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.

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 … Continue reading Canoeing and Climate in the Far North →

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 … Continue reading Mountain-top telescopes and stars that don't twinkle →

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 … Continue reading Pixels are so 20th century – say hello to 'spaxels' →

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 … Continue reading Supernova Legacy →

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 … Continue reading Excellent conditions for skiing and supernovae →

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 … Continue reading H-R: Not just for “Human Resources” Anymore →

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 … Continue reading Star Clusters in the Milky Way →

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 … Continue reading Where in the web? →

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 … Continue reading Converting the Comets Back into Stars →

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 … Continue reading Centers of the universe →

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 … Continue reading Catching rainbows from distant galaxies →

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 … Continue reading Winds of change: the climate of the solar system →

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 … Continue reading Global Warming on Venus? →

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 … Continue reading Seeing the Trees through the Forest →