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Chris Walker's GUSTO Team Selected For NASA Explorers Program.

NASA has selected Chris Walker's GUSTO team to build and launch GUSTO, the Galactic/Extragalactic ULDB Spectroscopic Terahertz Observatory, a $35-million project. It will be a long-duration balloon mission, launched from Antarctica in 2021. It will map portions of our galaxy and the Large Magellanic Cloud in terahertz lines of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen. You can read the NASA press release HERE. Tom Beal's Arizona Daily Star article can be found HERE. The UANews article can be found HERE. Congratulations to Chris and to everyone involved.

New President of Giant Magellan Telescope Organization

The Giant Magellan Telescope Organization has announced that former University of Arizona President, Fiesta Bowl Chairman, and Research Corporation President Dr Robert N. Shelton will become President of GMTO starting Feb 20, 2017. You can find the GMT press release HERE. The Arizona Daily Star has an article HERE. UA News has an article HERE.  

GMT Update from the AAS Meeting interviewed Pat McCarthy and Buell Jannuzi at the winter AAS meeting and produced this update on the telescope and mirror-making timescales. First-science, with major amounts of engineering time, might happen as soon as 2023 or 2024. There is a 6 minute computer-generated video (following an advertisement), too. You can read the article HERE

Photo Credit: Giant Magellan Telescope - GMTO Corporation. Produced by Todd Mason, Mason Media Inc.

Marc Aaronson Symposium, Apr 3-4, 2017

We announce the 30th anniversary of the Aaronson memorial prize and lecture that has been hosted by the University of Arizona in honor of the late Dr. Marc Aaronson. Marc was a professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona and Astronomer at UA's Steward Observatory who was killed in a tragic accident while observing at the Mayall Telescope on Kitt Peak in 1987. There will be a two-day Symposium, with fifteen Aaronson Lecturers, on April 3-4, 2017. There will also be a public talk on April 3 by Nobel Laureate and Aaronson Lecturer (and former UA undergrad) Brian Schmidt. The Aaronson Lectureship, made possible by a modest endowment from his family and friends and hosted by Steward Observatory of the University of Arizona, recognizes significant achievement in the area of observational astronomy by any living scientist without regard to nationality, sex, or race. This award has an illustrious history, the 18 awardees selected so far (over the 30 years) have gone on to subsequently collect two Nobel prizes, a MacArthur Prize, a Crafoord Prize, five Gruber Prizes, three Shaw Prizes, and a Kavli Prize. This record is most striking given that the selection committee has strived to recognize individuals early in their careers prior to achieving such distinguished honors. Currently the committee picks someone within ten years of their doctorate. Marc Aaronson was an extremely promising scientist who at an early age made seminal contributions to several areas of extragalactic research including measurement of the expansion of the universe using new and innovative techniques combining radio and infrared observations. Only eight years removed from his PhD he became the PI of the team of international scientists that was selected for a Hubble Space Telescope key project to make the definitive measurement of the famous Hubble’s constant. Marc died before the Space Telescope was launched and we can only speculate what his contributions would have been by now, if he had been able to continue the outstanding trajectory of his research career.

The Marc Aaronson Memorial Lectureship was established in 1987 to not only honor Professor Aaronson’s achievements but to also promulgate the values of dedication to excellence in, and intense passion for astronomical research that he exemplified so well. The award has recognized early-mid career scientists who, like Marc, exhibit the kind of passion for research that has propelled them to perform cutting edge work in observational astronomy. Indeed, the research performed by the previous awardees spans a wide spectrum of astronomical topics and illustrates some of the amazing strides we have made in the past 30 years regarding our understanding of such things as the basic structure of the Universe, the chemistry of the universe, the existence of black holes, the nature of early galaxies, the existence of extrasolar planets, and the structure of the outer solar system. The occasion of the 30th anniversary of this award provides an opportunity for us to bring back fifteen of these awardees to Tucson for a truly special series of talks, both public and specialized, in celebration of Marc's life, legacy, and excitement for astronomy, while also insuring that Marc’s legacy for passionate observational research as exemplified by the previous and current awardees is carried forward by the next generation of astronomers.

One can learn more about the Symposium, and register for the symposium, by going HERE.

One can also learn more about the Aaronson Lectures by going HERE.

Recent B.S. Degrees and Ph.D. Degrees

We had two astronomy undergrads graduate in December 2016:
Kyle Price-- B.S. Astronomy/Physics (double major)
Michael Evans-- B.A. Journalism (major) Astronomy (minor)

Since the start of summer 2016, the following grad students have gotten PhD's:
Michael Baubock
Nicholas Ballering
Charles Kilpatrick
Youngmin Seo


Congratulations to everyone!


Image: (From left) Baubock, Ballering, Kilpatrick, Seo