• Feature Image

    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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    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.

  • Feature Image

    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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    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.

  • Feature Image

    West Mountain, Moon, Venus, and Stars

    This image was secured just after the end of evening twilight on a clear April night from the West Mountain Observatory. The view is looking west past the domes housing the two smaller research telescopes at the observatory. The thin crescent Moon is also illuminated by reflected light from the Earth that is known as earthshine. Higher in the sky, the bright 'star' is actually the planet Venus. In between the two, the 'V' shaped group of stars in the constellation of Taurus is in reality the nearby open cluster known as the Hyades. Photo credit: Dr. Michael D. Joner


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Recently Published Research

Gus Hart et al. recently published an article titled "Accelerating high-throughput searches for new alloys with active learning of interatomic potentials" in Computational Materials Science. Click on the image above to read it.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

The Cave Nebula in Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Sulfur : What's inside this cosmic cave? A stellar nursery 10 light-years deep. The featured skyscape is dominated by dusty Sh2-155, the Cave Nebula. In the tel...

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

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