Raw Science Film Festival Jan 2018

The Raw Science Film Festival is coming to Santa Barbara January 6th at the Lobero Theater ! Members of our lab will be featured
Exhibitors and two of our PIs, Professors Philip Lubin and Joel Rothman, are featured Speakers !

Congress directs NASA to go Interstellar by 2069 – May 2016

May 2016

“Although such approaches may seem impossibly sci-fi for many space scientists, the report also refers to ‘beam energy approaches.’ The report mentions that the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program is already funding a study of “directed energy propulsion for wafer-sized spacecraft that in principle could achieve velocities exceeding 0.1c.”

(UCSB NASA Program – now called Starlight – emphasis added)


page 60, Excerpt from the 114TH CONGRESS REPORT of the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 2d Session

“The Committee encourages NASA to study and develop propulsion concepts that could enable an interstellar scientific probe with the capability of achieving a cruise velocity of 0.1c. These efforts shall be centered on enabling such a mission to Alpha Centauri, which can be launched by the one-hundredth anniversary, 2069, of the Apollo 11 moon landing.”

“…within one year of enactment of this Act, NASA shall submit an interstellar propulsion technology assessment report with a draft conceptual roadmap, which may include an overview of potential advance propulsion concepts for such an interstellar mission, including technical challenges, technology readiness level assessments, risks, and potential near-term milestones and funding requirements.”


NASA 360 Going Interstellar Feb 2016

NASA released its video of our NIAC study on the possibilities of getting to relativistic speeds using directed energy.

Going Interstellar

Imagine getting to Mars in just 3 days… or putting points beyond our solar system within our reach. New propulsion technologies could one day take us to these cosmic destinations making space travel truly interstellar!This video represents a research study within the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program. NIAC is a visionary and far-reaching aerospace program, one that has the potential to create breakthrough technologies for possible future space missions. However, such early stage technology development may never become actual NASA missions. For more information about NIAC, visit:

Posted by NASA 360 on Friday, February 12, 2016

Asteroid Deflection- Sci Fi or Reality?

This article covers DE-STAR, slowing down spinning asteroids, and photon propulsion.

Read it by checking out the link below:

Roadmap to the Stars June 2015

Posted on June 23, 2015, the article describes the DEEP-IN project and DE-STAR
Check out the link below to read it:

Planck-BiCEP Analysis of Inflation Claim

The joint Planck – BiCEP team analysis of the March 2015  reported gravity wave detection from inflation have been published and shows no significant evidence of gravity waves in the BiCEP data contrary to the Harvard Press announcement of March 17 2015. The primary issue was the incomplete accounting of dust contamination in the BiCEP field which mimics an inflationary signature.

A Joint Analysis of BICEP2/Keck Array and Planck Data

Authors: BICEP2/Keck, Planck Collaborations: P. A. R. Ade, N. Aghanim, Z. Ahmed, R. W. Aikin, K. D. Alexander, M. Arnaud, J. Aumont, C. Baccigalupi, A. J. Banday, D. Barkats, R. B. Barreiro, J. G. Bartlett, N. Bartolo, E. Battaner, K. Benabed, A. Benoit-Lévy, S. J. Benton, J.-P. Bernard, M. Bersanelli, P. Bielewicz, C. A. Bischoff, J. J. Bock, A. Bonaldi, L. Bonavera, J. R. Bond, J. Borrill, F. R. Bouchet, F. Boulanger, J. A. Brevik, M. Bucher, I. Buder, E. Bullock, C. Burigana, R. C. Butler, V. Buza, E. Calabrese, J.-F. Cardoso, A. Catalano, A. Challinor, R.-R. Chary, H. C. Chiang, P. R. Christensen, L. P. L. Colombo, C. Combet, J. Connors, F. Couchot, A. Coulais, B. P. Crill, A. Curto, F. Cuttaia, L. Danese, R. D. Davies, R. J. Davis, P. de Bernardis, A. de Rosa, G. de Zotti, J. Delabrouille,

