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    Earth, Sun, and Venus

    The small black spot projected on the Sun just above the foreground clouds in Provo is caused by the planet Venus as it transits for the last time this century. The transits of Venus come in pairs separated by eight years that only occur after a period of 105 or 122 years without a transit visible from the Earth. If you missed this event, the next opportunity will be in December of 2117. Finding the transit of an Earth sized planet across a stellar photosphere was the primary mission of the Kepler spacecraft as it searched for extrasolar planets up through August 2013. The difficulty of this mission is apparent when you note the tiny fraction of the Sun's light that is blocked by the transit of a planet the size of Venus.

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    Defect-Free Superconductors

    solved. Unlike their hole-doped cousins, these crystals do not superconduct when newly grown, but only after a high-temperature treatment in a reducing environment. Using a combination of x-ray diffuse scattering and neutron powder diffraction techniques, their copper-oxide sheets were found to be initially riddled with copper-vacancy defects, which were then reversibly repaired during heat treatments.

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    Crystal Distortions

    Crystal transformations that reduce symmetry are called "distortions". ISODISTORT (iso.byu.edu) is a powerful group-theoretical tool that can generate, parameterize, and interactively visualize virtually any crystal distortion involving atomic displacements, magnetic moments, occupational orderings, or lattice strains. Figure based on La2CoRuO6 (J. Mater. Chem. 15, 715-720, 2005).

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    Confirming Transiting Exoplanets

    The figure shown to the left is from a recent publication in the Astronomical Journal (Oberst, Thomas E., et al., 2017, AJ, 153, 97) that confirms the discovery of a highly irradiated, ultra-short period hot Jupiter in orbit around a distant star. The newly discovered planet has been designated as KELT–16b. The long time series run in the left hand panel that is labeled "Pratt" is from a team of students led by Dr. Denise Stephens using the BYU campus Orson Pratt Observatory. The four multi-color data sets that follow were secured a couple of days later by students under the direction of Dr. Michael Joner at the BYU West Mountain Observatory. These and the other data presented in the paper confirm the sub-stellar mass and other properties of KELT-16b.

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    A Big Table of Space-Group IRs

    The irreducible representations (IRs) of the parent symmetry of a system provide a symmetry-motivated parameter set for describing any periodic or aperiodic distortion. The IRs of complete crystallographic space groups and their extensions to (3+d)-dimensional superspace, including all special and non-special k-vectors, commensurate and incommensurate, have now been exhaustively tabulated for the first time. Photo (Wikipedia): Table Mountain, Capetown, South Africa.


19 Sep, Today

7:30 PM

20 Sep, Wednesday

Colloquium: Ivan Smalyukh
4:00 PM
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Recently Published Research

Brian Anderson et al. recently published an article titled "Stress corrosion crack depth investigation using the time reversed elastic nonlinearity diagnostic" in Journal of The Acoustical Society of America. Click on the image above to read it.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Veil Nebula: Wisps of an Exploded Star : Wisps like this are all that remain visible of a Milky Way star. About 7,000 years ago that star exploded in a supernova leaving the Veil Nebula. At the time, the expanding cloud was likely as bright as a crescent Moon, remaining visible for weeks to people living at the dawn of recorded history....

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

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