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Yes, but have you ever experienced the Eagle Nebula with your ears ? The famous nebula, M16, is best known for the feast it gives your eyes, highlighting bright young stars forming deep inside dark towering structures. These light-years long columns of cold gas and dust are some 6,500 light-years distant toward the constellation of the Serpent (Serpens). Sculpted and eroded by the energetic ultraviolet light and powerful winds from M16's cluster of massive stars, the cosmic pillars themselves are destined for destruction. But the turbulent environment of star formation within M16, whose spectacular details are captured in this combined Hubble (visible) and Chandra (X-ray) image, is likely similar to the environment that formed our own Sun. In the featured video, listen for stars and dust sounding off as the line of sonification moves left to right, with vertical position determining pitch.
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The BYU Department of Physics and Astronomy invites applications for two faculty positions to begin August 2021. The application deadline is October 15, 2020.
New state-of-the-art 23 inch telescope making access to the night sky a dream come true
New self-enclosed mill to enhance machining capabilities

Selected Publications

BYU Authors: Manuel Berrondo, published in J. Math. Phys.

We present an interpretation of the functions appearing in the Wei–Norman factorization of the evolution operator for a Hamiltonian belonging to the SU(1,1) algebra in terms of the classical solutions of the Generalized Caldirola–Kanai (GCK) oscillator (with time-dependent mass and frequency). Choosing P2, X2, and the dilation operator as a basis for the Lie algebra, we obtain that, out of the six possible orderings for the Wei–Norman factorization of the evolution operator for the GCK Hamiltonian, three of them can be expressed in terms of its classical solutions and the other three involve the classical solutions associated with a mirror Hamiltonian obtained by inverting the mass. In addition, we generalize the Wei–Norman procedure to compute the factorization of other operators, such as a generalized Fresnel transform and the Arnold transform (and its generalizations), obtaining also in these cases a semiclassical interpretation for the functions in the exponents of the Wei–Norman factorization. The singularities of the functions appearing in the Wei–Norman factorization are related to the caustic points of Morse theory, and the expression of the evolution operator at the caustics is obtained using a limiting procedure, where the Fourier transform of the initial state appears along with the Guoy phase.

BYU Authors: Michael D. Joner and Denise C. Stephens, published in Astron. J.

We present the discoveries of KELT-25 b (TIC 65412605, TOI-626.01) and KELT-26 b (TIC 160708862, TOI-1337.01), two transiting companions orbiting relatively bright, early A stars. The transit signals were initially detected by the KELT survey and subsequently confirmed by Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) photometry. KELT-25 b is on a 4.40 day orbit around the V = 9.66 star CD-24 5016 (Teff = 8280 K, M⋆ = 2.18 M⊙), while KELT-26 b is on a 3.34 day orbit around the V = 9.95 star HD 134004 (Teff = 8640, K, M⋆ = 1.93 M⊙), which is likely an Am star. We have confirmed the substellar nature of both companions through detailed characterization of each system using ground-based and TESS photometry, radial velocity measurements, Doppler tomography, and high-resolution imaging. For KELT-25, we determine a companion radius of RP = 1.64 RJ and a 3σ upper limit on the companion’s mass of ∼64 MJ. For KELT-26 b, we infer a planetary mass and radius of MP = 1.41 MJ  and RP = 1.94 RJ. From Doppler tomographic observations, we find KELT-26 b to reside in a highly misaligned orbit. This conclusion is weakly corroborated by a subtle asymmetry in the transit light curve from the TESS data. KELT-25 b appears to be in a well-aligned, prograde orbit, and the system is likely a member of the cluster Theia 449.

BYU Authors: Richard L. Sandberg, published in J. Synchrot. Radiat.

Measurement modalities in Bragg coherent diffraction imaging (BCDI) rely on finding a signal from a single nanoscale crystal object which satisfies the Bragg condition among a large number of arbitrarily oriented nanocrystals. However, even when the signal from a single Bragg reflection with (hkl) Miller indices is found, the crystallographic axes on the retrieved three-dimensional (3D) image of the crystal remain unknown, and thus localizing in reciprocal space other Bragg reflections becomes time-consuming or requires good knowledge of the orientation of the crystal. Here, the commissioning of a movable double-bounce Si (111) monochromator at the 34-ID-C endstation of the Advanced Photon Source is reported, which aims at delivering multi-reflection BCDI as a standard tool in a single beamline instrument. The new instrument enables, through rapid switching from monochromatic to broadband (pink) beam, the use of Laue diffraction to determine crystal orientation. With a proper orientation matrix determined for the lattice, one can measure coherent diffraction patterns near multiple Bragg peaks, thus providing sufficient information to image the full strain tensor in 3D. The design, concept of operation, the developed procedures for indexing Laue patterns, and automated measuring of Bragg coherent diffraction data from multiple reflections of the same nanocrystal are discussed.