J.-M. Delouis, F.-X. Désert, C. Dickinson, J. M. Diego, H. Dole, S. Donzelli, O. Doré, M. Douspis, C. D. Dowell, L. Duband, A. Ducout, J. Dunkley, X. Dupac, C. Dvorkin, G. Efstathiou, F. Elsner, T. A. Enßlin, H. K. Eriksen, J. P. Filippini, F. Finelli, S. Fliescher, O. Forni, M. Frailis, A. A. Fraisse, E. Franceschi, A. Frejsel, S. Galeotta, S. Galli, K. Ganga, T. Ghosh, M. Giard, E. Gjerløw, S. R. Golwala, J. González-Nuevo, K. M. Górski, S. Gratton, A. Gregorio, A. Gruppuso, J. E. Gudmundsson, M. Halpern, F. K. Hansen, D. Hanson, D. L. Harrison, M. Hasselfield, G. Helou, S. Henrot-Versillé, D. Herranz, S. R. Hildebrandt, G. C. Hilton, E. Hivon, M. Hobson, W. A. Holmes, W. Hovest, V. V. Hristov, K. M. Huffenberger, H. Hui, G. Hurier, K. D. Irwin, A. H. Jaffe, T. R. Jaffe, J. Jewell, W. C. Jones, M. Juvela, K. S. Karkare, J. P. Kaufman, B. G. Keating, S. Kefeli, E. Keihänen, S. A. Kernasovskiy, R. Keskitalo, T. S. Kisner, R. Kneissl, J. Knoche, L. Knox, J. M. Kovac, N. Krachmalnicoff, M. Kunz, C. L. Kuo, H. Kurki-Suonio, G. Lagache, A. Lähteenmäki, J.-M. Lamarre, A. Lasenby, M. Lattanzi, C. R. Lawrence, E. M. Leitch, R. Leonardi, F. Levrier, A. Lewis, M. Liguori, P. B. Lilje, M. Linden-Vørnle, M. López-Caniego, P. M. Lubin, M. Lueker, J. F. Macías-Pérez, B. Maffei, D. Maino, N. Mandolesi, A. Mangilli, M. Maris, P. G. Martin, E. Martínez-González, S. Masi, P. Mason, S. Matarrese, K. G. Megerian, P. R. Meinhold, A. Melchiorri, L. Mendes, A. Mennella, M. Migliaccio, S. Mitra, M.-A. Miville-Deschênes, A. Moneti, L. Montier, G. Morgante, D. Mortlock, A. Moss, D. Munshi, J. A. Murphy, P. Naselsky, F. Nati, P. Natoli, C. B. Netterfield, H. T. Nguyen, H. U. Nørgaard-Nielsen, F. Noviello, D. Novikov, I. Novikov, R. O’Brient, R. W. Ogburn IV, A. Orlando, L. Pagano, F. Pajot, R. Paladini, D. Paoletti, B. Partridge, F. Pasian, G. Patanchon, T. J. Pearson, O. Perdereau, L. Perotto, V. Pettorino, F. Piacentini, M. Piat, D. Pietrobon, S. Plaszczynski, E. Pointecouteau, G. Polenta, N. Ponthieu, G. W. Pratt, S. Prunet, C. Pryke, J.-L. Puget, J. P. Rachen, W. T. Reach, R. Rebolo, M. Reinecke, M. Remazeilles, C. Renault, A. Renzi, S. Richter, I. Ristorcelli, G. Rocha, M. Rossetti, G. Roudier, M. Rowan-Robinson, J. A. Rubiño-Martín, B. Rusholme, M. Sandri, D. Santos, M. Savelainen, G. Savini, R. Schwarz, D. Scott, M. D. Seiffert, C. D. Sheehy, L. D. Spencer, Z. K. Staniszewski, V. Stolyarov, R. Sudiwala, R. Sunyaev, D. Sutton, A.-S. Suur-Uski, J.-F. Sygnet, J. A. Tauber, G. P. Teply, L. Terenzi, K. L. Thompson, L. Toffolatti, J. E. Tolan, M. Tomasi, M. Tristram, M. Tucci, A. D. Turner, L. Valenziano, J. Valiviita, B. Van Tent, L. Vibert, P. Vielva, A. G. Vieregg, F. Villa, L. A. Wade, B. D. Wandelt, R. Watson, A. C. Weber, I. K. Wehus, M. White, S. D. M. White, J. Willmert, C. L. Wong, K. W. Yoon, D. Yvon, A. Zacchei, A. Zonca

et al. (216 additional authors not shown)

