The University of Texas at Austin’s McDonald Observatory today shared in announcing the start of hard rock excavation for the Giant Magellan Telescope’s (GMT’s) massive concrete pier and the foundations for the telescope’s enclosure on its site at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. McDonald Observatory is a founding partner of the international collaboration building the GMT, which will be the world’s largest telescope when completed in the next decade.
FORT DAVIS, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory has collaborated with the Permian Basin Petroleum Association (PBPA) and the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA) to reduce light shining into the sky from drilling rigs and related activities in West Texas. The excess light has the potential to drown out the light from stars and galaxies, and threatens to reduce the effectiveness of the observatory's research telescopes to study the mysteries of the universe.
The spectacular merger of two neutron stars that generated gravitational waves announced last fall likely did something else: birthed a black hole, according to a team of researchers including Pawan Kumar and J. Craig Wheeler of The University of Texas at Austin. This newly spawned black hole would be the lowest mass black hole ever found.
Astrophysicists will conduct experiments designed to re-create the physical environment inside stars, with a new $7 million grant that the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) has awarded to The University of Texas at Austin. This work could help astronomers reduce uncertainties about the sizes and ages of super-dense objects known as white dwarf stars.
The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory has entered into a partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) to train park rangers in bringing the wonders of the night sky to their visitors. The observatory also will create outreach programs for the park service.
Two postdoctoral fellows in the Department of Astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin have received the 51 Pegasi b Fellowship from the Heising-Simons Foundation.
Washington, D.C. — Dr. Caitlin Casey of The University of Texas at Austin has been awarded the Newton Lacy Pierce Prize by the American Astronomical Society today at its semi-annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The organization awards the prize each year for “outstanding early-career achievement in observational astronomical research based on measurements of radiation from an astronomical object.”
The discovery of an eighth planet circling the distant star Kepler-90 by University of Texas at Austin astronomer Andrew Vanderburg and Google’s Christopher Shallue overturns our solar system’s status as having the highest number of known planets. We're now in a tie.
The Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO) and its founding partners, including The University of Texas at Austin, are pleased to announce that two contracts have been awarded this week to advance the design of the Giant Magellan Telescope mount. This will lead to a final selection next year of the contractor to fabricate and deliver the structure.
Astronomers expect that the first galaxies, those that formed just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang, would share many similarities with some of the dwarf galaxies we see in the nearby universe today. These early agglomerations of a few billion stars would then become the building blocks of the larger galaxies that came to dominate the universe after the first few billion years.