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Nicholas Suntzeff at the Physics and Astronomy Teaching Observatory at Texas A&M, on March 19, 2024.“Can we talk UFOs?” I asked Nicholas Suntzeff, the regents professor of physics and astronomy at Texas A&M University. “I’d be happy to,” he replied, letting out a chuckle. “But just so you know, the government now wants us to call them unidentified anomalous phenomena, or UAP.”The wiry, good-natured Suntzeff, who’s 71, is one of the most respected astronomers in the world, a specialist in cosmology and supernovas. He majored in mathematics at Stanford University, earned his doctorate in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and for two decades worked at the U.S. National Optical Astronomy Observatory facility in Chile, studying distant galaxies through giant mountaintop telescopes beneath some of the darkest skies in the world.In 1994 Suntzeff cofounded the High-Z Supernova…

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