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From the College of Natural Sciences
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.

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.

Planet Probes, All the Rage Now, Have Deep Roots at UT Austin

Planet Probes, All the Rage Now, Have Deep Roots at UT Austin

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Update: In October 2019, exoplanet research by scientists at Princeton and the University of Geneva was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. Read on to learn about the UT connection to pioneering the search for planets beyond our solar system.

Two Postdocs Receive Fellowships to Study Extrasolar Planets

Two Postdocs Receive Fellowships to Study Extrasolar Planets

Two postdoctoral fellows in the Department of Astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin have received the 51 Pegasi b Fellowship from the Heising-Simons Foundation.

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.

Discoveries with Ties to UT Austin Rank Among Top Scientific Findings of the Year

Discoveries with Ties to UT Austin Rank Among Top Scientific Findings of the Year

Simulation of black holes colliding. Credit: SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes

Two amazing scientific discoveries, both with ties to the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin, were named the top 2 science stories of 2016 by Discover Magazine. Other major media outlets also included them in their year-end "best of" lists, including National Geographic, Science News, Science and the New York Times. A third story from the College of Liberal Arts and Jackson School of Geosciences, which solved the mystery of how the most famous human ancestor died, appears in Discover's top ten as well.

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.

Newly discovered planet could shed light on planetary evolution

Newly discovered planet could shed light on planetary evolution

University of Texas at Austin astronomer Andrew Mann and colleagues have discovered a planet in a nearby star cluster which could help astronomers better understand how planets form and evolve. The discovery of planet K2-25b used both the Kepler space telescope and the university's McDonald Observatory, and is published in a recent issue of the Astrophysical Journal.