Astronomy Program News & Events
27 July 2006
The first Texas Cosmology Network Meeting will be held September 14-15, in the Eastwoods Room (2.102) at the Texas Union. (map) The meeting will bring together first-rank active cosmologists from the universities within Texas to discuss important topics and future directions in Cosmology, such as the Dark Energy problem. To stimulate frequent interaction between Texan cosmologists, the event will also establish the Texas Cosmology Network. The meeting is organized by the departments of Astronomy and Physics.
The Houston Chronicle
2 July 2006
College Station, TX --For years, the Becker sisters shared their physics research in string theory, but not an address. Melanie worked at the University of Maryland while Katrin toiled at the University of Utah. They expected to spend their careers separated by states. And then Texas A&M University offered the up-and-coming scholars something no other place had: each other. The school wanted the Beckers for an emerging institute specializing in their branch of physics.
University of New Mexico Press Release
21 May 2006
Albuquerque, NM --Astronomers at the University of New Mexico are developing an exciting new telescope with capabilities that are unrivaled in astronomy circles. The CCD/Transit Instrument with Innovative Instrumentation, or CTI-II, is a special-purpose telescope where accuracy and precision are the key components allowing for unprecedented research opportunities. The ground-based telescope does not move to survey the sky, a feature that allows for more precise measurements of brightness and position.
30 May 2006
Graduate Astronomy students Beth Fernandez and Robert Quimby have won, respectively, a Continuing University Fellowship and a University Tuition Fellowship for 2006-2007. Having been previously awarded the William S. Livingston Graduate Fellowship, Lucas Cieza will instead receive the Donald D. Harrington Fellowship, among the most prestigious fellowships available to graduate students at the University of Texas. Lucas is also the recipient of the 2006 William S. Livingston Outstanding Graduate Student Academic Employee Award.
Boston University Press Release
18 May 2006
Boston, MA --An international team of professional and amateur astronomers, using simple off-the-shelf equipment to trawl the skies for planets outside our solar system, has hauled in its first "catch." The astronomers discovered a Jupiter-sized planet orbiting a Sun-like star 600 light-years from Earth in the constellation Corona Borealis.
National Radio Astronomy Observatory Press Release
2 May 2006
Socorro, NM --Astronomers using the National Science Foundation's Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) radio telescope have found the closest pair of supermassive black holes ever discovered in the Universe -- a duo of monsters that together are more than 150 million times more massive than the Sun and closer together than the Earth and the bright star Vega. "These two giant black holes are only about 24 light-years apart, and that's more than 100 times closer than any pair found before," said Cristina Rodriguez, of the University of New Mexico (UNM) and Simon Bolivar University in Venezuela.
2 May 2006
The Undergraduate Studies Executive Committee has announced the winners of four Department of Astronomy Awards. The Karl G. Henize endowed scholarship, for excellent academic performance, goes to Kyle Penner. For excellent overall performance, the Board of Visitors (BoV) scholarship is awarded to Chad Gardner. The Outstanding Senior Award, recognizing outstanding overall performance, is awarded to Justin Lowrey. The Astronomy Freshman Prize for Excellence is awarded to Douglas Steimle.
26 April 2006
The Department of Physics holds the second lecture in the Modern Development of Physics Lecture Series Friday, April 28 at 7:30 PM at the Joe C. Thompson Conference Center, Room 1.110 (map). Professor Harry Swinney, Sid W. Richardson Foundation Regents Chair in Physics, will deliver the talk, "Emergence of Order in Physical, Chemical, and Biological Systems". Professor Sweeney will discuss how recognizable patterns in nature, though formed in vastly different systems, can sometimes be understood from a common approach. The lecture is free and open to the public.
13 April 2006
Four Astronomy Undergraduates recently presented research at the College of Natural Sciences Undergraduate Research Forum 2006. Liz Hill-Aiello, Ashley Davis, Ross Falcon and Kyle Penner found opportunities with Astronomy Department researchers studying black holes, galaxy mergers and the local interstellar medium. Undergraduate students are encouraged to explore the opportunites and funding still available.
8 February 2006
Prof. Steven Weinberg will deliver the first public talk of the Modern Development of Physics Lecture Series, "Much Ado About Nothing--How the Energy of Empty Space Became a Central Concern of Today's Physics and Cosmology," Wednesday, February 15, at 7:30 PM, in Room 1.110 of the Joe C. Thompson Conference Center (map). Albert Einstein wrote five articles in 1905 that are the cornerstone of modern physics. To recognize the centennial of Einstein's productive year, the United Nations designated 2005 "The World Year of Physics".
30 January 2006
Prof. Pawan Kumar will present the public lecture "The Unraveling of Powerful Cosmic Explosions," Saturday, February 4, 2006, at 1:00 PM, in ACES 2.302. Prof. Kumar will discuss recent observations of Gamma-ray Bursts, astoundingly powerful, and until just recently, mysterious explosions that are detected on a daily basis, randomly throughout the sky. The public talk is part of the Great Lectures in Astronomy series, sponsored by the Department of Astronomy and McDonald Observatory Board of Visitors.
Penn State Press Release
26 January 2006
A team of scientists, including two Penn State astronomers, have used an innovative new technique to discover a Jupiter-sized planet orbiting a nearby star. The planet initially was detected using an instrument called the Exoplanet Tracker (ET) and may herald an era where the searches for such planets will become much more efficient. The discovery was announced at the recent meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C.