BYU Astronomy Research Group Joins the Astrophysical Research Consortium (ARC)

As of January 2021 BYU will be a member of the ARC Consortium (Link to Consortium) with access to the ARC 3.5-m telescope and the 0.5-m ARCSAT telescope.  The primary use of the ARC 3.5-m telescope time is for graduate student projects.  This provides a wide array of instrumentation that is currently being used to study objects in the solar system all the way to studies of the large scale structure of the Universe.

Other BYU Astronomy Facilities

In addition to our telescope time from the ARC consortium, we operate a number of our own astronomical facilities

West Mountain Observatory (West Mountain)

This is our mountain observatory at about 6600 ft above sea level.  This consists of three telescopes: 0.9-m, 0.5-m, and a 0.32-m. It is a 40 minute drive that ends in a 5 miles drive up a dirt road. The mountain itself can be seen from campus.

Orson Pratt Observatory

The Orson Pratt Observatory is named for an early apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  It is our campus telescope facility and contains a wide variety of telescopes for student research and public outreach. We operate a 24" PlaneWave telescope in the main campus dome, plus a 16", two 12", one 8", and a 6" telescope on our observation deck.  The telescopes are all fully robotic. Beyond this we have a large sections of public telescopes.

Royden G. Derrick Planetarium (Planetarium)

This is a 119 seat, 39" dome planetarium with acoustically treated walls to allow it's use as a lecture room. We will shortly upgrade to an E&S Digistar7 operating system with 4K projectors.  The planetarium is used for teaching classes, public outreach, and astronomy education research projects.

Selected Publications

BYU Authors: Eric G. Hintz and Jeremy N. Schoonmaker, published in Publ. Astron. Soc. Pac.
The delta Scuti variable V873 Herculis has previously been studied only once as a variable star, and with a small data set. However, its position in the amplitude range between the high-amplitude delta Scuti and the more common low-amplitude delta Scuti makes it an important target for more extensive studies. From 24 nights of photometric data, we determined a new period of 0.12716809 d. We also found a rich frequency spectrum from a multiple-frequency analysis with two dominant frequencies at 7.864 cycles d(-1) and 8.231 cycles d(-1). From three nights of spectroscopic observations, we found a rotational velocity of 44 km s(-1) and an average radial velocity of -34.4 km s(-1). We find V873 Her to be an ideal candidate for a multisite asteroseismology campaign.
BYU Authors: Tabitha C. Bush and Eric G. Hintz, published in Astron. J.
A calibration method is presented for the determination of projected rotational velocities of 118 delta Scuti variables from FWHM measurements of metal lines near 4500 angstrom. The calibration relation used was derived from measurements of 29 stars. Of the 44 stars brighter than 8th magnitude and north of - 1 degrees declination which did not have values in the Rodriguez catalog (Rodriguez, E., Lopez Gonzalez, M. J., & Lopez de Coca, P. 2000, A&AS, 144, 469) we present values for 38. In addition, we present new projected rotational velocity, v sin i, values for 10 stars south of - 1 degrees or fainter than 8th magnitude for a total of 48 v sin i values for stars with no previously published values.
BYU Authors: E G Hintz, published in J. Phys.: Conf. Ser.
The variability of the two γ Doradus star belong to Pleiades cluster, HD 22702 and HD 23585, have been confirmed by using new photometric measurements collected during a multisite campaign in 1998. Respect to previous observing runs, the frequency analysis shows new peaks close the 3 cd-1 for both stars. With the aim of performing a modal identification, the method based on amplitudes ratios and phase shifts with non-adiabatic time dependent convection (TDC) has been applied. The physical parameters obtained from the photometry put the star HD 23585 out the blue observational edge of the γ Dor region in the HR diagram. This behaviour together with the high value of vsini have not allowed us to perform an identification of the excited modes. Respect to the the star HD 22702, a preliminary study of stability provides results consistent with a l = 2 identification for the found oscillation frequencies except for f3, where a l = 1 mode is also probable. Also for this star, the TDC treatment has not been able to discrimante the found modes. Therefore, in addition to new vsini measurements, it is fundamental to carry out an exhaustive modelling by considering the pertinent corrections in the rotation.
BYU Authors: Daniel W. Graham and Eric Hintz, published in Apeiron