A scientist discloses the truth about Santa Claus

1970s

My father, R. Edward Nather, passed away on August 13, 2014. He was one of McDonald Observatory's most illustrious astronomers. Would you believe that when he passed at age 87, he still kept his observing suit?

All of you have "Ed Stories," so here is one of mine. In 1976, I was 6 years old and the youngest of Dad's children. That Christmas, Dad told my siblings and me that we had to spend the holiday at "the observatory," which to my child's ears simply meant "someplace foreign and unfamiliar."

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Lara Nather
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UT astronomer

Eminent Engineer and Physicist Appointed to Lead Giant Magellan Telescope Project

Ed Moses to Lead Giant Magellan Telescope Project

Pasadena, CA – The Board of Directors of the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization is pleased to announce the appointment of Edward I. Moses, Ph.D., as President of their organization. Moses, former Principal Associate Director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, will lead the organization responsible for the development of the billion dollar, 25-meter Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). The University of Texas at Austin is a founding partner in the GMT project.

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StarDate 7/2008

2000s

After years of hearing StarDate on NPR, I knew that the McDonald Observatory was a worthy destination on my Hemicentennial (50th Birthday) Celebration roadtrip. I decided to leave Seattle and drive to various astronomy-related sites ending with a visit to the McDonald Observatory (and my son who was living in Marfa). I started in Seattle and drove to The Griffith observatory in L.A., Kitt Peak Observatory in Tucson, the VLA in Soccoro, NM, and finally to the McDonald in Ft. Davis.

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Melissah Watts
mwatts2024@gmail.com
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visitor

Astronomers Disprove Claims that Two 'Goldilocks Planets' Might Support Life

No 'Goldilocks Planets' for Dwarf Star Gliese 581

Astronomers from The University of Texas at Austin and Penn State University have solved a mystery surrounding controversial signals coming from a dwarf star considered to be a prime target in the search for extraterrestrial life. The team has proven that the signals suspected to come from two planets orbiting the star at a distance where liquid water could potentially exist (so-called “Goldilocks planets,” whose orbits are just right), actually are coming from the star itself.

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Giant Magellan Telescope Organization and McDonald Observatory Partner to Inspire the Next Generation of Astronomers

GMT and McDonald Host Teacher Workshop

The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) Organization is partnering with The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory to present a new teacher workshop curriculum that will educate teachers about how the GMT, the world’s largest telescope, will dramatically advance the field of astronomy when it begins operations in 2020.

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Globular Clusters Rotate at Heart

Globular Clusters Rotate at Heart

AUSTIN, Texas — Astronomers from The University of Texas at Austin and Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) recently found a surprise when studying some of the oldest star clusters in our galaxy. The stars at the centers of these clusters are rotating around a common axis. It was previously thought any central rotation would have been long erased, leaving the central stars to random orbits. The work has been accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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Astronomers Find Sun’s ‘Long-Lost Brother,’ Pave Way for Family Reunion

Finding the Sun's 'Long-Lost Brother'

AUSTIN — A team of researchers led by University of Texas at Austin astronomer Ivan Ramirez has identified the first “sibling” of the Sun — a star that was almost certainly born from the same cloud of gas and dust as our star. Ramirez’ methods will help other astronomers find other “solar siblings,” work that could lead to an understanding of how and where our Sun formed, and how our solar system became hospitable for life. The work will be published in the June 1 issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

Winners of McDonald Observatory’s 75th Anniversary Art Contest Announced

Winners of 75th Anniversary Art Contest Announced

FORT DAVIS — McDonald Observatory announced the winners of its art contest for school kids in Jeff Davis, Presidio, and Brewster counties at its Open House on April 26. The contest, part the observatory’s year-long celebration of its 75th anniversary, received 127 entries in two categories (junior high-high school and elementary school). They were judged on creativity and representation of the spirit of the anniversary celebration.

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