Supernovae and the Mystery of "Dark Energy" - Dr. Chris Pritchet

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Feb 14, 2007 - Supernovae and the Mystery of "Dark Energy" - Dr. Chris Pritchet, UVic

The Universe is filled with a mysterious energy that causes its expansion to accelerate. The nature of this "dark energy" (not to be confused with dark matter) is completely unknown, and represents perhaps the greatest challenge to face physics and astronomy in the past century. Canada and France are together leading the world in the observational quest to understand this dark energy, through the Supernovae Legacy Survey. Using observations of faint, very distant supernovae (lookback times of more than half of the age of the Universe), we can probe the geometry of the Universe, and detect the signature of dark energy with a precision that has never before been attained. In this talk, I will focus on the detector and telescopes that make this project possible, the observations, and a simple picture of how our observations constrain dark energy.

Presentation - html, Powerpoint (10Mb)

BSc U Sask, PhD U Toronto
at U Vic since 1982

My first memory of interest in astronomy and physics was 1963 solar eclipse visible in the prairies. One thing led to another, and I received a small telescope for my birthday. The first thing I looked at with it was the Pleiades, which I confused with Orion (the shape is similar at least!). My interests shifted more to music as a teenager, but I rediscovered astronomy during a physics undergrad degree at U Sask. This was mostly due to working summers at HIA (then DAO) for Graham Hill and K.O. Wright.


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