Exploring Type Ia Supernovae and the Nature of the Expanding Universe

Our Research

We focus on understanding the physics of the dark energy causing the accelerating expansion of the Universe.

Next generation time-domain astronomy.

The currently most successful probe of the kinematics of the Universe over the past 10 billion years has involved the use of Type Ia supernovae (SNeIa) to measure the evolution of luminosity distance vs. redshift (Riess98, Perlmutter99). Dr. Wood-Vasey is currently planning for using the ~100,000 SNeIa that will be observed by the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) to constrain the nature of dark energy through measurements of the equation-of-state parameter of the dark energy, w=P/rho. This is a field where the observations are clearly far out in front of theory and thus call for investigation by multiple pathways to confirm the observational results and explore new areas to provide further guidance for the hope of an eventually theoretical explanation for dark energy that quantitative predicts its observed behavior today.

Current work

Dr. Wood-Vasey is involved in ongoing studies of SNeIa in the near-infrared to improve our ability to measure distances in the Universe.

Looking toward the future

Dr. Wood-Vasey is leading efforts to maximize the SNIa cosmological science from the Vera C. Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST), which will be the major ground-based optical effort in operation during 2020-2030.

Team Members

Our group is led by Dr. Michael Wood-Vasey and based at the University of Pittsburgh.

Michael Wood-Vasey


Daniel Perrefort

Research Assistant Professor

Shu Liu

Graduate Student

Jared Hand

Graduate Student

Troy Raen

Graduate Student

Past Members

Kara Ponder

Previously: Graduate Student

Lluís Galbany

Previously: PostDoc

Melanie Good

Previously: Graduate Student

Anya Weyant

Previously: Graduate Student

Shailendra Vikas

Previously: Graduate Student