Texas Astronomers Discuss Weighing Heaviest Known Black Hole; Reporters May Participate Remotely in Live Webcast from Seattle

Event: University of Texas at Austin Astronomy Professor Karl Gebhardt and graduate student Jeremy Murphy will give a press briefing live from the 217th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Seattle, describing how they weighed the heaviest known nearby black hole using a telescope at the university's McDonald Observatory and the giant Gemini North telescope in Hawaii. The university will issue a press release and graphics (including video, an artist's concept of the black hole and photos) at the start of the press conference.

The Texas astronomers' briefing will be followed by two others containing news on black holes. Reporters on-site and those watching via webcast may ask questions.

When: 4:30 p.m. CST, Wednesday, Jan. 12

Instructions: The site for the press conference webcast is: http://aas.org/press/press_conferences

Password (for journalists only): E-mail AAS Press Officer Dr. Rick Fienberg for the password.

Once the webcast window opens, press the Play (>) button. Next, press the Open Chat Window button. You will be asked to enter your name; use your first and last name. The chat window can be resized and moved to a convenient location on your screen. To ask a question, type it into the input box near the bottom of the chat window and click the Send button.

The event organizers do not guarantee all questions received from webcast viewers will be asked aloud. This will depend on time constraints and the volume of questions from on-site reporters.

Notes: Make sure your pop-up blocker is disabled or that it allows pop-ups from aas.org. You must have a high-speed (broadband) Internet connection to watch and listen because the webcast includes audio, video and PowerPoint slides. You must also have the free Adobe Flash plug-in installed on your computer to view the webcast. A free download of Flash is available.