SPIE digital forum

B. Grossan and Z. Maksut took participation in SPIE digital forum 2020, SPIE 11447, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VIII. 

Link to the poster and coference paper

ECL Autumn 2020 Colloquia Series

Dr. Vishal Gajjar delivered his public lecture, A New Era In The Search For Intelligent Life In The Universe, at the Energetic Cosmos Laboratory Autumn Colloquia Series. [October 21, 2020]

Prof. Katie Mack gave a public lecture, entitled How to See a Black Hole, for the Energetic Cosmos Laboratory Autumn Colloquia Series. [October 13, 2020]

Paper on UFA instrument testing at the NUTTelA telescope accepted for publication:

“On-sky SiPM Performance Measurements for Millisecond toSub-Microsecond Optical Source Variability Studies” accepted to JATIS 2020 Nov. 6.   
Authors: Albert Wai Kit Lau, Mehdi Shafiee, George Smoot, Bruce Grossan, Siyang Li, and Zhanat Maksut
Paper Number: JATIS 20053RR

Grant Winning

Congratulations to our ECL postdoctoral scholar Dr. Bekdaulet Shukirgaliyev for winning a Ministry of Education and Science grant (~70 million tenge) with the highest score in Kazakhstan. The project “Star Cluster dissolution mechanisms in the Milky-Way-like galaxies” will implemented at ECL in the next 3 years. [October, 2020]

Distinguished Academic Award of the Korean Astronomical Society

ECL congratulates Prof. Arman Shafieloo of the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI), honored with the Distinguished Scholar Award of the Korean Astronomical Society. Arman has been a frequent visitor to and collaborator with ECL, and hosted ECL postdocs and students at KASI. He was the inaugural postdoc hired by Linder and Smoot at their Institute for the Early Universe, Korea, and we look forward to ECL postdocs becoming in turn distinguished scholars in their career! [September 2020]

Observation of SWIFT GRB 200925B

ECL’s rapid response telescope, NUTTelA-TAO observed the SWIFT GRB 200925B (trigger number #997453). The telescope started observation of the field of GRB 200925B 45 s after GRB trigger time (2020-09-25 21:50:37 UT). Research team found early afterglow on 3 bands. We anticipate additional analysis in 15-30 days after our GCN Circular #28511. Some earlier images may have usable data. Check back soon: GRB200925B. [October 2020]

ECL’s NUTTelA-TAO Responds in 7 Seconds

ECL’s rapid response telescope, NUTTelA-TAO (Nazarbayev University Transient Telescope at Assy-Turgen Astrophysical Observatory) responded to NASA’s gamma-ray burst (GRB) alert in seven seconds, successfully demonstrating the ECL Experimental Group’s autonomous software. On August 19 at 21:45, NASA sent a real-time GRB alert to observatories around the world. In one second, NUTTellA-TAO processed NASA data and in seven more, it autonomously deployed and started taking images. “It turned out that the source (of gamma-ray burst) was located near the Galactic plane with a strong optical absorption (latitude = 0.45, longitude = 126.8 degrees), which increases the likelihood that this was a new galactic transition process. Despite the fact that the gamma-ray burst captured by the telescope was weak, we can still say that we got the first technical result confirming that our observatory can work in an autonomous mode and has successfully started observations without being operated by a human. Now we need to proceed with our work, patiently wait for the next bright gamma-ray burst and then, take images of it,” said researcher of the Project Group of the Energetic Cosmos Laboratory NU. [August 2020]

APCTP Inaugural Lecture

Eric Linder gave the inaugural lecture, entitled All Cosmology, All the Time, for the Asia-Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics (APTCP) series “Dark Energy in a Dark Age”, attended by  online participants from around the world. [June 30]

Physical Review D Editor’s Suggestion Award

The ECL article, Detecting Helium Reionization with Fast Radio Bursts by Eric Linder has been awarded Editor’s Suggestion status by Physical Review D. This recognition is granted to fewer than 1% of articles. The research analyzes how high redshift fast radio bursts (FRB) can be used to study cosmology and the helium reionization epoch.

