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UCLA Astronomers Confirm the Very First Existence of an Asteroid Beyond Our Solar System

Posted on Nov 16, 2017 in Featured, General, News

UCLA Astronomers Confirm the Very First Existence of an Asteroid Beyond Our Solar System

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A newly discovered object from another star system that’s passing through ours is shaped like a giant pink fire extinguisher. That’s the word this week from astronomers who have been observing this first-ever confirmed interstellar visitor. “I’m surprised by the elongated shape – nobody expected that,” said astronomer David Jewitt of the University of California, Los Angeles, who led the observation team that reported on the characteristics. Scientists are certain this asteroid or comet originated outside our solar system. First...

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Exploring Your Universe 2017!

Posted on Oct 30, 2017 in Featured, News, Outreach

Exploring Your Universe 2017!

This year’s Exploring Your Universe (EYU) event at UCLA will be held on Sunday, November 5th, 2017.  Exploring Your Universe is an annual event held on the UCLA campus that includes science exhibitions, hands-on activities, demonstrations and experiments.  The event is free, open to the public, and promises an exciting time and a great learning experience for kids and adults alike. EYU 2017 will be held in UCLA’s Court of Sciences (located in South Campus) from 12PM-5PM. Nighttime activities will take place from 5PM-8PM (weather permitting). Parking is available in Parking...

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NASA’s Hubble Observes the Farthest Active Inbound Comet Yet Seen

Posted on Sep 28, 2017 in Featured, News

NASA’s Hubble Observes the Farthest Active Inbound Comet Yet Seen

UCLA’s Professor David Jewitt has most recently been involved in using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to image the farthest active inbound comet yet seen. The Comet that Came in from the Cold A solitary frozen traveler has been journeying for millions of years toward the heart of our planetary system. The wayward vagabond, a city-sized snowball of ice and dust called a comet, was gravitationally kicked out of the Oort Cloud, its frigid home at the outskirts of the solar system. This region is a vast comet storehouse, composed of icy leftover building blocks from the construction of...

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21 August 2017: The Great UCLA Eclipse

Posted on Aug 14, 2017 in Featured, News

21 August 2017: The Great UCLA Eclipse

Be sure to join us on Monday the 21st of August 2017 from 9:30AM to 11:30AM for ‘The Great UCLA Eclipse’ at UCLA’s Court of Sciences. A partial Solar Eclipse (~60 percent coverage) will be visible at UCLA and we would like to showcase exceptional research and our collaboration between Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, Astronomy Live! and The Optical Society (UCLA Chapter). Solar telescopes will be set up (weather permitting) for you to get to safely see this eclipse. FREE, FUN and open to the public! 300 Solar Eclipse glasses will be given away, first come, first...

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UCLA EPSS Prof. Margaret Kivelson Wins American Astronomical Society’s 2017 Gerard P. Kuiper Prize

Posted on Jun 23, 2017 in Featured, News

UCLA EPSS Prof. Margaret Kivelson Wins American Astronomical Society’s 2017 Gerard P. Kuiper Prize

UCLA EPSS Professor Margaret Kivelson Wins American Astronomical Society’s 2017 Gerard P. Kuiper Prize UCLA EPSS Professor Margaret Kivelson has won the 2017 Gerard P. Kuiper Prize, the highest award given to planetary scientists from the American Astronomical Society’s Division For Planetary Sciences. The Kuiper Prize is given for Outstanding Contributions to Planetary Science. From the AAS news release: “The Gerard P. Kuiper Prize for outstanding contributions to planetary science goes to Margaret G. Kivelson (University of California, Los Angeles, and University of...

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Emmanuel Masongsong’s Artwork Makes The Cover of Journal of Geophysical Research

Posted on Mar 17, 2017 in Featured, News

Emmanuel Masongsong’s Artwork Makes The Cover of Journal of Geophysical Research

UCLA Staff and Researcher, Emmanuel V. Masongsong’s artwork has made the cover of the Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR) which is a major AGU publication journal. UCLA EPSS research findings are featured on the February 2017 cover of the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics. The study describes the properties of a newly discovered form of the northern lights, called throat aurora, on the dayside of Earth facing the sun (upward, out of frame). Using observations on the ground and in interplanetary space, the aurora are postulated to form through a novel combination of...

