Astronomers Quimby, Wheeler Win Hyer Award from American Physical Society's Texas Section

22 October 2008

EL PASO , Texas — Recent University of Texas at Austin doctoral graduate Robert Quimby of the California Institute of Technology and his adviser, University of Texas at Austin astronomy professor J. Craig Wheeler, have won the Hyer Award from the Texas Section of the American Physical Society for excellence in physics-related research by a graduate student and adviser at a Texas higher education institution.

The Hyer Award recognized Quimby’s work on his Texas Supernova Search, in which he discovered two of the most intrinsically bright exploding stars, called supernovae, ever detected. The award was presented this past weekend at a meeting of the Texas Section of the American Physical Society in El Paso.

Quimby discovered supernovae 2006gy and 2005ap, among others, with the Robotic Optical Transient Search Experiment at the university’s McDonald Observatory in West Texas. He identified them as amazingly powerful explosions after gauging their distance by studying them with the Hobby-Eberly Telescope at McDonald, one of the world’s largest optical telescopes.

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Notes:

More information on the discovery of these supernovae is available in an Oct. 10, 2007 news release from McDonald Observatory. More information about the Hyer Award is available online here.

Contact Information:

Dr. Robert Quimby
California Institute of Technology
626-395-5927; quimby@astro.caltech.edu

Dr. J. Craig Wheeler
The University of Texas at Austin
512-471-6407; wheel@astro.as.utexas.edu

Left: Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) image of the field where supernova 2005ap was found, showing four nearby galaxies (A, B, C, and D) in December 2004. Right: Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) image of the same field about 2.5 months later, showing supernova 2005ap. The supernova's host galaxy is too distant to appear in either image. Credit: SDSS, R. Quimby/McDonald Obs./UT-Austin

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The Robotic Optical Transient Search Experiment has placed telescopes in four lo

The Robotic Optical Transient Search Experiment has placed telescopes in four locations on Earth to cover the entire sky in search of gamma-ray bursts. One of these, ROTSE IIIb, is located at McDonald Observatory. In addition to its primary mission, the telescope is used for the ROTSE Supernova Verification Project (RSVP). Credit: ROTSE Collaboration.

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The Hobby-Eberly Telescope. Credit: Marty Harris/McDonald Observatory.

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