NUTTelA-TAO searches for unique fast radio burst and soft gamma-ray repeater

ECL researchers Kanat Baigarin, Bruce Grossan, and Zhanat Maksut raced in the first week of May to use the special capabilities of the Nazarbayev University Transient Telescope at Assy-Turgen Astrophysial Observatory (NUTTelA-TAO) to search for light from an unexpected, unique galactic fast radio burst and soft gamma-ray repeater. Controlling the telescope remotely while under Covid-19 lockdown, they were able to put limits on any optical emission at wavelengths in between the radio and X-ray bursts.

News about NUTTelA-TAO on the national TV channel “1 tv Eurasia”

The journalist took an interview from ECL team members and made a video report about remote control of the NUTTelA-TAO telescope from the NU laboratory. The video report appeared on a daily morning program on the national TV channel. A copy of the program is available on youtube. The report starts from 10:52 and ends at 14:20.

Visit to National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing (China)

Postdoctoral Scholar Dr Bekdaulet Shukirgaliyev has visited National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing (China) for two weeks from October 28th to November 9 for collaborative works on the dynamics of active galactic nuclei with Prof Rainer Spurzem and Dr Peter Berczik. They have modified phi-GRAPE/GPU and nbody6++gpu codes in order to study star-disk interactions in AGN where the stellar mass spectrum and stellar evolution are considered. They are now planning to launch million-body simulations of AGN dynamical evolution.
At the same time, Dr Kanat Baigarin was visiting Beijing. He and Dr Shukirgaliyev had a meeting with Prof Spurzem about establishing a collaboration between their research groups. Prof Spurzem is the spokesperson of NAOC about the Gravitational Wave Astronomy. Dr Baigarin proposed to host the Korea-China-Kazakhstan meeting on stellar dynamics and gravitational wave astronomy in ECL in 2020.

11th Korea-China-Kazakhstan (KCK) Meeting on Stellar Dynamics and Gravitational Wave Astronomy has been held in Korea Astronomy and Space Institute (Daejeon, South Korea) on Dec 12-13.

Postdoctoral Scholar Bekdaulet Shukirgaliyev participated in this meeting from ECL. He presented his work entitled “The life of bound clusters from the formation till dissolution” in this meeting. Dr Jongsuk Hong a Postdoctoral Researcher at Astronomy Department of Yonsei University was very interested in future collaboration with Bekdaulet Shukirgaliyev on the topic of star cluster formation and evolution. Next 12th KCK-meeting is going to be held at ECL (Nazarbayev University), preliminarily in October 2020.

The team of the NU Energetic Cosmos Laboratory completed the second phase of the NUTTelA-TAO project on the remote control of the star observation telescope

The team of the NU Energetic Cosmos Laboratory completed the second phase of the NUTTelA-TAO project on the remote control of the star observation telescope. To control the observatory, including telescope, dome, cameras, and other processes in real-time is now available directly from the university laboratory, 1000 km away from the observatory.

In the future, the telescope will operate autonomously: observe and instantly respond to emerging gamma-ray bursts, which in turn will create opportunities for new discoveries in the study of this amazing natural phenomenon.

Successful test of full telescope system and BSTI instrument with 3 EMCCDs cameras on October 26-30. 

Team of NUTTellA-TAO project successfully finished testing telescope system control in robotic mode with 3 EMCCD cameras placed on BSTI instrument. The next steps will be conducting several tests with a fully autonomous telescope system without human interaction.

