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Experimental and Observational Astrophysics and Cosmology

Viewing the formation and evolution of stars, galaxies, and the cosmos. Galaxy clusters, cosmic microwave background radiation, ultra high-energy sources, large scale structure in the universe and cosmic evolution.

Current research in observational astrophysics and cosmology at Stanford covers a wide range of approaches to tackling the most important frontiers. Major topics include direct detection of dark matter, probes of dark energy (via gravitational lensing, surveys of galaxy clusters and supernovae), sources of gamma rays (pulsars, blazars, supernova remnants, dark matter annihilation or decay), the structure of clusters of galaxies and their use as probes of cosmology, the development of next generation detectors of photons (radio through gamma-ray), the origins of solar variability on a wide range of time scales, and experiments in gravitation (detection of gravitational waves, probes of gravity at short distance scales).

Major experiments and  facilities include the LUX-ZEPLIN experiment (direct detection of dark matter), the Cryogenic Dark Matter Detector (direct detection of dark matter), the Fermi Large Area Telescope (gamma-rays), NuSTAR (x-rays), the Dark Energy Survey DES (probes of dark energy), the Solar Dynamics Observatory SDO and the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory SOHO (solar space missions), and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory LIGO. Future facilities include the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST, observing half the sky deeply every three days).

The Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, housed in the the Fred Kavli Building at SLAC and the Physics & Astrophysics Building and the Varian Physics Laboratories on campus, hosts much of the research in astrophysics and cosmology at Stanford and SLAC. Scientists meet through twice-weekly Tea Talks, a weekly Cosmology Seminar and a weekly Astrophysics Colloquium. Seminars are also hosted by the Stanford Solar Observatories Group and the Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory.

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