"McDonald has always been open to the public," Observatory
Director Frank Bash said. "Now were making it even
easier for folks to know what were doing here. Science
is a process that goes on every clear night of the year at
McDonald Observatory -- not just when major results are announced.
Now people can go to this site at any time and see what were
doing. I think its fantastic."
The address of the site is:
This week at the site, read about projects as diverse as looking
for planets around the burnt-out cores of dead stars (called
white dwarfs), to the study of black holes at the heart of
massive elliptical galaxies, to finding the birthplace of
stars in the disk of our Milky Way, to the mysteries of exploding
stars called supernovae. Last but not least, the site also
details this weeks upgrades to the telescopes and computer
systems maintenance vital to keep the Observatory running
at peak efficiency.
One of the goals of the project is to show that scientists
are people, too. To that end, the site includes brief interview-based
biographies of the astronomers, accompanied by pictures of
astronomers running in marathons, climbing mountains, Hungarian
dancing, and more.
The site includes explanations of The Hobby-Eberly Telescope,
The 2.7-meter Harlan J. Smith Telescope, The 2.1-meter Otto
Struve Telescope, and The 0.8-meter Telescope. And though
instruments are not as well known as the telescopes that use
them, telescopes would be useless without them. So the site
includes descriptions and pictures of the instruments used
on McDonalds telescopes, and explains why an astronomer
would choose one instrument over another to investigate a
particular problem. Spectrographs, photometers, polarimeters,
and more are explained.
The project is funded by a grant from the National Science
Foundations Math and Physical Sciences Internship in
Public Science Education program to Mary Kay Hemenway and
Sandra Preston. The program brings current science research
results to the public by promoting partnerships between the
research community and specialists in public science education.
It provides support for undergraduate and graduate students,
as well as elementary and secondary-school teachers, to work
in conjunction with research scientists and professionals
at science centers and museums.
back to front..