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UCLA Professor Jonathan Arnou In The News

Posted on Feb 2, 2017 in Featured, News

UCLA Professor Jonathan Arnou In The News

Experiment resolves mystery about wind flows on Jupiter Using a spinning table and a massive garbage can, UCLA geophysicist leads team in simulating the planet’s atmosphere Views Jupiter’s south pole (upper left and lower right) and images from the lab experiment to re-create the planet’s winds (upper right and lower left). Image Credit: Jonathan Arnou Jupiter’s colorful, swirling winds known as “jets” have long puzzled astronomers. One mystery has been whether the jets exist only in the planet’s upper atmosphere — much like the Earth’s own jet streams — or whether they...

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UCLA Meteorite Hunter Jason Utas In Finnish Magazine Tähdet Ja Avaruus

Posted on Jan 4, 2017 in Featured, News

UCLA Meteorite Hunter Jason Utas In Finnish Magazine Tähdet Ja Avaruus

UCLA Meteorite Hunter and Graduate Student Jason Utas Appears In Finnish Magazine Tähdet Ja Avaruus Known for being a meteorite hunter extraordinaire, UCLA Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences Graduate Student Jason Utas has appeared in the Finnish magazine Tähdet Ja Avaruus discussing meteorites. You may find some of the samples he has recovered or has put up at the UCLA Meteorite Museum which is FREE and open to the public in UCLA Geology Building, Room 3-697 open M-F 9AM-4PM and Sunday 1PM-4PM You can download the article here:...

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The Disintegration of Comet 332P/Ikeya-Muramaki

Posted on Sep 15, 2016 in Featured, News

The Disintegration of Comet 332P/Ikeya-Muramaki

DATELINE: SEPT. 15, 2016, LOS ANGELES, CA. U.S.A. UCLA-led astronomers capture best view ever of disintegrating comet Astronomers have captured the sharpest, most detailed observations of a comet breaking apart 67 million miles from Earth, using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The discovery is published online today in Astrophysical Journal Letters.In a series of images taken over three days in January 2016, Hubble revealed 25 building-size blocks made of a mixture of ice and dust that are drifting away from the comet at a leisurely pace, about the walking speed of an adult, said...

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EPSS’s Emmanuel Masongsong’s Figure Published in Nature Physics

Posted on Sep 15, 2016 in Featured, News

EPSS’s Emmanuel Masongsong’s Figure Published in Nature Physics

Image caption: An artist’s rendering of the magnetosphere in cross-section, with the sun and solar wind on the left and magnetic field lines emanating from the Earth in blue. The five THEMIS probes were well-positioned to directly observe one particular magnetic field line as it moved back and forth every six minutes. This magnetic field motion caused electrons (white dots) to stream along the field line and enter Earth’s north and south poles, brightening a specific region of the aurora. Credit: E. Masongsong, UCLA EPSS, NASA EYES.   Auroras Dance to the Pulse of Earth’s Magnetic...

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iPLEX-MUST Fellows Program in Planetary Science

Posted on Sep 15, 2016 in Featured, News

iPLEX-MUST Fellows Program in Planetary Science

  iPLEX-MUST Fellows Program in Planetary Science University Involvement Host Department: Institute for Planets and Exoplanets (iPLEX) Department of Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences (EPSS)   Contact: Prof. David Jewitt, Director of iPLEX, jewitt@ucla.edu Partnering University: Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST) Contact: Prof. Kwing Chan Lam, Director Space Science Institute, klchan@must.edu.mo The iPLEX-MUST Fellows Program Visitors (graduate students, postdocs and junior faculty) from the Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST) will, through extended stays at...

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October 8th, 2016: International Observe the Moon Night

Posted on Sep 9, 2016 in Featured, News

October 8th, 2016: International Observe the Moon Night

Please join us on the evening of Saturday 08 October, 2016 from 7 to 9 PM to participate and celebrate the 2016 edition of International Observe the Moon Night! We will have telescopes set up on the roof (9th floor) of UCLA’s Mathematical Sciences Building. It’s FREE, open to the public, and you’ll be able to observe the Moon (weather permitting). Please visit http://planets.ucla.edu/outreach/iotmn2016/ for more information and...

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iPLEX and space scientists featured in UCLA’s Prime Magazine

Posted on Nov 17, 2015 in Featured, News

iPLEX and space scientists featured in UCLA’s Prime Magazine

The Institute for Planets and Exoplanets (iPLEX) is currently featured in UCLA’s Prime Magazine. The article, written by UCLA student Allison Ong recaps the efforts of the institute and individuals to promote planetary and space science at UCLA and within the broader community over the past four years, from hosting conferences to building a public outreach program. The article is available at newsstands on the UCLA Campus and online...

