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
AUSTIN — Northrop Grumman, a leading global security company and NASA’s partner building the James Webb Space Telescope, will become official sponsor of the nationally syndicated StarDate radio program starting Sept. 1. StarDate is produced by The University of Texas at Austin’s McDonald Observatory.
Mary Kay Hemenway Receives National Award for Outstanding Contributions to Public Understanding of Astronomy
San Francisco — The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) is bestowing its 2013 Klumpke-Roberts Award for outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy to Dr. Mary Kay Hemenway of The University of Texas at Austin. Past awardees include Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov. The award will be presented at the society’s annual meeting in San Francisco on July 23.
AUSTIN — Astronomers from The University of Texas at Austin and colleagues have used the 2.1-meter Otto Struve Telescope at the university’s McDonald Observatory to discover pulsations from the crystalized remnant of a burnt-out star. The finding will allow astronomers to see below the star’s atmosphere and into its interior, much like earthquakes allow geologists to study compositions below Earth’s surface. The findings appear in the current issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Event: McDonald Observatory astronomer Matthew Shetrone and Artistic Director Keith Knopp of Yellow Barn offer insight into the science and art behind popular and classical music in an afternoon presentation followed by a discussion. In the late evening, Yellow Barn percussionists perform Le Noir de l'Etoile, a work celebrating the discovery of pulsars.
Paul R. Shapiro, the Frank N. Edmonds, Jr., Regents Professor in Astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin, has been elected to a four-year term to the Chair line of the Division of Astrophysics of the American Physical Society.
The American Physical Society (APS) is the principal professional society in physics in North America. Its Division of Astrophysics represents more than 2,400 scientists working in many fields of astrophysics and cosmology.