Dark matter, gravitational waves, black holes, neutron stars and neutrinos are just a few of the topics under consideration by the CRA faculty. Our faculty, postdocs and students use theory, experiment and computing to tackle some of the most interesting astrophysical questions of our time. Look below to learn about the research conducted at the CRA. Most of the research involves computers allow us to solve complicated, coupled non-linear equations, track high-energy particles through the sky, and reproduce the Universe inside our virtual lab. The CRA uses the NSF XSEDE resources, the CRA cluster, Cygnus, and our Visualization Lab to explore some of the secrets of the Universe.
Astroparticle physics studies the most powerful objects in the Universe, such as pulsars, gamma ray bursts, supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies a supernovas. Important questions that astroparticle physics helps to answer include the origin of cosmic rays, the acceleration of high-energy particles in astrophysical objects, tests of fundamental physics, the origin of dark matter, neutrino properties, etc. Our faculty, postdocs and students collaborate in several large experiments to detect high-energy gamma rays and neutrinos, with activities ranging from data analysis to instrumentation.
Gravity is one of the four fundamental interactions of nature. Black holes and gravitational waves are two of the most fascinating predictions of general relativity and have been observed for the first time! Our faculty use both theory and experiment to study black holes and gravitational waves.
Electromagnetic astrophysics studies the universe through the oldest messenger, electromagnetic radiation. CRA faculty study cosmology, high-energy astrophysics and compact objects to explore fundamental questions about out universe.
Exoplanets: are planets beyond our own Solar System. So far, thousands have been detected, and a large number of them show very different properties from those in our own Solar System. This challenges our classical understanding of planetary formation. At the CRA, we study the dynamical origin of planetary systems, which can explain many of the observed puzzles. In addition, we investigate the habitability of these planets based on their dynamical interactions, in order to better understand the uniqueness of life in the universe.
Dynamics: Dynamical interactions between objects play an important role to determine the origin and evolution of astrophysical systems. Key dynamical mechanisms can be applied to a wide range of topics. At the CRA, we study the rich three-body interactions, and apply it to estimate the black hole binary merger rates and the stellar tidal disruption rates. In addition, we apply it to investigate the formation and habitability of exoplanetary systems, as well as the dynamical processes in our own Solar System.