Exploring the universe and advancing the frontiers of human knowledge.


  • Home of the world-renowned McDonald Observatory.
  • One of the largest undergraduate astronomy programs in the nation.
  • Key partner in the construction of the world's next great telescope, the Giant Magellan Telescope.
  • Home of StarDate radio, tuned into by 2.1 million people daily.
  • Leader in the study of stars, star formation, black holes, formation of galaxies, search for planets, and stellar explosions.
  • Hobby Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX) is the quickest and most cost-effective project to uncover the secrets of dark energy.
  • 60,000 people annually visit the McDonald Observatory.

The Department of Astronomy's mission is to advance the frontier of human knowledge and share it with future generations. It is home to the McDonald Observatory, one of the world's leading centers for astronomical research, teaching and public education and outreach.


95 Undergraduate (Fall 2014)
37 Graduate (Fall 2014)


21 faculty
25 research scientists, fellows and associates
20 postdoctoral fellows
1 Nobel Prize in Physics
2 Members of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers
3 Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards
2 NSF Early Career Development Grant Awards
6 Alfred P. Sloan Fellowships
1 Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering
1 Edith and Peter O'Donnell Award


Chemical abundances in stars / Star formation / Black holes / Galaxy formation / Search for planets / Stellar explosions / Composition, structure and evolution of the universe

Affiliated Centers & Institutes

McDonald Observatory