On April 18, 2018 the NASA Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) was launched. TESS is on a two year survey mission that focuses on finding Earth-sized exoplanets. The TESS survey will examine about 85% of the total sky and include about 20 million stars. Among these targets will be a majority of the closest and brightest stars in the visible nighttime sky. TESS is expected to find thousands of planets that range from Earth size up to Gas Giants. To prepare for the launch of TESS, BYU astronomers have been developing robotic telescope facilities with a wide range of apertures to provide follow-up observations of the many new exoplanet candidates. Funding for these efforts was received from the Utah NASA Space Grant Consortium to develop five robotic telescope systems on the newly renovated observation deck of the Eyring Science Center. Photo by Michael Deep/Spaceflight Insider
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.
This demonstration illustrates the power of a wave focusing technique called time reversal acoustics. A vibration speaker and a laser Doppler vibrometer are used to knock over one targeted Lego figure among many placed on an aluminum plate. BYU researchers (Brian Anderson and students) use this technique to locate and characterize cracks in structures, to deliver private communications, and many other potential applications. Click the title link and watch a video of the demo.
Carbon Nanotubes, in addition to having high strength and electron mobility, are being used as frameworks to fabricate high aspect ratio 3-D structures on the microscale creating devices with extreme versatility in shape and construction materials. These structures are being used for applications ranging from brain-machine interfaces to environmental and medical sensors.
Carbon nanotube templated microfabrication (CNT-M) was used to create structured materials with control over length scales from 10 nm to over 100 microns. The electron micrographs shows control over three dimensional microscale features that is possible with CNT-M (as seen in top left image). Nanoscale porosity is also controlled (seen in top right image) and when coupled with microscale patterning results in the fabrication of structures (bottom left) for high performance chemical separations (bottom right).
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Darin Ragozzine and Keir Ashby et al. recently published an article titled "Occurrence Rates of Planets Orbiting FGK Stars: Combining Kepler DR25, Gaia DR2, and Bayesian Inference" in Astronomical Journal. Click on the image above to read it.
Gigantic Jet Lightning over India : Yes, but can your lightning bolt do this? While flying from Munich to Singapore earlier this month, an industrious passenger took images of a passing lightning storm and caught something unexpected: gigantic jet lightning. The jet was captured on a single 3.2-second exposure above Bhadrak, India....
This photograph and Description come from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day web site.