New Telescope Dedicated at McDonald Observatory

31 October 2019

FORT DAVIS, Texas — A new telescope was dedicated yesterday at The University of Texas at Austin’s McDonald Observatory. The 1-meter telescope, funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation, is part of the Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) global network of robotic telescopes.

“We are very pleased to host this new telescope and to conduct additional research by Texas astronomers on the LCO network, and we thank the Heising-Simons Foundation and the Las Cumbres Observatory for making this additional research tool possible,” said Taft Armandroff, Director of McDonald Observatory.

The new telescope is the second LCO telescope of this size at McDonald. The first was dedicated in 2012, and also was the first 1-meter telescope to come online in LCO’s global network. Today, the network also includes telescopes in Hawaii, Chile, South Africa, Israel, the Canary Islands, and Australia.

The LCO telescopes at McDonald provide additional science resources to the faculty, research scientists, and graduate students of the UT Austin astronomy program. In exchange for hosting the telescopes, Texas astronomers are granted access to LCO’s entire network.

Texas astronomers use the LCO telescopes for a variety of research projects, including hunting for extrasolar planets and studying the exploding stars known as supernovae. The addition of a new LCO telescope at McDonald doubles UT Austin astronomers’ share of observing time on the network.

The dedication ceremony featured remarks from representatives of the Heising-Simons Foundation, Las Cumbres Observatory, and McDonald Observatory.

Assistant Director Anita Cochran delivered a presentation that she and Director Taft Armandroff developed on “Key Science Areas Where LCO Will Help Texas Faculty, Students, and Postdocs.” Following her remarks, McDonald astronomer Cynthia Froning presented a talk entitled “Working Together: What Ground and Space Telescopes Can Tell Us about the Habitability of Exoplanets Around Dwarf Stars.”

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Media Contacts:

Rebecca Johnson, Communications Manager
McDonald Observatory
The University of Texas at Austin

Sandy Seale, Director of Development
Las Cumbres Observatory

Science Contact:

Taft Armandroff, Director
McDonald Observatory
The University of Texas at Austin

LCO dome 2

Dome of 2nd LCO 1-meter Telescope

LCO 1m telescope

LCO 1-meter Telescope