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Learn more about iPLEX

Posted on Jun 26, 2015 in Featured

Learn more about iPLEX

The Institute for Planets and Exoplanets (iPLEX) is an academic consortium bridging the interests of UCLA faculty, researchers and students in the departments of Earth and Space Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, and Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences.  Our goal is to promote and advance planetary science research by means of interdisciplinary collaboration.  Research in the planetary sciences at UCLA spans many topics, including, but not limited to planetary system formation, growth and structure, physics of interiors, planetary geology, atmospheres and oceans, primitive bodies, extrasolar...

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Invite UCLA volunteers to your school

Posted on Jun 27, 2014 in Featured, News, Outreach

Invite UCLA volunteers to your school

Are you an educator or youth group leader interested in sharing the excitement of astronomy and planetary science with your students?  Submit a request to have volunteers visit your school or apply to bring your class to UCLA.  Our outreach events include hands-on activities for all ages ranging from building bottle rockets to gazing through solar telescopes. Our list of outreach activities details the hands-on science demos that can be brought to your classroom.  For more specific information about any of these activities and how to apply, visit our request an outreach event page or...

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Research team discovers slowly disintegrating asteroid

Posted on Mar 9, 2014 in Featured, News

Research team discovers slowly disintegrating asteroid

A research team led by iPLEX Director Dave Jewitt has discovered an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter that appears to be slowly breaking apart.  In the original lower-resolution images taken, asteroid P/2013 R3 appeared strangely fuzzy.  A closer inspection with the W.M. Keck observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope revealed the asteroid was in fact composed of several fragments moving away from each other at a rate of 1 mile per hour.  These fragments are surrounded by a cloud of dust the size of Earth, with the largest pieces about twice the size of a football field. The slow...

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UCLA Meteorite Museum Gives Space Rocks Center Stage

Posted on Jan 10, 2014 in Featured, News

UCLA Meteorite Museum Gives Space Rocks Center Stage

The grand opening of the recently remodeled UCLA Meteorite Museum on January 10, 2013 puts UCLA’s impressive collection of space rocks on display for members of the public.  Read more about the UCLA Meteorite Collection and the new museum here. For those planning to visit the museum located in Geology 3697, be sure to check out the museum schedule for hours and other information.  Admission is free and normal visiting hours are 9am-4pm on weekdays and 1-4pm on every other Saturday and...

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Researchers use oldest minerals on Earth to study solar system history

Posted on Nov 14, 2013 in Featured, News

Researchers use oldest minerals on Earth to study solar system history

The answer to one of the great mysteries of our solar system’s history may lie within a grain no wider than a single strand of human hair.  Scientists have long known that the mineral zircon is very hardy.  “Zircon tends to stick around for a long time,” said Beth Ann Bell, a fifth-year UCLA graduate student who studies these tiny grains.  And she’s not kidding about zircon’s longevity – the samples she studies are 3.8 to 3.9 billion years old.  The Earth itself is 4.5 billion years old. With their advisor, UCLA Professor Mark Harrison, Bell and her colleagues study individual...

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Researchers use radar to track near-Earth asteroids and predict hazards

Posted on Oct 30, 2013 in Featured, News

Researchers use radar to track near-Earth asteroids and predict hazards

Every year, UCLA graduate student Shantanu Naidu makes a pilgrimage to Arecibo Observatory, a uniquely constructed 300-meter radio telescope on the island of Puerto Rico.  His goal: to determine the shape, spin, orbit, and other physical properties of Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs).  These large chunks of rock left over from the formation of the solar system orbit around the Sun while remaining relatively close to Earth. Observing asteroids with radio waves is a far cry from the traditional picture of nocturnal astronomers and mountaintop telescope domes housing fragile mirrors and lenses. ...

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Researchers analyze extrasolar asteroids using light from distant stars

Posted on Oct 10, 2013 in Featured, News

Researchers analyze extrasolar asteroids using light from distant stars

  When a Sun-like star reaches the end of its lifetime, it blows off its outer layers in a sustained stellar windstorm, leaving behind an Earth-sized, ultra-dense “white dwarf” star.  Astronomers thought they knew what to expect from these celestial leftovers, but were puzzled over a decade ago when they found that a large fraction of observed white dwarfs emit more infrared light than predicted.  Most white dwarf stars are composed of hydrogen and helium, but spectral measurements of some stars revealed puzzling signals from heavier elements such as calcium. To UCLA Professor...

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