McDonald Observatory Holds Open House May 12

12 April 2007

FORT DAVIS, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory invites members of the media to an Open House at our West Texas mountaintop site on Saturday, May 12. Admission to the Observatory and all programs that day will be free to the public, with activities planned from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. These events run the gamut from science talks, to telescope demonstrations, to a nighttime star party.

Special events are planned for media attendees. After checking in at the Information Desk at the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center for a press kit and lunch voucher, enjoy an 11:45 a.m. lunch in the StarDate Café. This is followed at 12:50 p.m. by a press briefing by McDonald Observatory astronomers. They will describe their plan to tackle the enigma of “dark energy” — that mysterious force causing the universe’s expansion to speed up — with the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX). Then take a press tour of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope, one of the world’s largest telescopes, at 2 p.m. A 3 p.m. public talk describing the Observatory’s work on “Celestial Dodgeball: Protecting Earth from Asteroids” may also be of interest.

RSVPs from media for May 12 will be greatly appreciated. Contact Rebecca Johnson. A full schedule of Open House events will be available soon, and can be sent in PDF format to members of the media upon request.

For information on lodging, see the Fort Davis Chamber of Commerce Web site at: http://fortdavis.com.

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Notes: For background information on the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX), see: http://www.utexas.edu/features/2007/energy/.


Media Contact

Rebecca Johnson
ph: 512-475-6763
fax: 512-471-5060
rjohnson@astro.as.utexas.edu