(Submitted on 2 Feb 2015)

Abstract: We report the results of a joint analysis of data from BICEP2/Keck Array and Planck. BICEP2 and Keck Array have observed the same approximately 400 deg 2   patch of sky centered on RA 0h, Dec. −57.5deg  . The combined maps reach a depth of 57 nK deg in Stokes Q  and U  in a band centered at 150 GHz. Planck has observed the full sky in polarization at seven frequencies from 30 to 353 GHz, but much less deeply in any given region (1.2 μ  K deg in Q  and U  at 143 GHz). We detect 150×  353 cross-correlation in B  -modes at high significance. We fit the single- and cross-frequency power spectra at frequencies above 150 GHz to a lensed-Λ  CDM model that includes dust and a possible contribution from inflationary gravitational waves (as parameterized by the tensor-to-scalar ratio r  ). We probe various model variations and extensions, including adding a synchrotron component in combination with lower frequency data, and find that these make little difference to the r  constraint. Finally we present an alternative analysis which is similar to a map-based cleaning of the dust contribution, and show that this gives similar constraints. The final result is expressed as a likelihood curve for r  , and yields an upper limit r 0.05 <0.12  at 95% confidence. Marginalizing over dust and r  , lensing B  -modes are detected at 7.0σ  significance.


Planck 2015 Cosmology Release

The latest Planck 2015 Cosmology Release papers are available here:

Planck polarized dust map


Milky Way’s magnetic fingerprint – ESA – data from Paul Sutter
 – Paris Institute of Astrophysics (IAP)
6 May 2014Our Galaxy’s magnetic field is revealed in a new image from ESA’s Planck satellite. This image was compiled from the first all-sky observations of ‘polarized’ light emitted by interstellar dust in the Milky Way.
Light is a very familiar form of energy and yet some of its properties are all but hidden to everyday human experience. One of these – polarisation – carries a wealth of information about what happened along a light ray’s path, and can be exploited by astronomers.Light can be described as a series of waves of electric and magnetic fields that vibrate in directions that are at right angles to each other and to their direction of travel.Usually, these fields can vibrate at all orientations. However, if they happen to vibrate preferentially in certain directions, we say the light is ‘polarized’. This can happen, for example, when light bounces off a reflective surface like a mirror or the sea. Special filters can be used to absorb this polarized light, which is how polarized sunglasses eliminate glare.
In space, the light emitted by stars, gas and dust can also be polarised in various ways. By measuring the amount of polarization in this light, astronomers can study the physical processes that caused the polarization.In particular, polarization may reveal the existence and properties of magnetic fields in the medium light has travelled through.The map presented here was obtained using detectors on Planck that acted as the astronomical equivalent of polarized sunglasses. Swirls, loops and arches in this new image trace the structure of the magnetic field in our home galaxy, the Milky Way.In addition to its hundreds of billions of stars, our Galaxy is filled with a mixture of gas and dust, the raw material from which stars are born. Even though the tiny dust grains are very cold, they do emit light but at very long wavelengths – from the infrared to the microwave domain. If the grains are not symmetrical, more of that light comes out vibrating parallel to the longest axis of the grain, making the light polarised.

If the orientations of a whole cloud of dust grains were random, no net polarization would be seen. However, cosmic dust grains are almost always spinning rapidly, tens of millions of times per second, due to collisions with photons and rapidly moving atoms.

Then, because interstellar clouds in the Milky Way are threaded by magnetic fields, the spinning dust grains become aligned preferentially with their long axis perpendicular to the direction of the magnetic field. As a result, there is a net polarisation in the emitted light, which can then be measured.

In this way, astronomers can use polarised light from dust grains to study the structure of the Galactic magnetic field and, in particular, the orientation of the field lines projected on the plane of the sky.

In the new Planck image, darker regions correspond to stronger polarized emission, and the striations indicate the direction of the magnetic field projected on the plane of the sky. Since the magnetic field of the Milky Way has a 3D structure, the net orientation is difficult to interpret if the field lines are highly disorganised along the line of sight, like looking through a tangled ball of string and trying to perceive some net alignment.

