]

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Testing the Limits of Optical Telescopes

Testing the Limits of Optical Telescopes

As I continue to answer questions from my earlier solicitation, I am going to skip ahead to the question: "How large would a cherry clafouti near the Moon's equator have to be to be easily identifiable as a cherry clafouti, assuming clear conditions of observation?" At first glance, this appears to be an absurd question, […]

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The Expanding Universe

The Expanding Universe

The history of the universe in a nutshell*On to the next question: "Yes, I have many burning universal questions. This one is a two-parter. Is there evidence that the universe's rate of expansion is slowing down? And if so, does it allow us to infer what would happen if expansion stopped, i.e. would it put […]

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To Infinity and Beyond

To Infinity and Beyond

The Hubble Deep Field: The galaxies in this image are really far away, but not as far away as the edge of the universe. I am going to spend the next couple of months addressing the questions asked by readers at the end of my late-July post. I'll start with the question that prompted the […]

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