Assistant professor of physics Steve Penn was quoted in a story in the Thursday, Nov. 8 edition of the Canandaigua Daily Messenger, dealing with a comet that can be seen with the naked eye.
That comet, called 17P/Holmes, was initially reported in November 1892, then again in 1899 and 1906, and not again until 1964. Since then, it has become visible about every seven years. On Oct. 23 and 24, it showed up much more bright than it was before Oct. 23. The reason for the increased brightness — and how long it will last — are thus far unknown.
Penn, a member of the faculty since 2002, holds a bachelor's and his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has received grants from the National Science Foundation to fund the development of advanced instrumentation and detector characterization for Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave observatories (LIGOs). Located in Livingston, La., and Hanford, Wash., the observatories measure miniscule distortions in space-time.