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From the College of Natural Sciences
UT Astronomer Solves Mystery of 'Born Again' Stars

UT Astronomer Solves Mystery of 'Born Again' Stars

Astronomer Natalie Gosnell has used Hubble Space Telescope to better understand why some stars aren't evolving as predicted. These so-called "blue stragglers" look hotter and bluer than they should for their advanced age. It's almost as if they were somehow reinvigorated to look much younger than they really are.

Testing General Relativity

Testing General Relativity

This is the third of a three-part series on general relativity.

The Theory of General Relativity—Einstein's century-old description of gravity—presented physicists with some pretty bizarre predictions. To test them, scientists from the University of Texas at Austin have traveled to the Sahara Desert to observe a rare eclipse, launched into Earth orbit the densest known object orbiting anywhere in the Solar System, and used computers to model ripples in space and time unleashed by the mergers of black holes.

A team from the University of Texas at Austin constructed a temporary telescope house from plywood and styrofoam in the Sahara Desert to observe the bending of starlight by the sun during a total solar eclipse in June 1973. Photo: Richard Matzner.
Audio: The Race for Dark Energy

Audio: The Race for Dark Energy

This is the second of a three-part series on general relativity.

Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, which describes how gravity works, turns 100 this month. The theory has successfully explained a lot of what we observe out in the universe; but there are signs that it's incomplete. In the 1990s, astronomers observed that the expansion of the universe is speeding up, as if some mysterious force is pushing everything apart faster and faster. Nearly 20 years later, one of the biggest unanswered questions in science is: what is this dark energy? Not only was dark energy not predicted by general relativity, but its mere existence might mean that the theory needs to be tweaked or even replaced.

Can General Relativity, at 100, Withstand Some Holes?

Can General Relativity, at 100, Withstand Some Holes?

This is the first of a three-part series on general relativity. 

In November 1915, Albert Einstein stood before his colleagues in the Prussian Academy of Sciences and unveiled a set of equations that would forever change the way we see the universe. The Theory of General Relativity, Einstein's description of gravity, explained the motions of everything we see in the universe.

Giant Magellan Telescope, World’s Largest, Breaks Ground in Chilean Desert

Giant Magellan Telescope, World’s Largest, Breaks Ground in Chilean Desert

Leaders and supporters from The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory, along with representatives from an international group of partner universities and research institutions, are gathering on a remote mountaintop high in the Chilean Andes today to celebrate groundbreaking for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT).

Upgraded Hobby-Eberly Telescope Sees First Light

Upgraded Hobby-Eberly Telescope Sees First Light

After several years and a massive team effort, one of the world's largest telescopes has opened its giant eye again. The Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) at The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory has completed a $25 million upgrade and, now using more of its primary mirror, has achieved "first light" as the world's third-largest optical telescope.

The dome of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope sits in front of a backdrop of blue sky. Photo by Ethan Tweedie Photography.
Prof_iles: Steve Finkelstein

Prof_iles: Steve Finkelstein

Assistant professor and astronomer Steve Finkelstein can travel through time. Well, almost. He uses data from the Hubble Space Telescope to gaze beyond to the most distant galaxies in the universe. He studies galaxy evolution, and is on a quest to discover the origins of our Milky Way and life itself.

Visualizing Science 2015: Beautiful Images From College Research

Visualizing Science 2015: Beautiful Images From College Research

​As part of a continuing tradition, we invited faculty, staff and students in the College of Natural Sciences community to send us images this past spring that celebrated the magnificent beauty of science and the scientific process. Our goal was to find those moments where science and art become one and the same.

College Welcomes New Faculty in New Academic Year

College Welcomes New Faculty in New Academic Year

The College of Natural Sciences welcomes 11 new faculty this fall. Whether searching for evidence of exotic new physics, enabling the creation of personal robots, or addressing critical problems in cancer research, these industrious and innovative faculty members build on the college's reputation for pioneering research and research-based teaching.

Texas Astronomers Help Find Earth’s Older, Bigger Cousin

Texas Astronomers Help Find Earth’s Older, Bigger Cousin

University of Texas at Austin astronomers working with NASA’s Kepler mission have helped to discover the first near-Earth-sized planet around a Sun-like star in the “habitable zone,” the range of distances where liquid water could pool on a planet’s surface. They used the university’s McDonald Observatory to help confirm the finding, which has been...