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Mirror Casting Event for the Giant Magellan Telescope on January 14

Giant Magellan Telescope Gets Another Mirror

TUCSON — On Jan. 14, the second 8.4-meter (27.6 ft) diameter mirror for the Giant Magellan Telescope, or GMT, will be cast inside a rotating furnace at the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory Mirror Lab underneath the campus football stadium. The mirror lab will host a special event to highlight this milestone in the creation of the optics for the Giant Magellan Telescope.

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Pair of Black Holes 'Weigh In' at 10 Billion Suns; Most Massive Yet

Pair of Black Holes Most Massive Yet

AUSTIN — A team of astronomers including Karl Gebhardt and graduate student Jeremy Murphy of The University of Texas at Austin have discovered the most massive black holes to date — two monsters weighing as much as 10 billion suns and threatening to consume anything, even light, within a region five times the size of our solar system.

The research is published in the December 8 issue of the journal Nature, in a paper headlined by graduate student Nicholas McConnell and professor Chung-Pei Ma of The University of California, Berkeley.

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NASA Mission, Texas Astronomers Collaborate to Find 'Goldilocks' Planet, Others

Texas Astronomers Help Find 'Goldilocks' Planet, Others

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. —This morning NASA announced the discovery of the first planet located in the "habitable zone" around a star — the "just-right" orbit that's not too hot, nor too cold for water to exist in liquid form, making life as we know it possible. Astronomers from The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory involved in this and other Kepler research will present their findings at the first Kepler Science Conference this week at NASA's Ames Research Center.

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Cosmic Explosion Explained Just in Time for Christmas; Texas-Korea Astronomical Partnership Contributes

Cosmic Explosion Explained Just in Time for Christmas

FORT DAVIS, Texas — An explosion far across the universe rattled astronomers last year on Christmas Day. Called a gamma-ray burst (GRB), it incited a flurry of activity from telescopes in space and on the ground, including the 2.1-meter Otto Struve Telescope at The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory. This year, just in time for Christmas, astronomers say they now know what happened — and it requires a new model for the origin of at least some GRBs.

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University of Texas at Austin Astronomer Sally Dodson-Robinson Receives Prestigious Career Grant from National Science Foundation

Sally Dodson-Robinson Receives NSF Career Grant

AUSTIN, Texas — University of Texas at Austin Assistant Professor Sally Dodson-Robinson has received a Faculty Early Career Development award of $363,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

These prestigious NSF awards, called CAREER grants, recognize promising young faculty members and support their research and education missions with five years of funding. Dodson-Robinson has so far been awarded $363,000 in support of her research program called "Giant Planets in Dusty Disks."

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Hubble Study Challenges 'Cosmic Fireworks' as Largest Driver of Galaxy Evolution

'Cosmic Fireworks' May Not be Largest Driver of Galaxy Evolution

AUSTIN — A Hubble Space Telescope study of massive galaxies two to three billion years after the Big Bang has uncovered two remarkable results that
challenge the common lore that major mergers play a dominant role in growing galaxies over a wide range of cosmic epochs.

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New Instrument Peers Through the Heart of the Milky Way

Instrument Peers Through Milky Way's Heart

News release provided by SDSSIII collaboration.

AUSTIN — Astronomy has a powerful new tool to probe the structure of our galaxy. The Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) spectrograph is the newest instrument deployed by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III (SDSS-III). McDonald Observatory astronomer Matthew Shetrone is the project's architect.

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