Seminar Details

The Clusters, Lensing, and Supernovae with the Hubble Space Telescope (CLASH) Project, or Around the World with Hubble, 625 Times

Megan Donahue, MSU P&A
Thursday, February 14, 4:10 PM - Physics and Astronomy Colloquium
Biomedical & Physical Sciences Bldg., Rm. 1415

The CLASH project was selected as one of 3 major multi-year observing projects by the Hubble Space Telescope allocation committee. Now entering the final year of observations, we have collected an unprecedented set of visible, infrared, and ultraviolet high-resolution imagery of 25 massive clusters of galaxies. Clusters are not only the most massive self-gravitating systems in the universe (up to one quadrillion times the mass of the sun) but can be "weighed" with multiple and independent methods. We combine these methods to figure out how much, where, and what kind of matter exists in clusters (stars, intergalactic gas, and weakly interacting dark matter.) Gravitational lensing by these massive clusters also provides HST a boosted view of the universe as it was only a billion years after the Big Bang. I will discuss the project's aims and results so far, including the testing the predictions of current cosmological models including dark matter and dark energy, and the discovery of two of the most distant galaxies ever seen to date.