AAOSA-OSUM Telescope Observing Event

Join us for an Open House at Peach Mountain Observatory

Courtesy of

University Lowbrow Astronomers

When: Sunset, 8:00 pm, Saturday April 6, 2019, weather permitting. (Should April 6 be cancelled due to weather we will postpone the event to June 8.)

Where: Peach Mountain Observatory, Dexter, MI

About: The University Lowbrow Astronomers invite guests from the general public to attend their Open Houses, where you can view the stars, planets, and other celestial wonders through the club’s 24″ and club members’ telescopes. Peach Mountain is the home of the 24″ McMath Telescope and is part of Stinchfield Woods. Stinchfield Woods is owned by the University of Michigan and used by several university departments including the Astronomy Department and the School of Natural Resources and Environment.

Other Notes: Open houses begin at sunset. If conditions are unusually cold or if it is cloudy, the open house may be canceled. If in doubt, call (734) 975-3248 after 4 PM the day of the event to determine the status. Closing time is season dependent: 11:00 PM in winter, later for the rest of the year.

Peach Mountain often gets quite cold, dress warmly.
There are no restrooms at the observatory site.

There is no admission charge or parking fee. See the attached PDF or this webpage for maps and more information.


AAOSA/OSUM Seminar: All-Fiber-Integrated Super-Continuum Sources with high Power in the Visible and Infrared Wavelengths from 0.47 to 12 um

Prof. Mohammed Islam
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Light refreshment will be provided

Tuesday January 29, 2019
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

FXB 1008, Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Building (Aerospace Building), 1320 Beal Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, Ann Arbor, MI


All-fiber integrated super-continuum (SC) sources are described based on a platform architecture that can operate in the visible, near-infrared, short-wave infrared, mid-wave infrared and long-wave infrared, with demonstrated SC wavelengths ranging from 0.47 to 12 microns. Modulation instability initiated SC generation leads to a simple SC source with no moving parts and that uses off-the-shelf components from the mature telecommunications and fiber optics industry. The resulting light sources are basically a cascade of fibers pumped by fiber-pigtailed laser diodes and some drive and control electronics; thus, the SC sources have the potential to be cost-effective, compact and reliable. Starting from fused silica fibers, the SC spectrum can be extended to shorter or longer wavelengths by cascading fibers with appropriate dispersion and/or transparency. As one example, we demonstrate a long-wave infrared SC source that generates a continuous spectrum from 1.57 to 12 microns using a fiber cascade comprising fused silica fiber followed by ZBLAN fluoride fiber followed by sulfide fiber and, finally, a high-numerical-aperture selenide fiber. The time-averaged output power is 417 mW at 33% duty cycle, and we observe a near-diffraction-limit, single spatial-mode beam across the entire spectral range. A prototype is described that is based on a three-layer architecture with a form factor of 16.7”x10”x5.7” and that plugs into a standard wall plug. This SC prototype has been used in a number of field tests as the active illuminator for stand-off FTIR system over distances of 5 to 25m, thus enabling identification of targets or samples based on their chemical signature.


AAOSA/OSUM Seminar: Using Relativistic Intensity Laser Pulses to Generate Huge Magnetic Fields and a Magnetic Reconnection Geometry

Prof. Louise Willingale 
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Light refreshment will be provided

Thursday December 6, 2018
4:10 pm – 5:10 pm

Room 340 West Hall, 1085 S University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI

Abstract: The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics technique of chirped pulse amplification (CPA) can be used to produce light pulses that can be focused to intensities where the electric field oscillates electrons at relativistic velocities. The currents due to the relativistic electrons can generate huge, dynamic fields within a laboratory plasma. Plasma dynamics in astrophysical plasmas are strongly impacted by magnetic field topology. However, direct measurements of the outer space plasma conditions and fields are challenging, so laboratory studies of magnetic dynamics and reconnection provide an important platform for testing theories and characterizing different regimes. The extremely energetic class of astrophysical phenomena – including high-energy pulsar winds, gamma ray bursts, and jets from galactic nuclei – have plasma conditions where the energy density of the magnetic fields exceeds the rest mass energy density (σcold = B2/(μ0nemec2) > 1, the cold magnetization parameter). I will show experimental measurements, along with numerical modeling, of short-pulse, high-intensity laser-plasma interactions that produce extremely strong magnetic fields (>100 T) in a plasma such that σcold > 1. The generation and the dynamics of these magnetic fields under different target conditions was studied, and relativistic intensity laser-driven, magnetic reconnection experiments were performed. I’ll describe how X-ray imaging allows the observation of the fast electron dynamics. Evidence of magnetic reconnection was identified by the plasma’s X-ray emission patterns, changes to the electron spectrum, and by measuring the reconnection timescales.

