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Past Colloquia

Tales from the outer solar system

Cody Hall

Mike Brown (Caltech)

May 18, 2012
14:00 - 15:00

The past few years have seen an explosion in the discoveries of Pluto- and near Pluto-sized bodies in the outer solar system, giving rise to a new classification of “dwarf planets.” Like Pluto, each of these largest dwarf planets has a unique story to tell…

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Are the properties of the Unified Model obscuring torus expected to be the same for all AGN?

Cody Hall

Almudena Alonso-Herrero (Instituto de Fisica de Cantabria, CSIC-UC)

May 11, 2012
14:00 - 15:00

The Unified Model for active galactic nuclei (AGN) proposes the ubiquitous presence of an obscuring torus around their nuclei, with type 1 and type 2 AGN being intrinsically similar. The central region of an AGN is obscured when viewed along directions close to the equatorial…

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Galaxy Nuclei, Galaxy Outskirts

Cody Hall

Jenny Greene (Princeton)

May 04, 2012
14:00 - 15:00

I will talk about two different aspects of massive galaxy evolution.  First, I will discuss the possible importance of black hole feedback in shaping massive galaxies.  I will focus on our studies of the warm ionized gas in obscured quasars, in which we see tantalizing…

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Solar-eclipse science in the 21st century

Cody Hall

Jay M. Pasachoff (Williams College)

April 27, 2012
14:00 - 15:00

Just as ground-based nighttime astronomy has changed since Edwin Hubble took all-night 8-hour exposures of individual galaxies, contemporary solar-eclipse observations make use of the latest optical, electronic, and computer technologies to view our nearest star with capabilities that are not met out-of-eclipse on mountaintop observatories…

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Massive star forming galaxies at the peak of the galaxy formation epoch

Cody Hall

Reinhard Genzel (Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics & UC Berkeley)

April 20, 2012
14:00 - 15:00

I will discuss the results of three major programs of studying star formation, cold gas, feedback and dynamics of massive ‘normal’ star forming galaxies near the peak of the epoch of galaxy formation (z~1-3). Our observations, carried out with the IRAM Plateau de Bure interferometer…

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Hot Jupiters: Problems and Opportunities

MP 134

John Johnson (Caltech)

April 11, 2012
15:00 - 16:00

Some of the best studied exoplanets are the hot Jupiters: Jovian planets with mercurial orbits (P < 10 days). These strange planets have played an outsized role in exoplanetary science. This is not because they are common—only 1% of stars have one—but because they are…

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Confronting Star-formation Models with Magnetic-field Observations

Cody Hall

Huabai Li (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy)

March 30, 2012
14:00 - 15:00

Self gravity, turbulence and magnetic fields (B-fields) certainly all play a role in the star-formation process, which transforms just a small fraction of the mass of molecular clouds into stars. How exactly these forces interact with each other to regulate star formation is, however, still…

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Star Formation in the Multiphase Interstellar Medium of Galaxies

Cody Hall

Chris McKee (UC Berkeley)

March 29, 2012
15:00 - 16:00

Star formation is at the nexus of astrophysics: stars are believed to be responsible for the re-ionization of the universe, they created all the heavy elements, they control the formation and evolution of galaxies and the formation of stars naturally leads to the formation of planets….

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The PTF Open Cluster Survey: Tracking the Evolution of Rotation and Activity on the Lower Main Sequence

Cody Hall

Marcel Agüeros (Columbia U)

March 23, 2012
14:00 - 15:00

A star’s age is one of its most fundamental parameters. It is also, for isolated field stars, notoriously difficult to measure. While we have known for 40 years of the existence of a relation between a star’s age, rotation, and magnetic activity, observational limitations have…

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Unifying the Many Faces of Neutron Stars: The High Magnetic Field Connection

Cody Hall

Victoria Kaspi (McGill University)

March 16, 2012
14:00 - 15:00

Neutron stars show a bewildering array of observational properties which range from mild-mannered, faint pulsations to unpredictable blasts of X-rays and gamma-rays that can occasionally but briefly outshine the entire Galaxy in these bands. From the dramatic magnetars to the generally calmer radio pulsars, from…

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