Astronomy Program News & Events

see also: McDonald Observatory press room / archive

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College of Natural Sciences Recognizes Three Astronomy Undergraduates with Research Awards

2 December 2005

Three Department of Astronomy Undergraduates have applied and won awards from the College of Natural Sciences Undergraduate Research Program. Liz Hill-Aiello, Ashley Davis and Allen Kyle Lake each have received funding to support projects on different aspects of the evolution of galaxies and black holes. They will work under the direction of Professors Shardha Jogee and Greg Shields. Their projects involve radio, optical, and X-ray data from ground-base telescopes and the space-based Hubble Space Telescope.

Public Lecture: The Spitzer Space Telescope and Young Jupiter-Mass Objects

28 November 2005

In the public imagination, Hubble Space Telescope often overshadows NASA's other space based observatories. The Spitzer Space Telescope has opened a window on star forming regions previously unavailable to astronomers. Among the tantalizing prizes: discovering exactly how stars are born. Katelyn Allers will deliver a public talk based on her PhD Thesis, "The Spitzer Space Telescope and Young Jupiter-Mass Objects," Friday, December 2, at 5:15 PM, in RLM 15.216B.

New Awards Available to Undergraduate Astronomy Students

1 November 2005

Four new categories of awards have been established for undergraduate majors in Astronomy. The new funds will offset travel expenses for undergraduates conducting research, reward the most outstanding High School applicant to the program, and recognize undergraduate excellence in research. The new opportunities supplement existing awards available to 3rd, 4th and final year students. Students are encouraged to apply online, or by contacting Stephanie Crouch in RLM 15.202AA.

First Giant Magellan Telescope Mirror Casting is 'Perfect'

University of Arizona Press Release

27 October 2005

The University of Arizona Steward Observatory Mirror Lab's casting of the first mirror for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) "appears to be essentially perfect," UA Steward Observatory director Peter Strittmatter said after astronomers got their first look at the glass last Friday. "We're very happy to see this one come out looking so gorgeous," Mirror Lab Technical Director J. Roger Angel said. "We'll see more once the mold is removed, but so far, looking through the front surface, it looks great."

Frank N. Bash Symposium 2005: New Horizons in Astronomy

18 October 2005

The Astronomy Program at the University of Texas hosts the first biennial symposium in honor of former McDonald Observatory Director, Professor Frank Bash, on the topic New Horizons in Astronomy. The symposium features excellent young researchers working on frontier topics in astronomy and astrophysics. Topics include cosmology, black holes, galactic evolution, chemical evolution and abundances, star formation and the formation of planetary systems.

Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) to be Inaugurated November 10

15 August 2005

The southern 'twin' of the HET, The Southern African Large Telescope, has a completed primary mirror, and is scheduled for inauguration November 10, 2005. SALT and the HET share a unique and exceptionally frugal design. Stationary in elevation angle, their enormous primary mirrors (11m) channel light not to an eyepiece, but to instruments, and light fiber for spectroscopy, high above the expanse of glass where 91 mirrors come to a focus. Construction of SALT began in 2000. Installation of the mirror segments began in December 2003. SALT will feature improvements in optical design over the HET as well as technical advances in instrumentation.

Falcon, Irwin, Vicenek, Ramirez Win Astronomy Department Awards for '04-'05

3 June 2005

Three undergraduates and one graduate student have won awards from the Department of Astronomy for 2004-2005. Ross Falcon was awarded the Karl G. Henize Memorial Scholarship, Sierra Irwin the Board of Visitors Undergraduate Scholarship, and Chad Vicenek the Outstanding Senior Award. This year, all three awards carried a $500 prize. In a strong field, Ivan Ramirez won the Board of Visitors Outstanding Second Year Research Defense, for "Oxygen Abundances in Nearby Disk Stars." Advisors to Ramirez are Carlos Allende Prieto and David Lambert.

Astronomy Ceremony Honors Five Undergraduate Degree Recipients

16 May 2005

Five undergraduates were honored Friday, May 5 at a Department of Astronomy graduation ceremony. Two will receive the Bachelor of Arts, and three the Bachelor of Science in Astronomy. The graduates are Christian Iverson Johnson, Karen Leigh Menezes, Diana Elizabeth Smith, Chad Joseph Vicenik and Jocelly Marie Guie Wong. Astronomy faculty and students comprised a string quartet for the program, which included a recitation in Latin, and remarks from Chair Don Winget, Undergraduate Advisor Karl Gebhardt, Undergraduate Studies Chair Greg Shields and Observatory Director David Lambert.

Knez, Sterling, Alvarez Win Astronomy Department Awards for '05-'06

7 May 2005

Claudia Knez, Nick Sterling and Marcelo Alvarez have won graduate awards from the Astronomy Department for 2005-2006. Knez's Goetting Scholarship, which recognizes outstanding service, is awarded for minority and outreach efforts. Sterling receives the Benfield Scholarship, in recognition of quality research by a senior student. Alvarez is awarded the Edmonds Fellowship, for excellence in research.

Lunar Laser Ranging Confirms Galileo, Newton, Einstein

JPL/NASA Press Release

7 March 2005

Thirty-five years after Moon-walking astronauts placed special reflectors on the lunar surface, scientists have used these devices to test Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity to unprecedented accuracy. The findings, which also confirm theories from Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton, may help to explain physical laws of the universe and benefit future space missions.

Ninth Tex-Mex Conference on Astrophysics to be held in San Antonio, April 13-16

7 March 2005

The Ninth Texas-Mexico Conference on Astrophysics will be held at Trinity University in San Antonio, April 13-16. The meeting will bring together professional astronomers, astrophysicists and interested students from institutions in the Texas-Mexico region to discuss forefront topics of astrophysics. Trinity hosts Tex-Mex in conjunction with The Instituto de Astronomia at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, The University of Texas at Austin and Rice University.

Public Lecture: A New Century of Astronomy

26 January 2005

Dr. Wendy Freedman, Director of the Carnegie Observatories, will present the public lecture "A New Century of Astronomy," Saturday, February 5, 2005, at 1:00 PM, in ACES 2.302. Prof. Freedman will describe plans to build the Giant Magellan Telescope, a project in which the University of Texas will participate. The Great Lectures in Astronomy series is sponsored by the Department of Astronomy and McDonald Observatory Board of Visitors.