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From the College of Natural Sciences

Communications Manager at the University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory. Contact me.

UT Austin Astronomer Spies Most Distant Dusty Galaxy Hidden in Plain Sight

UT Austin Astronomer Spies Most Distant Dusty Galaxy Hidden in Plain Sight

Artist impression of what MAMBO-9 would look like in visible light. The galaxy is very dusty and it has yet to build most of its stars. Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF, B. Saxton.

Astronomer Caitlin Casey of The University of Texas at Austin has used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to spot the light of a massive galaxy seen just 970 million years after the Big Bang. This galaxy, called MAMBO-9, is the most distant dusty star-forming galaxy that has ever been observed without the help of a gravitational lens.

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Giant Magellan Telescope Signs Contract for Telescope Structure

Giant Magellan Telescope Signs Contract for Telescope Structure

The latest design of the GMT enclosure, telescope and site at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile . Credit: M3 Engineering and GMTO Corporation.

GMTO Corporation, the organization managing the development of the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) on behalf of its U.S. and international founders, has signed a contract with MT Mechatronics and Ingersoll Machine Tools to design, build and install the telescope's precision steel structure.

Newly Discovered Giant Planet Slingshots Around its Star

Newly Discovered Giant Planet Slingshots Around its Star

Harlan J. Smith Telescope at the University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory. Photo credit: Bill Nowlin Photography.

Astronomers at The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory, along with colleagues at Caltech and elsewhere, have discovered a planet three times the mass of Jupiter that travels on a long, egg-shaped path around its star. If this planet were somehow placed into our own solar system, it would swing from within our asteroid belt to out beyond Neptune. Other giant planets with highly elliptical orbits have been found around other stars, but none of those worlds were located at the very outer reaches of their star systems like this one.

The New Voice of StarDate

The New Voice of StarDate

StarDate Radio is announcing today that Billy Henry is the program's new voice. Henry, an Austin-based voice talent, musician, composer, and college lecturer, becomes the third narrator of the program in its 41-year history. He assumes the title from Sandy Wood, who retired from the program yesterday. Henry's first program airs today.

StarDate’s Sandy Wood to Retire

StarDate’s Sandy Wood to Retire

Sandy Wood, the popular and charismatic announcer of the StarDate radio program, is retiring after 28 years on the air. Her final episode will air July 16.

McDonald Observatory’s 80th Anniversary Kicks Off at State Capitol

McDonald Observatory’s 80th Anniversary Kicks Off at State Capitol

McDonald Observatory was honored by the Texas State Legislature for its 80th anniversary. This photo shows the 2.1-meter Struve Telescope (left) and the 2.7-meter Smith Telescope (right) atop Mt. Locke. The Hobby-Eberly Telescope can been seen atop Mt. Fowlkes in the distance between them. Photo credit: Damond Benningfield

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory is celebrating its 80th anniversary, and it started today with an event at the Capitol. Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 60, authored by Texas state Sen. José Rodríguez to honor the anniversary, passed this morning on the Senate floor. Texas state Rep. Poncho Nevárez will sponsor the resolution in the House. Located near the West Texas town of Fort Davis, McDonald Observatory falls into the districts of both lawmakers.

Undergraduate-Led Team Discovers Two New Planets Using Artificial Intelligence

Undergraduate-Led Team Discovers Two New Planets Using Artificial Intelligence

Undergraduate astronomy student Anne Dattilo and colleagues used artificial intelligence to discover two exoplanets in data collected by the Kepler space telescope.

Astronomers at The University of Texas at Austin, in partnership with Google, have used artificial intelligence (AI) to uncover two more hidden planets in the Kepler space telescope archive. The technique shows promise for identifying many additional planets that traditional methods could not catch.

Habitable Zone Planet Finder Enables Discovery of Planets Around Cool Stars

Habitable Zone Planet Finder Enables Discovery of Planets Around Cool Stars

The dome of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope, which now houses a new instrument for finding planets around cool stars: the Habitable Zone Planet Finder. Photo credit: Ethan Tweedie Photography.

A new astronomical spectrograph provides the highest precision measurements to date of infrared signals from nearby stars, allowing astronomers to detect planets capable of having liquid water on their surfaces that orbit cool stars outside our solar system. The Habitable Zone Planet Finder (HPF) allows precise measurement of a star's radial velocity, measured by the subtle change in the color of the star's spectra as it is tugged by an orbiting planet, which is critical information in the discovery and confirmation of new planets.

Thousands of Stars Observed Turning into Crystals for the First Time

Thousands of Stars Observed Turning into Crystals for the First Time

White dwarf star in the process of solidifying. Credit: University of Warwick/Mark Garlick.

The first direct evidence of crystallized white dwarf stars has been discovered by an international team of researchers that includes an astronomer at The University of Texas at Austin. Predicted half a century ago, the direct evidence of these stars will be published tomorrow in the journal Nature.

J. Craig Wheeler Shares Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award

J. Craig Wheeler Shares Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) announced today at its semi-annual meeting in Seattle that J. Craig Wheeler and David Branch will share its Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award for 2019. Wheeler is the Samuel T. and Fern Yanagisawa Regents Professor of Astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin.