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    Frequency comb spectroscopy in Yb

    What do precision laser metrology and broadband femtosecond lasers have to do with each other? Plenty! This marriage was the reason Ted Haensch and Jan Hall shared the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics. Part of that experiment has been reproduced at BYU, and it has been used to correct a serious spectroscopy error in atomic ytterbium. This work was published in Phys. Rev. A 94, 052511 (2016).

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    First Light of OPO Robotic Telescope #1

    The first robotic telescope has been installed on the observation deck of the Orson Pratt Observatory. The first images where taken through the telescope on May 21, 2017 during a daytime practice run. This image of the moon was taken through a narrow H-alpha filter.

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    First Light for the BYU 0.9-m Telescope

    This image was secured during the installation of the 0.9-m telescope at the BYU West Mountain Observatory. Data for this image is from August 27, 2009. This was the first night that a CCD detector had been mounted on the telescope so that imaging was possible. This 'First Light' image shows the globular cluster known as M15 in the constellation of Pegasus. The distance to this cluster is more than 33,000 light years and yet individual stars are easily resolved all through the cluster. Globular cluster stars have an extremely low abundance of heavy elements compared to stars found in the solar neighborhood and represent the oldest population of stars known in the Galaxy. Stars in M15 are known to have a heavy element abundance more than 100 times lower than the Sun. It is interesting to note the many cool red giant stars that are visible in the cluster as well as a large number of evolved horizontal branch stars that are blue in color. Many of the horizontal branch stars are known to be RR Lyrae variable stars that are useful as distance indicators since it is possible to determine their luminosity and compare that to their apparent magnitude measured from observed images. The color image processing for this picture is the work of renowned image processing expert, Dr. Rob Gendler.

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    Earth, Sun, and Venus

    The small black spot projected on the Sun just above the foreground clouds in Provo is caused by the planet Venus as it transits for the last time this century. The transits of Venus come in pairs separated by eight years that only occur after a period of 105 or 122 years without a transit visible from the Earth. If you missed this event, the next opportunity will be in December of 2117. Finding the transit of an Earth sized planet across a stellar photosphere was the primary mission of the Kepler spacecraft as it searched for extrasolar planets up through August 2013. The difficulty of this mission is apparent when you note the tiny fraction of the Sun's light that is blocked by the transit of a planet the size of Venus.

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    Defect-Free Superconductors

    solved. Unlike their hole-doped cousins, these crystals do not superconduct when newly grown, but only after a high-temperature treatment in a reducing environment. Using a combination of x-ray diffuse scattering and neutron powder diffraction techniques, their copper-oxide sheets were found to be initially riddled with copper-vacancy defects, which were then reversibly repaired during heat treatments.

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Recently Published Research

Denise Stephens et al. recently published an article titled "KELT-17b: A Hot-Jupiter Transiting an A-star in a Misaligned Orbit Detected with Doppler Tomography" in Astronomical Journal. Click on the image above to read it.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

The M81 Galaxy Group through the Integrated Flux Nebula : Distant galaxies and nearby nebulas highlight this deep image of the M81 Group of galaxies. First and foremost in this 80-exposure mosaic is the grand design spiral galaxy M81, the largest galaxy in the image, visible on the lower right....

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

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