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Bass Foundation Gift Strengthens Outreach at McDonald Observatory

McDonald Observatory is honored to announce a generous gift of $4 million from the Harry W. Bass Jr. Foundation. Funds will support updates to McDonald Observatory’s Frank N. Bash Visitors Center and improve and expand the Observatory’s visitor experience.

Free Star Parties for Texas Educators in August

Texas educators and their families are invited to join McDonald Observatory for a free Star Party in August. Register with discount code TeachStars and bring your school ID for free admission.

Astronomers Better Identify the Cygnus Loop’s Distance from Earth

The Cygnus Loop is the ethereal wreckage of a supernova explosion that occurred some 17,000-25,000 years ago. It is a cloud of dust and gas, called a nebula, steadily expanding outward from the original blast site. Though it is well researched, astronomers have struggled to precisely determine how far the Cygnus Loop is from Earth.

Giant Magellan Telescope Enclosure Ready for Construction

The University of Texas at Austin joined Giant Magellan Telescope and IDOM today in announcing that the telescope’s enclosure, set to be one of the world’s largest astronomical facilities, passed its final design review and is now ready for construction in Chile.

Galaxies Actively Forming in Early Universe Caught Feeding on Cold Gas

A team of astronomers has found a trio of galaxies that are in the process of gathering gas when the universe was only a few hundred million years old. “It was unexpected to see evidence for such thick gas not inside, but outside of these galaxies,” said Steven Finkelstein, astronomy professor at UT Austin. “This happens in the nearby universe, but it is very rare. It is apparently more common at early times."