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Eric Schlegel

Eric Schlegel.jpg

Eric Schlegel is the Vaughan Family Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Dr. Schlegel has been employed by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory as part of the Chandra X-ray Observatory science team, and has spent five years as Data Quality Verification Team Lead. He has also worked at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, where he served on the ROSAT and Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer teams. Previously, he had worked as a post-doctoral researcher at Harvard College Observatory and at Indiana University. 

Dr. Schlegel has carried out extensive research on cataclysmic variables, super-novae, spiral galaxies, and X-ray binaries in the optical, ultraviolet, X-ray and gamma-ray bandpasses. His work made international headlines in 2016 after a team of researchers he led discovered a powerful galactic blast produced by a giant black hole about 26 million light years from Earth. The black hole is the nearest supermassive black hole to Earth that is currently undergoing such violent outbursts. Dr. Schlegel’s team used NASA’s Earth-orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory to find the black hole blast in the famous Messier 51 system of galaxies. The system contains a large spiral galaxy, NGC 5194, colliding with a smaller companion galaxy, NGC 5195.

Since 2005 Dr. Schlegel has been on the faculty in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Texas in San Antonio, and he recently became a Guest Scientist for NASA’s and JAXA’s XRISM mission which launched in September 2023. Dr. Schlegel has worked with a number of students on research studies, all of whom have presented their work at meetings of the American Astronomical Society, and one of whom is now is now a post-doctoral researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Along with his research and teaching, Dr. Schlegel has also authored a well-received popular book on X-ray astronomy entitled The Restless Universe: Understanding X-ray Astronomy in the Age of Chandra and Newton (Oxford University Press, 2002). 


Find out more about Eric Schlegel’s research at the University of Texas here.

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