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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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    Ready for Another Night

    University Photographer, Mark Philbrick, captured this sunset image of the BYU West Mountain Observatory in early June 2016. At the same time, Physics and Astronomy students were at work preparing the telescopes for yet another night of research observations. Data are secured on these nights for a wide variety of projects ranging from careful searches for exoplanets to monitoring active galaxies. The resulting data support research efforts of BYU students and faculty and in many cases contribute to publications by large international collaborations.

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    Orion at West Mountain

    This picture shows the familiar winter constellation of Orion setting in the west as it moves behind the main dome at the BYU West Mountain Observatory. The constellation of Orion is known as a location with giant molecular clouds and current star forming regions. Even in this short exposure, the Orion nebula is clearly visible in the sword of Orion. This picture was taken by Professor Michael Joner while working at the observatory on a clear spring night.

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    Magnificent Desolation

    The phrase “Magnificent Desolation” was used by Apollo 11 Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin to describe his view shortly after he became the second person to step out onto the surface of the Moon on July 20, 1969. The photo shown here is centered on the relatively young crater Copernicus located just south of Mare Imbrium. This impact crater is 93 km in diameter and approximately 3.8 km deep. The rugged terrain seen here is a reminder of the magnificent desolation that is characteristic of our nearest neighbor in the solar system. This image was secured by Dr. Michael Joner using the 0.9-meter reflector operating at f/11 on site at the BYU West Mountain Observatory just after last quarter phase in early September 2018.


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6:07 AM

27 May, Monday

Memorial Day

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Recently Published Research

Trevor Stout, Alan Wall, Kent Gee, and Traci Neilsen recently published an article titled "Obtaining acoustic intensity from multisource statistically optimized near-field acoustical holography" in Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics. Click on the image above to read it.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Deep Field: Nebulae of Sagittarius : These three bright nebulae are often featured on telescopic tours of the constellation Sagittarius and the crowded starfields of the central Milky Way....

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

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