Exoplanet Atmospheres in High Resolution


Jayne L. Birkby

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

host: Daniel Jaffe

Tues., Feb. 9, 3:30 PM · RLM 15.216B

Full Schedule

Parent star of famous exoplanet Tau Boötis b [ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2]


Ninth Planet? Austin's Time Warner Cable Talks with Astronomer Steven Finkelstein

Astronomers at Caltech recently made headlines suggesting the possibility of a ninth planet in our solar system. While no planet has been detected directly, models attempting to explain the strange orbits of a group of comets in the Kuiper belt, are satisfied by an undiscovered planet, about the mass of Neptune, with a highly elliptical orbit and a 20,000 year day. Assistant Professor Steven Finkelstein sifts through the possibility with Burton Fitzsimmons.

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gmt mirror 4

Casting Complete for Giant Magellan Telescope Mirror Four

The casting crew at the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab at the University of Arizona has lifted the oven lid on the fourth GMT mirror to find a perfect casting. The innovative process heats 18 tons of glass to a temperature of 2,120°F in a spinning furnace with a honeycomb mold. The glass is cooled after four hours to 1,652°F, and then slowly over three months to room temperature to avoid strains in the mirror. The resulting parabolic shape, saves countless hours of polishing, and tons of glass. Photos of mirror four have been posted by the GMTO on Facebook (photo credit: Ray Bertram, Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab, University of Arizona):

Lifting the oven lid
Removing the oven walls

Project Manager of GALEX, Kepler, Keck Interferometer Appointed at Giant Magellan Telescope

Pasadena, CA — The Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO) announces the appointment of Dr. James Fanson as Project Manager. The GMTO conducted an international search to identify candidates for this position, and Dr. Fanson stood out in a field of accomplished project managers. Dr. Fanson has held multiple positions at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) since he joined the organization in 1986. He served as Project Manager for GALEX (Galaxy Evolution Explorer), Kepler, and the Keck Interferometer. In addition, he held key technical and managerial roles for the Spitzer Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide-Field Planetary Camera 2, and other missions. more..

gmt site

High School Senior Helps Discover Planet, Calculates Frequency of Jupiter-like Planets

AUSTIN — High school senior Dominick Rowan of Armonk, New York, is making discoveries about other worlds. Working with University of Texas at Austin astronomer Stefano Meschiari, Rowan has helped to find a Jupiter-like planet and has calculated that this type of planet is relatively rare, occurring in three percent of stars overall. They used an online version of software previously created by Meschiari, called "Systemic Live", that lets students visualize and manipulate real data from telescopes around the world, to try to find the signatures of extrasolar planets as-yet unknown. Their research has been accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal. more..

Frank N. Bash Visitor's Center

McDonald Observatory in West Texas welcomes the public with star parties, tours, exhibits, talks, special programs, and continuing education for teachers. Join us! in the beautiful Davis Mountains under some of the darkest skies in the continental United States.


The Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment will look back in time billions of years, and sample nearly one million galaxies, to map the expansion rate of the early universe. Learn more at

Giant Magellan Telescope

The University of Texas at Austin is a founding member of the consortium to build the world's largest ground based telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in La Serena, Chile. Construction is well under way. Learn more..

3 February 2016
Astronomy Program · The University of Texas at Austin
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