The laser intensity at the center of this laser focus is an astounding billion gigawatts (a billion billion watts) per square centimeter. This easily makes it most intense spot on campus. The laser pulse which creates the spot lasts only 30 femtoseconds, and is used to rip electrons from helium and study the radiation they emit in this intense field.
Framing a bright emission region this telescopic view looks out along the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy toward the nebula rich constellation Cygnus the Swan. Popularly called the Tulip Nebula the glowing cloud of interstellar gas and dust is also found in the 1959 catalog by astronomer Stewart Sharpless as Sh2-101. About 8,000 light-years distant the nebula is understandably not the only cosmic cloud to evoke the imagery of flowers. The complex and beautiful nebula is shown here in a composite image that maps emission from ionized sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms into red, green, and blue colors. Ultraviolet radiation from young, energetic O star HDE 227018 ionizes the atoms and powers the emission from the Tulip Nebula. HDE 227018 is the bright star very near the blue arc at image center. This image and description appeared as the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day on July 26, 2012.
Image Credit & Copyright: Michael Joner, David Laney (West Mountain Observatory, BYU); Processing - Robert Gendler
This sharp cosmic portrait features NGC 891. The spiral galaxy spans about 100 thousand light-years and is seen almost exactly edge-on from our perspective. In fact, about 30 million light-years distant in the constellation Andromeda, NGC 891 looks a lot like our Milky Way. At first glance, it has a flat, thin, galactic disk and a central bulge cut along the middle by regions of dark obscuring dust. The combined image data also reveal the galaxy's young blue star clusters and telltale pinkish star forming regions. And remarkably apparent in NGC 891's edge-on presentation are filaments of dust that extend hundreds of light-years above and below the center line. The dust has likely been blown out of the disk by supernova explosions or intense star formation activity. Faint neighboring galaxies can also be seen near this galaxy's disk. This is the first BYU image to be selected as the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day. This image and description were featured as the May 26, 2012 APOD.
Credit: Composite Image Data - Subaru Telescope (NAOJ), Hubble Legacy Archive, Michael Joner, David Laney (West Mountain Observatory, BYU); Processing - Robert Gendler
Although exploding balloons might seem like just another distraction to keep students awake in science classes, they can also be used in serious scientific research. Recently, two BYU professors used exploding balloons to better understand how sounds like those created by other loud sources—rockets, military jets, bombs, and shotguns–travel around us.
Did the ancient Greeks see Halley's comet in 467/66 BC? An article in the Journal of Cosmology asks this question. Dr. Graham from the BYU Department of Philosophy and Dr. Hintz from the BYU Department of Physics and Astronomy find that the description from ancient texts can be matched to the path of Halley's comet in 467/66 BC. Although no definitive statement can be made it presents an interesting possibility.
Nikki Maughan and Joseph Moody et al. recently published an article titled "Monte Carlo simulation of near-infrared light propagation through homogeneous mixed media" in Journal of Biomedical Optics. Click on the image above to read it.
Airglow Ripples over Tibet : Why would the sky look like a giant target? Airglow. Following a giant thunderstorm over Bangladesh in late April, giant circular ripples of glowing air appeared over Tibet, China, as pictured above....
This photograph and Description come from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day web site.