81R8544 KO-D
  By: Rose H.C.R. No. 55
         WHEREAS, The 400th birthday of modern astronomy is being
  marked in 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy, and this
  worldwide celebration represents a fine opportunity to pay tribute
  to the Lone Star State's leadership in astronomical research; and
         WHEREAS, In 1609, the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei
  first used a telescope to study the skies, and that same year, the
  German astronomer Johannes Kepler published his famous laws of
  planetary motion in the book Astronomia Nova; sponsored by the
  International Astronomical Union and UNESCO, the International
  Year of Astronomy 2009 commemorates these revolutionary
  developments with activities and events around the globe; and
         WHEREAS, Located in the Davis Mountains of West Texas, the
  McDonald Observatory of The University of Texas at Austin is one of
  the world's leading centers for astronomical research and
  education; its research instruments include the Hobby-Eberly
  Telescope, one of the world's largest optical telescopes, with a
  433-inch mirror; and
         WHEREAS, The Observatory Visitors Center delights and
  informs 100,000 people a year with its exhibits, tours, and star
  parties; the observatory also produces the nationally syndicated
  StarDate and Universo radio programs and websites, bringing the
  latest in scientific research to audiences in English and Spanish;
         WHEREAS, During the IYA 2009, The University of Texas at
  Austin and Texas A&M are collaborating on the development of the
  Giant Magellan Telescope, one of the world's largest new
  telescopes; and
         WHEREAS, McDonald Observatory and the physics department of
  Texas A&M University are beginning to work with several other
  institutions on a groundbreaking study of dark energy, which has
  been called "the central problem for physics" by Nobel laureate and
  UT professor Steven Weinberg; representing 70 percent of the total
  energy in the universe, dark energy is the mysterious force causing
  the expansion of the cosmos to accelerate; and
         WHEREAS, The Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment,
  or HETDEX, will use the Hobby-Eberly Telescope and the new VIRUS
  spectrograph, developed and constructed by UT and Texas A&M, to map
  the three-dimensional positions of one million galaxies over three
  years, providing scientists with important clues to the nature of
  dark energy; and
         WHEREAS, The study of dark energy represents a revolution in
  the science of astronomy, and it is most fitting that in this
  anniversary year of historic scientific achievement, two of the
  premier research institutions in Texas are working together in the
  pioneering spirit of Kepler and Galileo to see further into the
  heart of the universe than anyone has before; now, therefore, be it
         RESOLVED, That the 81st Legislature of the State of Texas
  hereby commemorate the International Year of Astronomy 2009 and
  celebrate the great contributions of The University of Texas at
  Austin McDonald Observatory and Texas A&M University in the
  continuing quest, from time immemorial, to bring the heavens within
  the compass of human understanding; and, be it further
         RESOLVED, That official copies of this resolution be prepared
  for The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory and the
  Texas A&M University Department of Physics as an expression of high
  regard by the Texas House of Representatives and Senate.