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Major NSF Grant Accelerates Development for the GMT

The Giant Magellan Telescope project has received a $17.5M grant from the National Science Foundation to accelerate the prototyping and testing of some of the most powerful optical and infrared technologies ever engineered. UT Austin is a founding partner of the GMT.

Planet Hugging a Dead Star May Have Survived its Death Throes

A team of astronomers led by our Andrew Vanderburg has used the TESS and Spitzer space telescopes to discover what may be the first intact planet found closely orbiting a white dwarf, the dense leftover of a sun-like star. The work included follow-up observations with our Hobby-Eberly Telescope.

McDonald Observatory Will Reopen August 28

McDonald Observatory will reopen to the public, in a limited fashion, on Friday, Aug. 28. Beginning with a star party that night, the observatory’s Frank N. Bash Visitors Center will begin holding public programs again.

Unlocking the Secrets of Solar System Formation

Stella Offner and colleagues have proposed a new method for the formation of aluminum-26 in star systems that are forming planets. Its radioactive decay is thought to provide a heat source for the building blocks of planets, called planetesimals.

The Universe Doesn't Stop for the Pandemic

McDonald Observatory operated the largest optical telescope in the world that stayed online through the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping watch under the skies.