AUSTIN — The upcoming world’s largest telescope has passed two critical milestones, according to founding partner The University of Texas at Austin. The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) has passed major reviews on its design and cost estimates and is ready to proceed to construction.
Astronomer Taft Armandroff has been appointed the new director of The University of Texas at Austin’s McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis, Texas.
Armandroff, who is currently director of the W.M. Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawai’i, will join the university in June 2014.
He succeeds David Lambert, who, as the observatory’s third director, propelled the observatory to national prominence. Lambert will resume his position as a full-time faculty member in the Department of Astronomy.
Text courtesy of the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization
AUSTIN, Texas — University of Texas at Austin astronomer Steven Finkelstein has led a team that has discovered and measured the distance to the most distant galaxy ever found. The galaxy is seen as it was at a time just 700 million years after the Big Bang.
A pair of recently published studies shed light on the study of the exploding stars known as supernovae. One of these teams includes University of Texas at Austin supernova expert and professor J. Craig Wheeler.
“We are in a new world of identifying supernova progenitor stars and the explosions very early, allowing more thorough study,” Wheeler said. “The event iPTF13bvn allowed both,” he added, referring to the study published September 20 in The Astrophysical Journal.
A yearlong celebration is underway to celebrate the 75th anniversary of The University of Texas at Austin’s McDonald Observatory. Located in West Texas near Fort Davis, the observatory was dedicated May 5, 1939, and has supported some of the most important astronomical discoveries of recent decades about everything from extrasolar planets to exotic stars to black holes.
AUSTIN — Astronomers at The University of Texas at Austin believe they have discovered the answer to a 20-year debate over how the mysterious cosmic “dark matter” is distributed in small galaxies. Graduate student John Jardel and his advisor Karl Gebhardt found that the distribution, on average, follows a simple law of decreasing density from the galaxy’s center, although the exact distribution often varies from galaxy to galaxy. The findings are published today in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Release text courtesy of the Joint ALMA Observatory
Thanks to data detected with the ALMA radio telescope, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, University of Texas at Austin astronomers and others were able to detect a star in formation — a protostar — that appears to be one of the brightest and massive found in our galaxy.
The Board of Regents of The University of Texas System has chosen Dr. Don Winget from The University of Texas at Austin to receive a 2013 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, its highest teaching honor. The award was presented August 21 in a ceremony at the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center on the UT Austin campus.
This six-minute video describes the journey the telescope took from Dr. Chow on its way to McDonald. Video by Jeff Chow — www.jeffchowonline.com