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From the College of Natural Sciences
UT Austin and Partners Cast Fifth Massive Mirror for Giant Magellan Telescope

UT Austin and Partners Cast Fifth Massive Mirror for Giant Magellan Telescope

The GMT mirror 5 mold filled with 17,500 kg of low expansion glass, ready for the lid of the furnace to be placed. (Credit: University of Arizona)

Today, The University of Texas at Austin and its partners in the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO) are beginning to cast the fifth of seven mirrors that will form the heart of the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). The mirror is being cast at The University of Arizona's Richard F. Caris Mirror Laboratory, a facility known for creating the world's largest mirrors for astronomy. The 25-meter diameter GMT will be located in the Chilean Andes and will study planets around other stars and to look back to the time when the first galaxies formed.

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Trip to McDonald Observatory Inspires FRI Student

Trip to McDonald Observatory Inspires FRI Student

Rylee Ross, second from left, poses with other members of the White Dwarf Stars research stream in front of the 2.1m Otto Struve Telescope at the McDonald Observatory. Students used the telescope to make time series measurements of pulsating white dwarf stars.

This summer, Rylee Ross, a member of the White Dwarf Stars research stream of the Freshman Research Initiative and her lab-mates visited the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis, Texas. Rylee is a second-year physics (space science option) major and the recipient of a 2017 FRI Summer Research Fellowship. After graduation, she hopes to attend graduate school in physics.

UT Austin Ranks No. 10 Among U.S. Universities for Science in Latest Nature Index

UT Austin Ranks No. 10 Among U.S. Universities for Science in Latest Nature Index

The University of Texas at Austin ranked No. 11 among all U.S. institutions (academic and nonacademic) and No. 10 among U.S. universities for publication of scientific research, according to the latest report from the Nature Index.

Observatory Director Discusses Plans for World's Largest Telescope

Observatory Director Discusses Plans for World's Largest Telescope

Artist rendering of the Giant Magellan Telescope/The University of Texas at Austin

The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) will be the largest telescope in the world when it comes online in 2023.

Taft Armandroff, the director of UT Austin's McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis, is involved in the planning of and funding for the new observatory, which will be built atop a mountain in Chile. 

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Visualizing Science 2017: Finding the Hidden Beauty in College Research

Visualizing Science 2017: Finding the Hidden Beauty in College Research

Five years ago the College of Natural Sciences began an annual tradition called Visualizing Science with the intent of finding the inherent beauty hidden within scholarly research. Each spring faculty, staff and students in our college community are invited to send us images that celebrate the splendor of science and the scientific process. Every year they deliver the moments where science and art meld and become one, and this year is no exception.

Eyewitness to a Cosmic Car Wreck (Audio)

Eyewitness to a Cosmic Car Wreck (Audio)

Astronomers have long been able to watch the universe's blockbuster special effects unfold in dazzling 3D Technicolor. But until now, it's been like watching a silent movie. Today that all changes. Scientists announced this morning that they have for the first time ever detected both light and gravitational waves from a massive explosion in space caused by the collision of two super-dense neutron stars. On today's show, we talk to astrophysicist Pawan Kumar about what this breakthrough means for his field.

How UT Scientists Contributed to Nobel-Winning Gravitational Wave Discovery

How UT Scientists Contributed to Nobel-Winning Gravitational Wave Discovery

​A day after celebrating the news that University of Texas at Austin alumnus Michael Young was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on circadian rhythms, we were thrilled to wake up this morning to the news that three scientists won the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of gravitational waves, work that was heavily in...
New Telescope Coming Soon to McDonald Observatory

New Telescope Coming Soon to McDonald Observatory

FORT DAVIS, Texas — A new 1-meter telescope is coming to The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory in the next two years. The Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) global network is expanding, and will build a second 1-meter telescope at McDonald.

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Astronomers Solve Mystery of Formation of First Supermassive Black Holes

Astronomers Solve Mystery of Formation of First Supermassive Black Holes

Gas density distribution around the newborn protostar. The left-to-right supersonic gas motion results in the non-spherical, compressed density structure. (Credit: Shingo Hirano)

An international team of researchers has successfully used a supercomputer simulation to recreate the formation of a massive black hole from supersonic gas streams left over from the Big Bang. The study will be published tomorrow in the journal Science, in a paper led by astronomer Shingo Hirano of The University of Texas at Austin.

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College Welcomes New Faculty at Start of the Academic Year

College Welcomes New Faculty at Start of the Academic Year

CNS welcomes new tenured and tenure-track faculty members this fall. Whether searching for insight into the fundamental nature of spacetime, studying cellular mechanisms that lead to disease, or determining ways to strengthen disadvantaged families, these industrious and trailblazing scientists build on the college's reputation in research and teaching.