Texas Astronomers Discover Pulsations in Massive, Crystalized, White Dwarf Star
Ejected outer shell with a cooling white dwarf star at center [STScI]
McDonald Observatory Press Release
19 June 2013
Astronomers from The University of Texas at Austin and colleagues have used the 2.1-meter Otto Struve Telescope at the university's
McDonald Observatory to discover pulsations from the crystalized remnant of a burnt-out star. The finding will allow astronomers to
see below the star's atmosphere and into its interior, much like earthquakes allow geologists to study compositions below Earth's surface.
The findings appear in the current issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The Texas astronomers made their discovery in collaboration with astronomers from Brazil's Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul,
the University of Oklahoma, and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.
The star, GD 518, is roughly 170 light years from Earth in the constellation Draco, but far too faint to be seen without a telescope. It is a
white dwarf, a star at the end of its life cycle that is essentially just a burnt-out core, the ashy byproduct of previous epochs of nuclear
Successful Mirror Coatings Smooth Way for HET Upgrade
[Univ. of Arizona]
31 May 2013
The HETDEX project has passed an important milestone with the successful coating of the three largest mirrors in the wide-field corrector,
a system that will focus light from the Hobby-Eberly Telescope's primary mirror and direct it to the scientific instruments.
"The coating met all our specifications and it's very durable," says HETDEX principal investigator Gary Hill, the chief astronomer for
McDonald Observatory. "There was risk associated with that because we had to transport the mirrors and handle them, and if one of
them had broken, the project would have been derailed for several years."
The University of Arizona Optical Sciences Center is building the corrector, which consists of four mirrors.
HETDEX: Illuminating the Darkness
Professor Paul Shapiro Elected to Chair American Physical Society Division of Astrophysics
Prof. Paul Shapiro
9 May 2013
Paul R. Shapiro, the Frank N. Edmonds, Jr., Regents Professor in Astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin, has been elected to a
four-year term to the Chair line of the Division of Astrophysics of the American Physical Society. The American Physical Society (APS) is
the principal professional society in physics in North America. Its Division of Astrophysics represents more than 2,400 scientists working
in many fields of astrophysics and cosmology. APS division chairs are chosen through votes of all division members. Members elected to
the Chair line progress through the top offices in the division. Shapiro will serve as Vice Chair in 2013-2014, Chair-Elect in 2014-2015,
Chair in 2015-2016, and Chair Emeritus in 2016-2017.
American Physical Society
Texas House, Senate Honor McDonald Observatory for 75 Years of Excellence
Texas State Capitol Dome
McDonald Observatory Press Release
23 April 2013
Austin, TX --Today, the Texas House of Representatives and Senate will honor The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory
for 75 years of discovery. The observatory's 75th anniversary is coming up in May 2014. A proclamation sponsored by State Representative
Poncho Nevárez (District 74, which includes Jeff Davis and surrounding counties in west Texas) will be read in the House Chamber at
approximately 10 a.m. At approximately 11 a.m., a resolution sponsored by State Senator José Rodríguez of El Paso will be read in
the Senate Chamber. Representatives from the university will be on hand in both chambers to receive the proclamation and resolution.