Dr Ayan Mitra gave a talk at Yonsei university, Physics department in September, and discussed about future of cosmology with Prof. David Parkinson and Arman Shafieloo from KASI

NUTTellA-TAO project presentation at International Robotic Telescope conference in Malaga, Spain

ECL member had participated in the Sixth Workshop on Robotic Autonomous Observations, which took place in Torremolinos, Malaga from 30th September till 4th October. He presented NUTTellA-TAO project in front of the international scientific community during the Transient detection session. It was a good opportunity to show our results, and learn more from engineers and scientists from all over the world.


Publication of NUTellA-TAO experimental paper

ECL members and collaborators explain the science case for NUTTellA-TAO (NU Transient Telescope at Assy-Turgen Astrophysical Observatory) and BSTI (Burst Simultaneous Three-Channel Imager) project to measure the shape of the gamma-ray burst optical spectrum  (Accepted, JHEA, 2019 August 15,

Successful BSTI test

We have just completed preliminary assemble and testing of the BSTI (Burst Simultaneous Three-Channel Imager), a new instrument for understanding the astrophysics of cosmic gamma ray bursts (GRBs). For the first time ever the BSTI will allow us to measure the spectrum of optical emission from GRBs, the universe’s most powerful cosmic explosions.
The BSTI was designed and fabricated as a collaboration between the Energetic Cosmos Laboratory (ECL) and the Machine Shop at Nazarbayev University.

Successful telescope operation

2019 June 27 and July 28:
The ECL NUTTelA-TAO telescope already contributing to science.  In Gamma Coordinates Network (Astronomer’s Formal Rapid Communication) circular no.  24900, “GRB 190627A: NUTTelA-TAO optical counterpart observations”, our collaborators Alexi Pozanenko (IKI) and Maxim Krugov (Fesenkov Institute of Almaty), reported on measurements with our telescope of the afterglow of gamma-ray burst 190627A.

Also, in GCN 25212, “LIGO/Virgo S190728q: ZTF19abjethn TShAO and NUTTelA-TAO optical observations / classification”, activities in the search for gravitational wave counterparts was reported.

Low Temperature Detectors (LTD)19

Dr Shafiee presented his work with title of “Design Optimization of 10K pixel optical Microwave Kinetic Inductance detectors” at Low Temperature Detectors conference which is held in Milan since June 21 to 27. This is one of the unique atmosphere which you can find all top scientist in this field from NIST, NASA, SRON and ESA they get together and discuss about future of low temperature detectors. In this conference there was much discussion about MKIDs vs. TES sensors, and MKIDs appear to have even better performance and are the leading candidate for future detectors at this time.

Baden Wurttemburg Post conference

Dr Shafiee also was selected as top 15 young scientist among 600 young scientists of Lindau Nobel laureate event to join Baden-wurttemburg program since  July 6 to July 12. He visited Top universities and research programs in this state of Germany and presented his work. He visited Konstanz university, Friedberg university, Tubingen university, Stuttgart university, KIT and Max Planck research programs about solid state, Cosmology, astrophysics, cold atom and quantum technologies. He visited projects such as Katrin for neutrino mass measurement and collaborators of VICE project for measuring dark matter.

Lindau Nobel Symposium,

Our own Dr. Mehdi Shafiee, postdoc for the cryogenic research program, was selected for the great honor of going to Lindau-Germany for the Noble Laureate Lindau Symposium since June 29 to July 6. He attended a number of talks by Nobel Prize Winners, and select events for young researchers.  Mehdi, we hope you can use this advice to get a Nobel Prize of our own!

A new CNC machine has been arrived to ECL

ECL has established its own machine shop including powerful and precise three degrees of freedom CNC machine PCNC 440 for making precise detector boxes and Telescope flanges. It has stroke length of 10 inch in each directions and maximum feed rate of 3.5 m/min.

ECL team visited Trinity College and Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies (DIAS)

Dr Baigarin and Dr Shafiee visited Trinity college and DIAS in order to collaborate on MKIDs projects at future. On This trip Dr Shafiee presented the recent activities and results of ECL among Trinity and DIAS scientists on May 12.

