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  Las Cumbres Telescope Sees First Light at McDonald Observatory

The first of a planned suite of telescopes of the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope (LCOGT) Network achieved first light recently at The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory.
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Hetdex
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U.T. Experiment Grapples With Essence of Gravity

We have all experienced gravity, but even to the brightest minds in science, it remains largely a mystery. Gary J. Hill, an astronomer at the University of Texas at Austin, is trying to change that.

"We don't know why there's gravity. We have a pretty good theory of it. It may be that our observations could have a bearing on finally formulating why gravity exists" - Mr. Hill, one of the lead astronomers on the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment, or Hetdex, which could turn gravity's time-honoured laws on their head.

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McDonald Observatory Gets Wild View of Texas Wildfires

A week after the Texas wildfires cut power to the McDonald Observatory, the worst appears to be over, according to Anita Cochran, the associate director of the observatory.
Observations have resumed and the astronomy centre is scheduled to open to the public today (April 20), after surviving a close call with menacing wildfires.

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Fort Davis residents shaken after wildfire

What remained in Fort Davis was a scene that longtime residents had never before witnessed: a wildfire that not only consumed open acreage but also passed through the town itself. Though most of the structures in the heart of town were spared, a couple dozen properties off Texas 118, on the road to Alpine, were destroyed.
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Open House at McDonald Observatory

Come enjoy an Open House at McDonald Observatory on Saturday, April 9. The day of family-friendly events runs from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., and includes tours of large research telescopes, science talks, a star party and other telescope viewings.

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$8-million National Science Foundation Grant for International Dark-Energy Project Includes Penn State Scientists

An international program to unveil the nature of Dark Energy, the mysterious force that is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate, has been awarded a grant of $8 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The survey, the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Project (HETDEX), is led by the University of Texas at Austin and includes Penn State University, Texas A&M University, and three institutions in Germany.
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McDonald Observatory
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Dedication of Telescope at McDonald Observatory Made Possible by LCOGT

After more than five years of redesign, engineering, and commissioning, the 18" handicap-accessible Wren-Marcario Accessible Telescope (WMAT) will be rededicated at the McDonald Observatory Frank N. Bash Visitor's Centre this Saturday, July 17, 2010. The recommissioning of the telescope was completed by Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGT) engineers and scientists, and funded by LCOGT founders Wayne Rosing and Dorothy Largay, Mike and Shirley Marcario, Mike I. and Dee Jones, Bill and Becky Wren and anonymous donors. The event marks the long-anticipated return of the science-grade telescope to a facility that receives over 60,000 visitors a year.
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W.J. McDonald Observatory webcam
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HETDEX
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Novel Experiment Prepares to Join Dark Energy Hunt

An experiment is gearing up in Texas to take on one of the universe's biggest mysteries by compiling a three-dimensional map of the early cosmos. The hope is that the survey will help inform astronomers and cosmologists about the nature of dark energy, a mysterious and hypothetical agent thought to constitute nearly three quarters of the universe's mass.
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Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment
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The final version of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment will measure the effect of dark energy on the universe by surveying 100 million galaxies, making the largest-ever map of the universe in the process.
Other projects have searched for dark energy in the more recent past, but UT researchers using the Hobby-Eberly Telescope are the only ones examining the more distant past for data on the phenomenon that is pushing the universe apart at an accelerating rate.

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