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    Super Blood Wolf Moon

    When a full moon occurs as the moon moves near its closest point to the earth, it appears slightly larger in the sky. In recent times, some people have referred to these full moons as Super Full Moons. Likewise, due to the deep red color of the moon that is often visible during the total phase of a lunar eclipse, it has become popular to refer to these events as Blood Moons. The January full moon is known as the Wolf Moon. Thus, it is not surprising that many stories written about the January 20/21, 2019 lunar eclipse refer to it as the Super Blood Wolf Moon. Even though there was a winter storm watch in effect, observers were surprised when the skies in Provo cleared during the early part of the night so that viewers were able to clearly see most phases of the eclipse up until the partial phases during the last hour. The picture above shows the totally eclipsed full moon among the stars of the constellation Aquarius as seen from Provo. The next total lunar eclipse visible from the western US will be May 26, 2021. Photo courtesy of Professor Michael Joner.

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    Sunrise Over Plato

    This image of the northern lunar region along the terminator was secured in the early morning hours of 20 August 2018 using the 0.9-meter telescope at the BYU West Mountain Observatory. The dark floored crater catching the sunrise rays is named Plato. This crater is 101 km in diameter and sits on the edge of Mare Imbrium. The mountains running from Plato toward the lower right part of the image are known as the Lunar Alps. The straight feature running about 160 km through the mountains linking Mare Imbrium and Mare Frigoris is known as Vallis Alpes or the Alpine Valley. Image by Dr. Michael Joner.

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    Southern Utah Ring of Fire

    This is a mosaic of solar eclipse images secured on May 20, 2012 by Dr. Michael D. Joner. The individual observations were made between 6:59 and 8:06pm MDT a couple of miles northwest of Kanarraville, Utah on the center line of this annular solar eclipse. The entire solar photosphere was not blocked by the passage of the Moon for this eclipse. The result was an annular eclipse due to the fact that the Moon was close to apogee and thus not large enough in the sky to cover the entire Sun. Many areas of southern Utah enjoyed perfect weather in addition to being ideally located to view the eclipse well before sunset.

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    Searching Extragalactic Voids

    In a recent article found in the Astrophysical Journal (J. Ward Moody et al., 2017, ApJ, 836, 58), Moody, Draper, McNeil, and Joner used the 8-meter Gillett Gemini telescope and GMOS spectrometer on Mauna Kea to look for emission-line dwarf galaxies in the centers of two nearby galaxy voids. Candidate objects were found in a photometric survey of void fields done with red shifted H-alpha filters using the 4-meter Mayall telescope and Mosaic camera on Kitt Peak. The figure to the left shows a spectrum for one of the six candidate objects selected for observations using the Gemini telescope. The red shifted [OIII] and H-beta emission lines are clearly visible at the right end of the spectrum. The results of this paper serve as a proof of concept for the photometric technique in that all six candidate objects showed strong emission lines in the spectrum.

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    Relatively Nearby Active Galaxy

    Messier 106 is a spiral galaxy located in the northern hemisphere constellation of Canes Venatici. M106 is roughly 25 million light-years away and exhibits an active nucleus that is classified as a Type 2 Seyfert. This activity indicates the presence of a supermassive black hole with a mass of more than ten million times that of the Sun. M106 is also home to a water vapor megamaser as evidenced by 22 GHz water emission observations. The water maser observations have provided independent distance estimates for M106 that help calibrate the Cepheid distance scale and help provide confirmation for other extragalactic distance measurements. Imaging specialist Dr. Robert Gendler composed this image using data secured by Dr. Michael Joner at the BYU West Mountain Observatory. Many of the details seen in the nuclear region are enhanced by the use of data obtained through a narrow-band H-alpha filter.


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Recently Published Research

David Neilsen and Eric Hirschmann et al. recently published an article titled "Relativistic Hydrodynamics with Wavelets" in Astrophysical Journal. Click on the image above to read it.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Boulders on Bennu: An abundance of boulders litters the surface asteroid 101955 Bennu in this dramatic close-up from the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Taken on March 28 from a distance of just 3.4 kilometers (2.1 miles) the field of view is about 50 meters across while the light colored boulder at top right is 4....

This photograph and Description come from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day web site.

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