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Dark Sky Week May 7-11

Join McDonald Observatory in celebrating Dark Skies May 7-11 with special tours, science lectures, film screening, solar viewing, star parties, and more.

Astronomers Uncover Methane Emission on a Cold Brown Dwarf

Using new observations from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), astronomers have discovered methane emission on a brown dwarf, an unexpected finding for such a cold and isolated world. Published today in the journal Nature, the findings suggest that this brown dwarf might generate aurorae similar to those seen on our own planet as well as on Jupiter and Saturn.

NASA Awards Fellowships to Two UT Austin Postdocs

The highly competitive NASA Hubble Fellowship Program (NHFP) recently named 24 new fellows to its 2024 roster. Among the awardees are Jed McKinney, a postdoctoral fellow in The University of Texas at Austin, and Cheng-Han Hsieh, who will be joining UT Austin after completing his doctorate at Yale University this summer.

UT Astronomers Use JWST to Probe an Extreme Starburst Galaxy

A team of astronomers, including two from The University of Texas at Austin, has used NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to survey the starburst galaxy Messier 82 (M82). Located 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major, this galaxy is relatively compact in size but hosts a frenzy of star formation activity. For comparison, M82 is sprouting new stars 10 times faster than the Milky Way galaxy.

UT Astronomy Graduate Student Receives Fellowship to Study Exoplanets

The Heising-Simons Foundation has awarded Quang Tran, Ph.D. candidate in The University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Astronomy, one of its eight prestigious 51 Pegasi b Fellowships this year. Established in 2017, the fellowship provides postdoctoral scientists the opportunity to conduct theoretical, observational, and experimental research in planetary astronomy.