Starting at 5 p.m. on March 13, McDonald Observatory is closing to visitors until at least April 19, to slow the spread of coronavirus. All public programs during this period are cancelled, and ticket holders will receive a refund. Science operations continue.
Astronomers have validated their first exoplanet with the Habitable Zone Planet Finder instrument on the Hobby-Eberly Telescope. About twice the size of Earth and possibly 12 times as massive, the planet could be similar to Neptune, but in miniature.
A team of astronomers led by Brendan Bowler 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.
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.
Arneb, the leading light of the constellation Lepus, the hare, is in the southwest as night falls, below brilliant Orion. Arneb is roughly 14 times the mass of the Sun. Such heavy stars burn out quickly, then explode as supernovae.