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SBU makes the cover of American Journal of Physics  

Education is an important mission of the Stony Brook University. The Astronomy Group at Stony Brook has developed a Michelson-type stellar interferometer for education and is now offering this new lab experiment in the undergraduate and graduate astronomy laboratory courses. Students measure the diameter of the Sun using this radio interferometer in front of the Physics building. This new development is published in the American Journal of Physics and featured on its cover page.

Michelson interferometry is a technique with broad applications in both Physics and Astronomy and has recently been used for the detection of gravitational waves. Michelson stellar interferometer is an application of the same physical concept and is used to date, to directly measure stellar diameters. The Sun is a marginally resolved source for our home-built radio telescope when viewed in single-dish mode, but is well resolved when observed interferometrically. Students compare an intensity scan of the Sun to that of a known point source (a geostationary TV satellite) in single-dish mode and infer the Sun's angular diameter. Then repeat the experiment with the interferometer, recording the Sun's and the satellite's visibility amplitudes as a function of baseline for several different interferometer baselines. The interferometric measurements yield a much more accurate solar diameter.

See more here.


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