However, the Planck image shows that there is large-scale organisation in some parts of the Galactic magnetic field.

The dark band running horizontally across the centre corresponds to the Galactic Plane. Here, the polarisation reveals a regular pattern on large angular scales, which is due to the magnetic field lines being predominantly parallel to the plane of the Milky Way.

The data also reveal variations of the polarisation direction within nearby clouds of gas and dust. This can be seen in the tangled features above and below the plane, where the local magnetic field is particularly disorganised.

Planck’s Galactic polarisation data are analysed in a series of four papers just submitted to the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, but studying the magnetic field of the Milky Way is not the only reason why Planck scientists are interested in these data. Hidden behind the foreground emission from our Galaxy is the primordial signal from the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), the most ancient light in the Universe.

The brightness of the CMB has already been mapped by Planck in unprecedented detail and scientists are now scrutinising the data to measure the polarization of this light. This is one of the main goals of the Planck mission, because it could provide evidence for gravitational waves generated in the Universe immediately after its birth.

In March 2014, scientists from the BICEP2 collaboration claimed the first detection of such a signal in data collected using a ground-based telescope observing a patch of the sky at a single microwave frequency. Critically, the claim relies on the assumption that foreground polarized emissions are almost negligible in this region.

Later this year, scientists from the Planck collaboration will release data based on Planck’s observations of polarized light covering the entire sky at seven different frequencies. The multiple frequency data should allow astronomers to separate with great confidence any possible foreground contamination from the tenuous primordial polarized signal.

This will enable a much more detailed investigation of the early history of the cosmos, from the accelerated expansion when the Universe was much less than one second old to the period when the first stars were born, several hundred million years later.

This image is based on data from ESA’s Planck satellite that are published in a series of four papers submitted to the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, where more details on the data analysis and interpretation can be found:

Planck intermediate results. XIX. An overview of the polarized thermal emission from Galactic dust
Planck intermediate results. XX. Comparison of polarized thermal emission from Galactic dust with simulations of MHD turbulence
Planck intermediate results. XXI. Comparison of polarized thermal emission from Galactic dust at 353 GHz with optical interstellar polarization
Planck intermediate results. XXII. Frequency dependence of thermal emission from Galactic dust in intensity and polarization

About Planck
Launched in 2009, Planck was designed to map the sky in nine frequencies using two state-of-the-art instruments: the Low Frequency Instrument, which includes three frequency bands in the range 30–70 GHz, and the High Frequency Instrument, which includes six frequency bands in the range 100–857 GHz. HFI completed its survey in January 2012, while LFI continued to make science observations until 3 October 2013, before being switched off on 19 October 2013.

Seven of Planck’s nine frequency channels were equipped with polarization-sensitive detectors. The image presented here is based on polarization data collected at a frequency of 353 GHz with HFI.


Planck and the Higgs Boson

While at CERN in Geneva, particle physicists searched for and found the Higgs Boson, the field that gives mass to all other particles, Planck has been mapping the Cosmic Microwave Backround, the oldest light of the universe. This video, produced by the European Space Agency, shows the connections between the two. Planck scientists featured in this video are Chief Scientist, Dr. Jan Tauber, Dr. Francois Bouchet, and Dr. Benjamin Wandelt.

End of Planck Satellite – Oct. 23, 2013

After successfully mapping the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation for 4.5 years, the Planck Satellite was turned off at approximately noon, UTC, on Wednesday, October 23, 2013. For details, see Last Command Sent to ESA’s Planck Space Telescope .

Chief Scientist for the Planck Mission, Dr. Jan Tauber, gives the final command.

Chief Scientist for the Planck Mission, Dr. Jan Tauber, gives the final command.

Planck Satellite in front of the final CMB map.

Planck Satellite in front of the final CMB map.

We are sad to see the end of this project, but we will be working on the data for at least another year before they are released to the public domain.

See additional links and information:

Refined cosmic recipe

Planck sees distribution of dark matter across space and back in time

Planck’s legacy – the most precise view of our universe

Gravitational lensing of the CMB seen by Planck