05/05/2021 - A curiously yellow star has caused astrophysicists to reevaluate the possible pathways that can lead to the explosion of a massive star as a supernova. An international team including UC Santa Cruz astrophysicists used observations from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope taken two-and-a-half years before the star exploded to identify and study the massive star that became supernova SN 2019yvr.
03/16/2021 - In June 2017, César Rojas-Bravo left Costa Rica a couple of months early to ease his transition into graduate school in the United States. Instead, he was thrown into a whirlwind discovery that most scientists only ever dream of. Read the profile of César and his experience discovering the first optical counterpart to a gravitational wave source in the newest LIGO magazine.
08/26/2020 - New tidal disruption event observations led by astronomers at UC Santa Cruz now provide clear evidence that debris from the star forms a rotating disk, called an accretion disk, around the black hole. Theorists have been debating whether an accretion disk can form efficiently during a tidal disruption event, and the new findings should help resolve that question, said first author Tiara Hung, a postdoctoral researcher on the UC Santa Cruz Transients Team.
08/05/2020 - An international team led by UC Santa Cruz Transients' Wynn Jacobson-Galán has potentially uncovered the nature of “calcium-rich supernovae,” rare stellar explosions that astrophysicists have struggled to find and study. For the first time ever, the researchers examined these rare, mysterious events with x-ray imaging, which provided an unprecedented glimpse into the star during the last month of its life and ultimate explosion.
03/27/19 - A new UC Santa Cruz alumni travel program that will link travelers with some of the campus’s best and brightest professors for a deep dive into a trove of fascinating places. Called Inspired Expeditions, one of those trips features Assistant Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics Ryan Foley, who will take visitors to various observatory sites in Chile before they witness a total solar eclipse in December 2020
02/05/19 - UC Santa Cruz undergraduates Wynn Jacobson-Galán, Catherine Manea and Zafar Rustamkulov were each winners of the Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Awards at the 233rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Seattle. Each presented research in a poster session at the meeting and won a medal in recognition of their work. Jacobson-Galán, a member of the UC Santa Cruz Transients Team led by astrophysicist Ryan Foley, won for a presentation entitled "Evidence of helium emission provides progenitor constraints in Type Iax supernovae."
01/08/2018- Both Science and Physics World noted the significance of the findings in which UC Santa Cruz astronomers played a key role. The blast confirmed several key astrophysical models, revealed a birthplace of many heavy elements, and tested the general theory of relativity as never before. That first observation of a neutron-star merger, and the scientific bounty it revealed, is Science's 2017 Breakthrough of the Year."
03/13/18 - The 2018 NEXTies, a local awards show celebrating the best and brightest in the Santa Cruz community honored astronomer Ryan Foley in the "Wildcard" category for his leadership in a spectacular event that galvanized the international astronomy community.
11/13/2018 - UCSC astronomers examined surprising images of a Type Ia supernova, from the moment of explosion through the rise and fall of the light curve, which revealed unexpected early rise in brightness and provided new insight on the expansion of the universe. "My jaw just dropped," said Georgios Dimitriadis, a UC Santa Cruz Transients postdoctoral researcher who was one of the first to examine the data and led the study.
11/15/2018 - The UC Santa Cruz Transients Team uncovered an ultra-rare glimpse leading up to a supernova known as type Ic, which is thought to detonate after its massive progenitor star has shed or been stripped of its outer layers of hydrogen and helium. Postdoctoral Fellow Charlie Kilpatrick poured through the archive of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope images to uncover the putative progenitor in pre-explosion photos taken in 2006.
10/18/2017 - As one of the first astronomy teams in the world to observe the explosion of two colliding neutron stars, the UC Santa Cruz Transient Astrophysicists have revealed new details about the a catastrophic merger so violent that it distorts space and time to create gravitational waves. Astronomer Ryan Foley says this is probably the biggest discovery he’ll make in his lifetime.
10/16/2017 - The UC Santa Cruz Transients Team was the first to observe light from a gravitational wave source, which turned out to be a brilliant explosion caused by the merger of two neutron stars. This momentous discovery offered proof that astronomers could look at the universe two different ways like being able to see and hear something at the same time, kicking off a new era of gravitational wave astrophysics.
07/21/2017 - At a distance of 10 billion light years, a supernova detected by the Dark Energy Survey team is one of the most distant ever discovered. The investigation was led by UC Santa Cruz astronomers Yen-Chen Pan and Ryan Foley as part of an international team of collaborators using the Blanco 4-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. Follow-up observations to measure the distance and obtain detailed spectra of the supernova were conducted with the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph.
04/17/2017 - UC Observatories, Lick Observatory, and the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics offer a Star Party, replete with jazz, informative talks from foremost experts on astronomy, constellation identification, and telescopes for viewing celestial objects. Prof. Ryan Foley will give a history of Lick Observatory before the viewing.
11/28/2016 - Six new faculty members have joined the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, bringing with them a wide range of expertise in some of the most exciting areas of astronomy and cosmology. Among them is assistant professor Ryan Foley, an astrophysicist who studies exploding stars (supernovae) and other transient celestial phenomena, and uses supernova observations to study dark energy and cosmology.
10/14/2016 - The David and Lucile Packard Foundation awarded a Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering to Ryan Foley, assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. The Packard Fellowship, one of the nation's most prestigious honors for scientists, gives Foley a grant to support his research on the mysterious "dark energy" that is causing the expansion of the universe to speed up.
Einstein, Hubble and Dark Energy
Prof. Foley and the next breakthrough on the UCO Living Room Lecture
Merging Neutron Stars
Historic observation kicks off new era in astronomy
INSide Story Behind A Huge Discovery
Postdoctoral researcher Dave Coulter takes us behind the scenes
Shining Light On Gravity
Prof. Ryan Foley shines a light on gravity
Infared Survey and Cosmic Mysteries
The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) gets green light from NASA
Observing Supermassive Blackholes
Ejecting dying stars from host
Supernova Astronomy Evolving
Prof. Ryan Foley speaks at Carnegie Sciences Observatories
Gravitational Wave ELectromagnetic Counterpart
Prof. Ryan Foley speaks at Texas A&M on merger of a binary neutron star system
Multiple Progenitors For SN Type Ia
Prof. Ryan Foley's 2016 talk at the Sackler Confrence in Cambridge
Astronomy On Tap
Select team members speak on topical issues in Astronomy
Universe In Motion
UCSC Astronomers speak about Astronomy on Tap series
Brown Dwarfs: too Small or Too Big
Postdoctoral Researcher Kaew Tinyanont presents at CalTech