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SAFE RETURN TO CAMPUS

Spring semester began Monday, January 25, with a mix of in-person instruction and expanded online classes. Visit Mason’s Safe Return to Campus Plan for COVID-19 updates.

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Understanding the physical properties and phenomena of the natural world

Physical science research encompass fields like astronomy, quantum materials, fluid dynamics, nanotechnology, forensics, space sciences, and environmental chemistry. These fields link to collaborative efforts across the university, especially with the Volgeneau School of Engineering and the microfabrication facility.

Physical science

Physical Sciences Spotlight: NASA's TESS, Spitzer Missions Discover a World Orbiting A Unique Young Star

For more than a decade, astronomers have searched for planets orbiting AU Microscopii, a nearby star still surrounded by a disk of debris left over from its formation. Now scientists using data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and retired Spitzer Space Telescope report the discovery of a planet about as large as Neptune that circles the young star in just over a week.

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and retired Spitzer Space Telescope have found a young Neptune-size world orbiting AU Microscopii, a cool, nearby M-type dwarf star surrounded by a vast disk of debris. The discovery makes the system a touchstone for understanding how stars and planets form and evolve. Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center