Astronomy Program News & Events

see also: McDonald Observatory press room / archive

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Quasar Girl

Texas Science

16 August 2010

The earliest documentary evidence of Krista Smith's love affair with the cosmos is a crayon drawing from third grade. Smith and her classmates were given a blank piece of paper and told by their teacher to draw themselves as they imagined they would be in thirty years. She drew a stick figure girl standing at a giant telescope under a field of green and red stars. "I've known my whole life I wanted to do astronomy," says Smith, who will graduate in December with a degree in astronomy.

Athena Stacy, Guillermo Blanc, and Josh Adams Receive Continuing Fellowships for 2010-2011

26 May 2010

Athena Stacy has been awarded the Bruton Fellowship for 2010-2011. The award is based on major accomplishments since entering graduate school, a well defined program of research, a strong personal statement, and strong recommendations. Guillermo Blanc will be a Graduate School Continuing Fellow, one of the highest honors awarded to a graduate student at the University of Texas. Josh Adams has received the graduate school's highest award for continuing students, the Harrington Fellowship.

Irina Marinova, Jeremy Murphy, and Manos Chatzopoulos Win Graduate Awards

13 May 2010

The Fred T. Goetting, Jr. Memorial Endowed Presidential Scholarship, awarded each year in recognition of outstanding service to the department, or for outstanding teaching service, is given jointly for 2010 to Irina Marinova and Jeremy Murphy. In support of outstanding research, the Frank N. Edmonds, Jr. Memorial Fellowship in Astronomy is awarded this year to Manos Chatzopoulos. Graduate departmental award recipients are selected annually by the Graduate Studies Executive Committee.

Staff Appreciation: Public Outreach and Education Support with Lara Eakins

12 May 2010

The University of Texas recognizes Astronomy's Lara Eakins during Staff Appreciation Week.


Searching the stars with
Lara Eakins

by Christina Murrey

Jennifer Ellis, George Miller, Aditi Raye Allen and Rex Lundgren Win 2010 Undergraduate Awards

30 April 2010

For excellence in academics, Jennifer Ellis and George Miller have won the Karl G. Henize award. For excellent overall performance, Aditi Raye Allen has won the Board of Visitors Scholarship. For outstanding overall performance in grades, research and service, Rex Lundgren has won the Outstanding Senior Award for 2010. Recognition of excellence among astronomy undergraduate majors is determined annually by ballot, following a call for nominations, and is governed by the Undergraduate Studies Executive Committee.

The First Stars and Galaxies: Challenges for the Next Decade to be Held March 8-11

first stars and galaxies

4 March 2010

The Texas Cosmology Center and The University of Texas at Austin Department of Astronomy will host The First Stars and Galaxies: Challenges for the Next Decade on the Austin campus, March 8-11, 2010. The meeting brings together experts on the coming James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), and theorists in early structure formation, to forge simulation roadmaps. The new telescopes, and a new generation of other ground based instruments, will soon have the power to peer into the very first galaxies. The meeting is sponsored by the Texas Advanced Computing Center, the Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Tokyo), Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Texas Cosmology Center.

Pioneering Optical Improvements Underway at University of Arizona for HET Upgrades in Search for Dark Energy

steward observatory

UA News

2 March 2010

UA's Imaging Technology Laboratory, a research group within Steward Observatory, and the Optical Fabrication and Engineering Facility at the College of Optical Sciences will provide image recording devices and the heart of the optical system used for imaging, respectively, for the Hobby-Eberly Telescope at the McDonald Observatory, which is operated by the University of Texas, Austin. The additions are part of outfitting the world's fourth largest optical telescope with an array of new instruments to analyze the light from distant galaxies in an effort to understand the nature of dark energy.

Public Lecture ~ Walk Softly When Exploring the Dark Side of the Universe: Black Holes, Dark Matter and Dark Energy

1 February 2010

Prof. Karl Gebhardt will deliver the 18th Annual Great Lecture in Astronomy, "Walk Softly When Exploring the Dark Side of the Universe: Black Holes, Dark Matter and Dark Energy," Saturday, February 6, from 1:00-2:00 PM in ACES 2.302 on The University of Texas at Austin campus. [map]. The lecture is free and open to the public. Recent discoveries have revealed that the greater part of the matter and energy known to comprise the Universe is completely hidden. Dr. Gebhardt, a premier researcher of Black Holes, and member of the HETDEX team, will overview the current discoveries and understanding of these dark components of the Universe, and summarize the full-scale attack from ongoing and future efforts.

Mars Brightest for Year, Pairs up with Full Moon January 29

University of Texas at Austin Office of Public Affairs

27 January 2010

One of the skywatching highlights of the year takes place on the night of Jan. 29, as the full Moon and the planet Mars march high across the sky. Mars and the Moon are low in the east-northeast at nightfall, with the Red Planet to the left of the Moon. Mars looks like a brilliant orange star. One reason this is such a grand spectacle is that Mars is at opposition on the 29th, which means it lines up opposite the Sun as Earth passes by Mars in our smaller, faster orbit around the Sun. Mars rises around sunset and remains in view all night. The planet is also closest to us around opposition, so it shines brightest for the year.