Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences

Modernized Fiske takes viewers through universe in high definition

Sky gazers at CU-Boulder’s Fiske Planetarium are getting better, clearer and deeper views. And not just of astronomy anymore. The planetarium has been upgraded, transforming it into a digital IMAX-like theater that’s open to the public every Saturday and Sunday with a variety of programs including shows for children. In addition to space odysseys and laser shows -- longtime favorites of audiences -- movies are now part of the Fiske lineup.

NASA mission involving CU-Boulder discovers particle accelerator in heart of Van Allen radiation belts

Using data from a NASA satellite, a team of scientists led by the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and involving the University of Colorado Boulder have discovered a massive particle accelerator in the heart of one of the harshest regions of near-Earth space, a region of super-energetic, charged particles surrounding the globe known as the Van Allen radiation belts.

‘Sideline quasars’ helped to stifle early galaxy formation

University of Colorado Boulder astronomers targeting one of the brightest quasars glowing in the universe some 11 billion years ago say “sideline quasars” likely teamed up with it to heat abundant helium gas billions of years ago, preventing small galaxy formation.

Mystery radiation ring around the Earth catches scientists by surprise

With the flip of a switch, a pair of instruments designed and built by the University of Colorado Boulder and flying onboard twin NASA space probes have forced the revision of a 50-year-old theory about the structure of the radiation belts that wrap around the Earth just a few thousand miles above our heads.

NASA’s Kepler planet-hunting mission controlled by CU-Boulder students is extended for 4 years

University of Colorado Boulder students will have another four years at the controls of NASA’s Kepler mission, launched in 2009 to hunt down Earth-like rocky planets in other solar systems and which has succeeded in spectacular fashion.

CU students’ work makes it to the big screen

The work of a talented group of University of Colorado Boulder students and staff has made it to the big screen. The really big screen -- in fact, a more than 20-meter dome.

Caution: early galaxy cluster under construction

An astronomy team led by the University of Colorado Boulder using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has zeroed in on a wild intergalactic construction project -- a cluster of early galaxies just starting to assemble only 600 million years after the Big Bang.

As Voyager 1 nears edge of solar system, CU scientists look back

In 1977, Jimmy Carter was sworn in as president, Elvis died, Virginia park ranger Roy Sullivan was hit by lightning a record seventh time and two NASA space probes destined to turn planetary science on its head launched from Florida.

Innovative CU-Boulder programs are transforming science and math education

Responding to a national crisis, CU-Boulder is putting a fresh face on how science and math courses are taught. One of those faces is Sarah Berger, who likes teaching and teaches well. But she is neither a faculty member nor a graduate-student teaching assistant. She is a sophomore in biochemistry and a learning assistant— or LA.

As she explains, students are comfortable with her because “they know that I don’t have all the answers either, so they don’t feel like I’ll think their questions are silly or dumb.”

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