A Santa Barbara County researcher was part of a team of scientists who discovered small craters in the outer solar system not seen before.

Sarah Greenstreet was a scientist at Las Cumbres Observatory based in Goleta when she used photos from the New Horizons spacecraft to look at craters on Pluto and its moon, Charon.

Image by NASA/JPL-Caltech

South Coast astronomers were part of an international team of scientists who made a new discovery about black holes.

Researchers from Goleta-based Las Cumbres Observatory used their worldwide network of robotic telescopes as they worked with other scientists, NASA satellites and the International Space Station to observe something never seen before.

Photo by T. Lister / C. Snodgrass / Las Cumbres Observatory / Faulkes Telescope Project

A comet is making a close approach to Earth on Sunday morning, and astronomers on the South Coast are keeping a close eye on it.

A comet is a collection of gas, dust and ice leftover from the formation of the solar system. And this particular comet called 46P/Wirtanen happens to be close to the sun and Earth – about seven million miles away.

Dr. Tim Lister with Goleta-based Las Cumbres Observatory is studying it using its global network of telescopes. He says it’s the 10th closest comet approach in the last 70 years.

Photo by Dan Kasen (Berkely/LBNL)

Astronomers on the South Coast were part of an international team of scientists who made some important observations about a supernova.

NASA’s Kepler satellite caught a rare glimpse of a supernova, which is the explosion of a star. And Goleta-based Las Cumbres Observatory – known as LCO -- used its network of 21 robotic telescopes around the world to observe it.

Some children in the Conejo Valley who come from low-income families and are behind in school are taking a special course to help close the achievement gap. An astronomy class is a key part of the program.

Photo by Las Cumbres Observatory

An astronomer is coming to the South Coast this week to talk about her research into one of the most unusual stars ever discovered.

Dr. Tabetha Boyajian – a professor at Louisiana State University – has used Goleta-based Las Cumbres Observatory’s worldwide network of telescopes to lead research into a unique star nicknamed “Tabby’s Star.”

Photo by Las Cumbres Observatory

Santa Barbara County astronomers have received a multi-million dollar grant to build robotic telescopes.

Goleta-based Las Cumbres Observatory known as LCO -- which has a global network of robotic telescopes -- received a nearly $5 million dollar grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to build two more telescopes that will be located on the Canary Islands.

Photo by NASA, ESA, and Patrick Kelly (University of Minnesota)

A South Coast scientist is among an international group of researchers that discovered the farthest star ever seen. 

Dr. Curtis McCully, an astrophysicist at Las Cumbres Observatory in Goleta, played a part in the discovery of an enormous blue star nicknamed Icarus that’s located nine billion lightyears away.

Photo by Las Cumbres Observatory

An astronomical phenomenon that has been a theory for years has finally been proven. Astronomers on the South Coast were part of an international group of researchers that observed this incredible cosmic event.

Photo by Las Cumbres Observatory

Scientists on the South Coast have received a large grant to build a new telescope.

The Las Cumbres Observatory also known as LCO – based in Goleta – has been given $1 million from the Heising-Simons Foundation to build a one-meter robotic telescope that will be located at the McDonald Observatory in Texas.

Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

A NASA scientist, who will be visiting the South Coast, runs a mission that studies asteroids and comets approaching Earth.

Amy Mainzer is a senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. She’s the principal investigator of NEOWISE, which is an orbiting space telescope that surveys for asteroids and comets that get close to Earth.

Photo by NASA New Horizons

Fran Bagenal is one of the team leaders for NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto, and she will share her discoveries at Cal Poly this week. 

She says it took nine years for the spacecraft to finally make a flyby and 15 more months to beam images back to Earth. She says the data far exceeded her expectations.

When you learn about research being conducted on the universe, you usually hear about it in the news, a lecture hall or a conference. But, now, astronomers on the South Coast are talking about their research to the general public in an unlikely place.

A bartender is shaking up a cocktail for a customer at the M8trx Nightclub and Lounge on State Street where 250 people have packed it to capacity. It seems like a typical night at a crowded bar. That’s until Iair Arcavi, an astronomer who’s doing postdoctoral research at UC Santa Barbara and Las Cumbres Observatory in Goleta, steps on stage.


The Perseid meteor shower occurs every summer when the Earth passes through debris released by Comet Swift-Tuttle.

Tiny debris from the comet collides with our atmosphere at tremendous speed and burns up, creating meteors.