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From the College of Natural Sciences
Distant Giant Planets Form Differently than ‘Failed Stars’

Distant Giant Planets Form Differently than ‘Failed Stars’

A team of astronomers led by Brendan Bowler of The University of Texas at Austin has probed the formation process of giant exoplanets and brown dwarfs, a class of objects that are more massive than giant planets, but not massive enough to ignite nuclear fusion in their cores to shine like true stars.

Caroline Morley Receives Annie Jump Cannon Award

Caroline Morley Receives Annie Jump Cannon Award

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has awarded Caroline Morley, assistant professor of astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin, its 2020 Annie Jump Cannon Award in Astronomy for outstanding research and promise for future research by a postdoctoral woman researcher within five years of earning her PhD.

Texas Astronomer Helps NASA Planet Hunter Find its First Earth-Sized, Habitable-Zone World

Texas Astronomer Helps NASA Planet Hunter Find its First Earth-Sized, Habitable-Zone World

Artist illustration of TOI 700 d, the first Earth-size habitable-zone world discovered by TESS. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered its first Earth-size planet in its star's habitable zone, the range of distances where conditions may be just right to allow the presence of liquid water on the surface. A team of scientists, including Andrew Vanderburg of The University of Texas at Austin, confirmed the find, called TOI 700 d, using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and have modeled the planet's potential environments to help inform future observations.

Twin Astronomer Probes ‘DNA’ of Twin Stars to Reveal Family History of Milky Way

Twin Astronomer Probes ‘DNA’ of Twin Stars to Reveal Family History of Milky Way

Astronomer Keith Hawkins (left), an assistant professor at The University of Texas at Austin, is pictured with twin brother Kevin Hawkins. Credit: Rob Hardin

Twin stars appear to share chemical "DNA" that could help scientists map the history of the Milky Way galaxy, according to new research by astronomer Keith Hawkins of The University of Texas at Austin accepted for publication in The Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Top Texas Science Stories and Discoveries of 2019

Top Texas Science Stories and Discoveries of 2019

As we look back on 2019, it's been a year filled with fascinating discoveries and big developments in the College of Natural Sciences and beyond. Read on to see some of the highlights from this year in Texas Science.

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.

Celebrate Space at UT Austin

Celebrate Space at UT Austin

Star party on the University of Texas at Austin campus. Photo credit: Vivian Abagiu.

This week is World Space Week, an international celebration of science and technology offering space education and outreach from educational institutions across the globe. Here are some upcoming events to help you celebrate:

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.

5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Four Years of Undergrad Research

5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Four Years of Undergrad Research

Five graduating seniors share their tips for getting the most out of undergraduate research. Photo credit: Vivian Abagiu.

So you've been accepted to UT Austin's College of Natural Sciences. You've heard that doing research as an undergraduate will give you a leg up academically and in your career (really, research proves it). But how do you find a research lab to work in? How do you maximize the opportunity to work alongside some of the world's leading scientists and mathematicians? What do you do if you're on the brink of a big discovery, and then an overzealous cleaning crew throws out the colony of slugs it took you three months to raise and train in the lab?