Dr Bruce Grossan is chosen as the Best researcher of the year 2019 in Kazakhstan

Dr Bruce Grossan as distinguished scientist from Berkeley space center and also experimental leader of ECL due to his activities on Gamma Ray Burst and leading the group to install the most fast transient telescope in Kazakhstan got medal as the best researcher of the year 2019.

ECL was featured in Khabar TV Channel

Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors and Automated Telescope projects were presented at Khabar TV Channel on February 15, 2019

The President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, visited ECL Laboratories

The President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, visited ECL laboratories. During his visit, Dr Baurzhan Alzhanov, Dr Ainur Koshkinbayeva and Dr Aliya Nurmukhanbetova explained the recent successes of developing cryogenic detectors, running the coldest place in Kazakhstan, mK Cryogenic facility, and installation of  the fast telescope at Assy-Turgen.

Installation of the telescope

The next stage of development of the ECL project – installation of the telescope in the gorge of Assy-Turgen. The telescope is designed to register the process of development of a supernova in the optical range by “catching” gamma-ray bursts. We are trying to build the foundation of the research that has been conducted in the country for many years. The telescope is not a record in size, but is among the fastest in control. There are forty of them in the world, our telescope is Forty-first, will be included in the existing network of telescopes to study the early stage of the creation of the Universe. Its images will be used not only by scientists from Kazakhstan, but from the whole world! It is controlled remotely and on-site online. It will also be available for kazakh students for training as future astrophysicist.

ECL visit to Paris Center for Cosmological Physics

In the frame of collaboration with APC laboratory, ECL team worked in together with Paris cosmology research group to test different types of mm range to optical bands microwave kinetic inductance detectors (MKIDs) and participated in data analyses.  During the visit at APC laboratory, ECL team visited Paris Observatory and learned about fabrication of microelectronic chips such as MKIDs.

WOLTE 13 2018, Sorrento, Italy

Dr Mehdi Shafiee with his team Marzhan Nekbalanova and Zhaksylyk kazykenov presented results of developing Microwave Kinetics Inductance detectors with the papers title of “Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors”, “Electronic Readout System for Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors” and “Noise Studying of Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors” at 13th Workshop on Low Temperature Electronics, WOLTE-13, September 10 – 13, 2018 in Sorrento, Italy.

ICEC27-ICMC 2018, Oxford, United Kingdom

Baurzhan Alzhanov participated ICEC27-ICMC 2018 that took place on Monday, 3rd September, 2018 – Friday, 7th September, 2018 on research topic “The cryogenic detector for cosmology observation”.

He presented the implementation of Kinetic Inductance Detectors (MKID) for mm/submm astronomy purposes in our cryocooler at Energetic Cosmos Laboratory (ECL).

ECL in the news

Microwave Kinetic Inductance detectors ( MKID) are used for capturing and characterizing mysterious cosmic explosions and bursts.
Marzhan Bekbalanova is working on the readout system of these detectors that uses FPGA to perform digital signal processing.
Baurzhan Alzhanov explains why we need an Adiabatic Demagnetization Refrigertor (ADR) for the MKIDs.
11:25 – 14:15 in the video

To learn more, see:

Trip to Assi Turgen:

On 13th-17th of November ECL members and Nazarbayev University SST (Physics) Master’s student Magzhan Kistaubayev visited Tien-Shan Astronomy Observatory. We had a collaborative work on short exposure observations with Electron Multiplied CCD (EMCCD) Cameras and tested GRB alerts receipt from NASA’s Swift spacecraft via GRB Coordinate Network.

The Coldest Place In kazakhstan; ADR installed and tested successfully at ECL:

Inside our newly installed Adiabatic Demagnetization refrigerator, we achieved just a few parts in one hundred of a degree above absolute zero to test superconducting super-sensitive sensors…

Professor George Smoot in World Experts in Cosmology, Stellar Explosions Aug 2017, Kazakhstan

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