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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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    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.

Calendar

23 Feb, Today

Sunset
6:12 PM

24 Feb, Sunday

Sunrise
7:10 AM

25 Feb, Monday

Colloquium: Simon Billinge
4:00 PM

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Recently Published Research

Mike Joner, Tabitha Buehler, and Clifton Laney et al. recently published an article titled "The Lick AGN Monitoring Project 2011: Photometric Light Curves" in Astrophysical Journal. Click on the image above to read it.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

The Stars of the Triangulum Galaxy: Like grains of sand on a cosmic beach, stars of the Triangulum Galaxy are resolved in this sharp mosaic from the Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS)....

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

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