TUCSON — An award-winning astronomer known for his research on the age and size of the universe was crushed to death between a door and a 150-ton revolving telescope dome, authorities said Friday.
Marc Arnold Aaronson, 37, was crushed Thursday night in an accident at the Kitt Peak Observatory, said Lt. Edward Beumler, a Pima County Sheriff's Department spokesman.
Aaronson was leaving the 18-story building that houses the four-meter Mayall telescope to check the weather when he was killed, Beumler said.
When the door leading outside is opened, the telescope's dome automatically stops turning, but the dome coasts five to 10 feet before coming to a full stop, authorities said.
Peter A. Strittmatter, head of the University of Arizona's astronomy department, where Aaronson was an associate professor, said Aaronson and astronomer Jeremy R. Mould shared the Newton Lacy Pierce Prize in astronomy in 1984 for their finding that the universe is much younger and smaller than once believed.