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From the College of Natural Sciences
Newly Identified Gravitational Waves Include Best Pinpointed Black Hole Pair

Newly Identified Gravitational Waves Include Best Pinpointed Black Hole Pair

Numerical simulations of gravitational waves caused by the collision of two black holes. Credit: NASA/Ames Research Center/C. Henze

The scientists looking for gravitational waves report that last year they observed four additional ripples in space-time. During about a nine-month period, scientists involved with the National Science Foundation's LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) collaboration and the European-based Virgo gravitational-wave detector encountered eight gravitational waves—twice as many as previously reported—including a newly identified binary black hole that was the most precisely located in the sky to date.

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StarDate Radio Program Celebrates 40 Years

StarDate Radio Program Celebrates 40 Years

Award winning radio program StarDate turns 40 years old

The longest running nationally aired science program is marking a major milestone. "StarDate" radio, produced by The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory, celebrates 40 years on the nation's airwaves. In its nearly 15,000 daily two-minute episodes, "StarDate" has brought skywatching and astronomy to millions of listeners across the United States. Today, it airs on about 400 radio affiliates, split evenly between public and commercial stations.

New Geodetic Observatory Coming to UT Austin’s McDonald Observatory

New Geodetic Observatory Coming to UT Austin’s McDonald Observatory

The site for the McDonald Geodetic Observatory’s 12-meter radio telescope dish is being prepared at the base of Mount Locke, near the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center. Credit: Frank Cianciolo/McDonald Observatory.

A new scientific facility is under construction on the grounds of The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory that will help scientists better understand Earth and could help minimize the effects of geohazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, sea level changes and landslides.

Discovery of New Planet Reveals Distant Solar System to Rival Our Own

Discovery of New Planet Reveals Distant Solar System to Rival Our Own

With the discovery of an eighth planet, the Kepler-90 system is the first to tie with our solar system in number of planets. (Click to expand) Credit: NASA/Ames Research Center/Wendy Stenzel.

The discovery of an eighth planet circling the distant star Kepler-90 by University of Texas at Austin astronomer Andrew Vanderburg and Google's Christopher Shallue overturns our solar system's status as having the highest number of known planets. We're now in a tie.

Texas Astronomers Will Lead Early Studies with $8 Billion James Webb Space Telescope

Texas Astronomers Will Lead Early Studies with $8 Billion James Webb Space Telescope

A full-sized model of the James Webb Space Telescope is seen in Austin during the South by Southwest festival in 2013.

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, the powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, is expected to launch in 2019 after decades of development. Now the agency has announced the scientists who will use the $8 billion telescope first, testing its instruments to prove it's in good working order. Steven Finkelstein, an associate professor of astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin, leads one of the chosen Early Release Science projects as principal investigator.

Astronomers Find Faintest Early Galaxies Yet, Probe How the Early Universe Lit Up

Astronomers Find Faintest Early Galaxies Yet, Probe How the Early Universe Lit Up

Astronomers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a new technique to discover the faintest galaxies yet seen in the early universe —10 times fainter than any previously seen.

The Last First Planetary Mission (Audio)

The Last First Planetary Mission (Audio)

​The New Horizons spacecraft brought humanity face to face with the last unexplored planet in our solar system: Pluto. What we're learning is amazing. But, time and again, the mission almost didn't happen. University of Texas at Austin alumnus Alan Stern describes the challenges, and the joys, of the last first mission to a planet.

Astronomers Discover Rocky Planet Orbiting Nearest Star, Proxima Centauri

Astronomers Discover Rocky Planet Orbiting Nearest Star, Proxima Centauri

An international team of astronomers including Michael Endl of The University of Texas at Austin have found clear evidence of a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun. The long-sought new world, called Proxima b, orbits its cool red parent star every 11 days and has a temperature suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface. This rocky world is a little more massive than Earth and is the closest known exoplanet to us — and may be the closest possible abode for life outside our solar system.

Young 'Super-Neptune' Offers Clues to Origin of Close-in Exoplanets

Young 'Super-Neptune' Offers Clues to Origin of Close-in Exoplanets

A team of astronomers led by Andrew Mann of The University of Texas at Austin has confirmed the existence of a young planet, only 11 million years old, that orbits extremely close to its star (at 0.05 AU), with an orbital period of 5.4 days. Approximately five times the size of Earth, the new planet is a "super-Neptune" and the youngest such planet known. The discovery lends unique insights into the origin of planetary system architectures.

Radio Doc Features Research and Outreach at McDonald Observatory

Radio Doc Features Research and Outreach at McDonald Observatory

A radio documentary about The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory has garnered KRTS, or Marfa Public Radio, a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for documentary news.