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    Details of the Dumbbell Nebula

    This composite image of the Dumbbell Nebula (known by catalog designations such as M27 or NGC 6853), located in the northern summer constellation of Vulpecula, presents a remarkably detailed view of the planetary nebula that was first discovered by Charles Messier in 1764. The complex shells of gas that are observed in planetary nebulae are in fact the remnants of material lost by an aging star that has collapsed to form a white dwarf. In the case of the Dumbbell Nebula, the expansion rate of the material surrounding the central star indicates that the main portion of the nebulosity is only three or four thousand years old. Noted astrophysical image processor Dr. Robert Gendler has combined image data from the 2.4-meter Hubble Space Telescope, the 8.2-meter Subaru Telescope located near the summit of Mauna Kea on the island of Hawai’i, and the 0.9-meter Brigham Young University Telescope at the West Mountain Observatory in Utah to produce a rich and finely detailed image of this well known object. The data from the Hubble Space Telescope provide the small scale detail in the central portions of the nebula. The Subaru Telescope data add to the overall fine detail that is resolved in the nebula. The data from the wide field 0.9-meter Brigham Young University Telescope were secured in the summer of 2010 by BYU astronomers Dr. Michael D. Joner and Dr. C. David Laney. The BYU images provide the majority of the color information and faint details in the outer shells of the nebulosity that were used in the assembly of this intricately detailed image.

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    At the Edge of NGC 891

    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

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    A Twisting Jet from a Galaxy Nucleus

    The galaxy CTA 102 is famous for having an energetic jet blasting ionized hydrogen into space. The jet originates from material accreting around a supermassive black hole. Being very distant, this jet appears as a point in the sky. It has never been imaged by any telescope and probably never will be. To understand its structure, astronomers world-wide monitor the brightness of this point to see if it changes in accordance with models. At the end of 2016, CTA 102 became 100 times brighter, furnishing copious data to use in testing these models. In a paper accepted for publication in the journal Nature, it is asserted that this jet snakes outward in a twisting motion that causes it to brighten and dim in a semi-regular manner. The picture above shows the jet model with the brightness data from 2015 to 2017. J. Moody contributed to this research.

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    8:1 structures in unexpected places

    The picture above depicts an crystal structure first observed in Pt-Ti in the 1950s. The structure has an unusual stoichiometry of 8:1 and has only been observed in materials that are rich in platinum, palladium, or nickel. If this structure forms in these materials and can significantly increase their strength. By a tour de force approach using BYU's supercomputer, we predict that this phase will be stable in 36 previously unsuspected systems.

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    174th Acoustical Society of America

    Seven students, one postdoc, and four faculty attended the 174th Meeting of the ASA in New Orleans, LA from Dec. 4-8, 2017, including chairing 4 sessions and presenting 12 talks.


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Recently Published Research

Mike Joner et al. recently published an article titled "Stability of the Broad-line Region Geometry and Dynamics in Arp 151 Over Seven Years" in Astrophysical Journal. Click on the image above to read it.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Galaxies Away: This stunning group of galaxies is far, far away, about 450 million light-years from planet Earth and cataloged as galaxy cluster Abell S0740. Dominate...

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

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