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    Giant Magellan Telescope Construction Approved

    The Giant Magellan Telescope's 11 international partners, including UT Austin, have unanimously approved its construction, securing the future of the project with more than $500 million to begin work on the world’s most powerful optical telescope. GMT is expected to see first light in 2021.

  • Fantastic New Photos!

    We've just posted a lot of beautiful new images of McDonald in our gallery. The images by Ethan Tweedie Photography are available for personal use or by news media. Take a look!

  • McDonald Observatory: Brain Motor

    Click to visit our YouTube channel to view this new 15-minute video overview of McDonald Observatory. Narrated by StarDate's Sandy Wood, it discusses our history and the cutting-edge science happening here today.

  • Ancient Solar System has 5 Earth-sized Planets

    McDonald Observatory's Dr. William Cochran and colleagues have discovered a solar system similar to ours dating back to the dawn of our Milky Way galaxy. Five planets with sizes between Mercury and Venus orbit the Sun-like star Kepler-444.

  • tidal disruption of a star

    Black Hole Chokes on a Star


    A small telescope at McDonald captured a bright flash that Craig Wheeler and colleagues followed up with the Hobby-Eberly Telescope and others. It turned out to be a black hole swallowing a star — and it's not going down easily.