Revolutionary IGRINS enters engineering runs
McDonald Observatory's newest instrument, the Immersion Grating Infrared Spectrograph (IGRINS), began engineering runs in March. It will increase the spectral range, the range of instantaneous collectable wavelengths, 30x over the premier CRyogenic high-resolution InfraRed Echelle Spectrograph (CRIRES) at the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT). IGRINS will have the ability to better penetrate dust obscured regions where stars and planets form, and will be used to find and characterize extrasolar planets. IGRINS will be available to observers as a PI instrument in Fall 2014.
West Texas Energy Boom A Threat to Astronomy
A glow over the northern horizon at McDonald Observatory near Ft. Davis, Texas. The light is generated by round-the-clock oil and gas operations in the Permian Basin.
Read more at Fronteras
UT Game Changers: Karl Gebhardt, Black Holes and Dark Energy
In this excerpt from LHN Game Changers, University of Texas astrophysics professor Karl Gebhardt addresses some big issues in his work..
Assembly and alignment of VIRUS spectrographs
The Hobby-Eberly Telescope in West Texas, is clearing room for the pending arrival of the first of 150 VIRUS spectrographs, undergoing assembly and alignment in Austin. Top left: units house optics and electronics in a vacuum. Top right: completed and aligned VIRUS pairs begin to fill a rack. Bottom right: optical fiber feeds the pairs during alignment, as mirrors and electronics are calibrated. Alignment alone requires about two days per pair. Bottom left: Trent Peterson and undergraduate Ingrid Johnson describe the demanding assembly. Learn more at HET Blog and HETDEX: Illuminating the Darkness.
Dr. Robert C. Kennicutt, Jr.
Public Lecture: The Hidden Universe Revealed
10 February 2014
Dr. Robert C. Kennicutt, Jr., Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, will deliver the public lecture, "The Hidden Universe Revealed," Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 4:00 PM, in CPE 2.208 on The University of Texas at Austin campus. Dr. Kennicutt will discuss completely new classes of objects and phenomenon revealed by international space telescopes observing in the infrared and terahertz, regions of the electromagnetic spectrum previously hidden from telescopes. Dr. Kennicutt is the 17th recipient of the Antoinette de Vaucouleurs Memorial Lectureship, recognizing a lifetime of outstanding contribution to Astronomy.
Afraid of Losing the Dark
9 January 2014
The McDonald Observatory, celebrating its seventy-fifth anniversary this year, forges ahead with groundbreaking research and crusades to keep the night skies of West Texas pristine and unadulterated.
Public Lecture: Truth and Beauty in Astronomy Visualization
10 February 2014
Astrophysicist Dr. Frank Summers, from the Space Telescope Science Institute, will present the public lecture "Truth and Beauty in Astronomy Visualization", Thursday, March 6, 2014 from 7-8:00 PM, in ECJ 1.202. The talk will showcase compelling visuals and describe techniques used in creating sequences for schools, the press, planetariums, and IMAX films.
Presentation of the 2014 Antoinette de Vaucouleurs
Lectureship and Medal
Dr. Robert Kennicutt, Jr., Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, receives the Antoinette de Vaucouleurs Lectureship and Medal from Department of Astronomy Chair Dan Jaffe, recognizing a lifetime of outstanding contribution to Astronomy.