Joint AAOSA/OSUM Social and Networking

Join us for a networking and social evening.

We will celebrate the wonderful news that the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded to Professors Gerard Mourou, Donna Strickland and Arthur Ashkin.

Light refreshment will be provided

Date: Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Time: 6p.m.- 8:00 p.m.

Location:    Bar Louie

 401 E Liberty, Ann Arbor, MI, 48104

AAOSA/OSUM Seminar: “Between Sky and Screen”

Roland GrafAssociate Professor
Stamps School of Art & Design

Tuesday November 14, 2017, 6:30 p.m.

Location of Seminar: Room 1123 Lurie Biomedical Engineering Building (LBME), 1101 Beal Ave., Ann Arbor, MI


Using the ground as an interface or daylight as a medium, Roland Graf develops experimental interfaces that inspire new modes of thinking about space, technology, and human interaction. Graf will present examples of his creative research that results in patents, exhibitions or award-winning urban interventions such as the interactive sidewalk Bump (Prix Ars Electronica Distinction 2001) that tangibly connects two distant public spaces in real time or the solar-powered street video game Solar Pink Pong (Excellence Award at the Japan Media Arts Festival 2016). Graf creates much of his work through the artist collective Assocreation and in collaboration with scientists and engineers at the University of Michigan, where he holds a position as an Associate Professor at the Stamps School
of Art & Design.


AAOSA/OSUM Seminar: “Frontiers in Eye Laser Therapies”

Yannis M. Paulus, MD
W. K. Kellogg Eye Center

Tuesday October 10th, 6:30 p.m.

Location of Seminar: Room 1123 Lurie Biomedical Engineering Building (LBME), 1101 BEAL AVE, Ann Arbor, MI

In 1961, one year after the first laser was developed, laser therapy of the eye was described. For over 55 years, laser therapies have played a critical role in the treatment of numerous eye diseases, including proliferative diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, retinal vein occlusions, sickle cell retinopathy, tumors, retinal tears, glaucoma, and secondary capsule opacification cataracts. Significant advances have been made in laser technology and the molecular understanding of laser–tissue interactions to maximize the therapeutic effect while minimizing side-effects. We will discuss conventional panretinal photocoagulation and focal laser therapy in addition to new and emerging technologies, including: patterned scanning laser, selective retinal therapy, subthreshold micropulse laser, nanosecond pulse duration laser, photo-mediated ultrasound therapy, navigated laser, and real-time image-guided laser therapy. Selective and shorter pulse duration therapy can significantly reduce the collateral damage, patient pain, and complication risk while increasing the therapeutic effect and safety window. Continuing innovations in laser technology and progress in understanding laser-tissue interactions mean that lasers will continue to play a critical role in treating eye diseases for many years to come.

AAOSA/OSUM Seminar: “Compton Composites – A New (and mostly hidden) State of Matter”

Thursday September 14, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.

Frederick J. Mayer, Ph.D.
Mayer Applied Research, Inc.

Location of Seminar: 1123 Lurie Biomedical Engineering Building (LBME), 1101 BEAL AVE, Ann Arbor, MI

Over the past few decades, paradoxes have arisen that suggested we have missed configurations of otherwise basic particles (electrons and protons) that are different from, but in some ways similar to, ordinary atoms. I will discuss how this question started the search that evolved into an understanding of such a configuration at the electron Compton wavelength scale and why it has mostly been “hidden” from observations. The new Compton composites connect a number of research areas including cosmology, the solar corona, and geophysics.

Frederick J. Mayer [Ph.D. Physics, Case Western Reserve University 1968] is currently president of Mayer Applied Research, Inc., where he provides research and consulting in plasma physics, laser and magnetic fusion, and materials science. He was a senior research associate at Case Western Reserve 1968-1971 and director of advanced research and primary scientist at KMSFusion, Inc. 1971-1988. Dr. Mayer is a fellow of the American Physical Society, a holder of several laser-related patents, and author of more than 60 peer-reviewed technical papers.