Unveiling the Cosmos

For centuries, people have looked up at the night sky and marveled at everything it holds. Space is indeed full of fascinating objects and processes – from other planets (maybe some like Earth) to black holes. Unveiling the Cosmos will tour the astronomical universe from small to large scales. This seminar will introduce students to a wide variety of astrophysical phenomena ranging from planets orbiting other stars to distant galaxies and beyond. Each class will be devoted to a specific topic, led by a new person with specific expertise and often with research expertise in the area. You will be introduced to cutting edge research and unanswered problems in astronomy today. Examples of topics in the past have included planets around other stars, supernovae explosions as stars die, and open questions in astronomy today. This semester, we will bring a new set of speakers with new topics and ideas to share. 

Spring 2021 Class Recordings are available beneath the Visualization Resources & Links below:

Simulation visualizations
Firefly: Has a demo for interactively exploring a simulation snapshot from the FIRE galaxy simulations. Sometimes loads and sometimes doesn’t, but it is cool when it does load.
FIRE Visualizations: Lots of awesome movies and snapshots from FIRE.
Illustris Visualizations: A ton of really cool images and movies from the Illustris cosmological simulations, in which the Harvard group played a huge role. For reference, TNG50 is a 50x50x50 Mpc box.
Starforge Movies: Great visualizations from the isolated molecular cloud simulations I showed. Starforge is the first set of GMC sims to resolve individual star formation.
Data visualizations
Radcliffe Wave: Main site for Radcliffe Wave with details about discovery and lots of visualizations.
3D Dust Maps: Lots of cool visualizations of 3D dust maps developed by Gregory Green and the Finkbeiner group.
WorldWide Telescope: Main site. Can explore a whole bunch of astronomical data, and there are guided tours on certain topics as well. These can be accessed through the menu at the top.

Class Recordings:

Class 1 - February 4

Class 2 - February 11

Class 3 - February 18

Class 4 - February 25

Class 5 - March 4

Class 6 - March 11


Group Leader: CHARLES LAW & JESSE HAN
Meets on: Thursdays 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Starting: 2/4/2021
Sessions: 6
Class Size: unlimited
Teaching Style: Lecture and discussion
Weekly Preparation: None
Group Leader Biography:

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics is a research institute that carries out a board program in astronomy, earth and space sciences, and science education. Each week we will hear from graduate students or postdoctoral fellows who are working at the forefront of their respective fields. Speakers will have spent considerable time engaging with a particular subject in astronomy and will design lectures aimed to introduce topics in astronomy as well as how their research will contribute to the field. This course is led by Charles Law and Jesse Han. Charles is a third-year graduate student at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and is interested in observational radio astronomy with a particular focus on the chemical composition of protoplanetary disks. Jesse is a second-year graduate student at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics studying our Galaxy's stellar halo.