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From the College of Natural Sciences
Surveying Deepest Space to Understand Dark Energy

Surveying Deepest Space to Understand Dark Energy

HETDEX is the first major experiment to search for dark energy. It uses the giant Hobby-Eberly Telescope at McDonald Observatory and a set of spectrographs to map the three-dimensional positions of one million galaxies.

Two decades ago, Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt, and Adam Reiss shocked the world when they published research showing not only that the Universe was expanding, but that the expansion was occurring at an accelerating rate. The discovery came as a complete surprise even to the astronomers themselves, and netted them a Nobel Prize in 2011.

Public Outreach Programs Suspended in Response to COVID-19

Public Outreach Programs Suspended in Response to COVID-19

​The University of Texas at Austin's public-facing programs on campus and at museums, schools and science centers are currently suspended to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, the agent causing the COVID-19 pandemic.

McDonald Observatory Hires Teznie Pugh as New Superintendent

McDonald Observatory Hires Teznie Pugh as New Superintendent

The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory has hired Teznie Pugh as its new Superintendent, responsible for managing day-to-day operations at the West Texas site.

Planet Finder Validates Its First Habitable-Zone Exoplanet, a Mini Neptune

Planet Finder Validates Its First Habitable-Zone Exoplanet, a Mini Neptune

The Habitable Zone Planet Finder instrument. (Credit: Gudmundur Stefanssonn/Penn State)

Astronomers have validated their first exoplanet with the Habitable Zone Planet Finder instrument on the Hobby-Eberly Telescope, one of the world's largest telescopes, located at The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory.

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.

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.

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.