McDonald Observatory gets new director

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The University of Texas’ McDonald Observatory in West Texas is getting a new director.

The Austin American-Statesman ( ) reports Taft Armandroff will be announced Tuesday as the new director and professor of astronomy. The appointment will be effective June 1. Armandroff is currently director of the W.M. Keck Observatory, a nonprofit organization with two telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

He succeeds 75-year-old David Lambert, who directed the observatory about 450 miles west of Austin for 10 years.

The observatory is gearing up for a study of the mysterious force known as dark energy that’s causing the cosmos to expand at an accelerating rate. The $39 million dark energy project - a collaboration with other institutions - is expected to begin later this year.

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