Physics and Astronomy Department

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Join Western’s Academy for Lifelong Learning for an Exploration of Mars in February 2017-01-11
Inside the Search for Life on ‘Nearby’ Proxima b

Aurorae aside, Proxima b’s severe space weather doesn’t create the prettiest of pictures, at least to human eyes. “We’ve seen 10 huge flares over the span of a few weeks time,” said Matthews. “We estimate the star has flares which we would consider major…

This Earth-like planet orbits the Sun’s nearest neighbor every 11 days

Jim Davenport, a postdoctoral fellow at Western Washington University, believes Proxima b’s biggest obstacle to Earth-like conditions is likely to be Proxima Centauri’s continual flares, which can be ten times more energetic than any ever observed on our Sun. Harsh x-rays and ultraviolet…

Earth-like planet discovered

BELLINGHAM ­– About four light years away from our planet sits Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our solar system, and orbiting it is its just-discovered companion, a small Earth-like planet that, for now at least, holds the unassuming name of Proxima b.

At this distance, Proxima b is…

SPIE Optics + Photonics technologies drive changes from daily life to our view of the universe

Astrophysics' new LIGO-enabled paradigm for exploring the universe, the latest findings of the Mars rovers, and bioinspired robotics are just a few topics in optical engineering to be featured at SPIE Optics + Photonics in August.

More than 3,000 reports on the latest in research and…

Mars 2020 mission: Students survey rover landing sites

Meeting weekly this semester for the Astronomy 6500 seminar, Cornell undergraduate and graduate students are conducting research – with six other universities – to help NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory determine a rover landing site for the Mars 2020 mission.

The course is a hybrid…

Former Sen. Harriet Spanel of Bellingham dies

Harriet Spanel, who served Whatcom County for more than two decades as a state legislator, has died. She was 77.

“We have lost an incredible leader and a dear friend,” said Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, who succeeded Spanel as senator representing the 40th District, in a press…

Inaugural winners of Diversity and Social Justice Grants announced 2016-01-25
WWU Department of Physics and Astronomy Honored by The American Physical Society’s Committee on Education 2015-10-20
‘Evening of Light’ to feature Mars exploration, genius of lasers

What is it like to explore Mars? What do the latest discoveries from the Red Planet tell us about our own past on Earth -- or our future?

Find out in person next month at Western Washington University, via a talk by professor Melissa Rice, one of 400 scientists worldwide to help pilot…

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