Texas Regents Authorize $50 Million for UT Austin Share in Giant Magellan Telescope

Regents Authorize $50 Million for UT-Austin toward GMT

Joint news release with the University of Texas System

The University of Texas System Board of Regents Friday authorized UT Austin to spend $50 million to participate in building the Giant Magellan Telescope project, which will be the world’s largest telescope when it’s completed in 2020. The project will give students, researchers and faculty the opportunity to make groundbreaking discoveries in astronomy. 

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Giant Magellan Telescope Poised to Enter Construction Phase, Texas Astronomy Program Announces

Giant Magellan Telescope Poised to Enter Construction Phase

AUSTIN — The upcoming world’s largest telescope has passed two critical milestones, according to founding partner The University of Texas at Austin. The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) has passed major reviews on its design and cost estimates and is ready to proceed to construction.

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Leading Astronomer Taft Armandroff Appointed New Director of McDonald Observatory

Armandroff Appointed New Director of McDonald Observatory

Astronomer Taft Armandroff has been appointed the new director of The University of Texas at Austin’s McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis, Texas. 

Armandroff, who is currently director of the W.M. Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawai’i, will join the university in June 2014. 

He succeeds David Lambert, who, as the observatory’s third director, propelled the observatory to national prominence. Lambert will resume his position as a full-time faculty member in the Department of Astronomy. 

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Texas Astronomer Discovers Most Distant Known Galaxy

Texas Astronomer Discovers Most Distant Known Galaxy

AUSTIN, Texas — University of Texas at Austin astronomer Steven Finkelstein has led a team that has discovered and measured the distance to the most distant galaxy ever found. The galaxy is seen as it was at a time just 700 million years after the Big Bang.

Sky Survey Captures Key Details of Cosmic Explosions

Sky Survey Captures Details to Cosmic Explosions

A pair of recently published studies shed light on the study of the exploding stars known as supernovae. One of these teams includes University of Texas at Austin supernova expert and professor J. Craig Wheeler.

“We are in a new world of identifying supernova progenitor stars and the explosions very early, allowing more thorough study,” Wheeler said. “The event iPTF13bvn allowed both,” he added, referring to the study published September 20 in The Astrophysical Journal.

McDonald Observatory Celebrates 75 Years of Discovery

McDonald Observatory Celebrates 75 Years of Discovery

A yearlong celebration is underway to celebrate the 75th anniversary of The University of Texas at Austin’s McDonald Observatory. Located in West Texas near Fort Davis, the observatory was dedicated May 5, 1939, and has supported some of the most important astronomical discoveries of recent decades about everything from extrasolar planets to exotic stars to black holes.

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Texas Astronomers Unravel 20-Year Dark Matter Mystery with New Computer Models

Unraveling a 20-Year Dark Matter Mystery

AUSTIN — Astronomers at The University of Texas at Austin believe they have discovered the answer to a 20-year debate over how the mysterious cosmic “dark matter” is distributed in small galaxies. Graduate student John Jardel and his advisor Karl Gebhardt found that the distribution, on average, follows a simple law of decreasing density from the galaxy’s center, although the exact distribution often varies from galaxy to galaxy. The findings are published today in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Texas Astronomers Use ALMA to Reveal Luminous Starbirth in the Milky Way

Revealing Starbirth in the Milky Way with ALMA

Release text courtesy of the Joint ALMA Observatory

Thanks to data detected with the ALMA radio telescope, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, University of Texas at Austin astronomers and others were able to detect a star in formation — a protostar — that appears to be one of the brightest and massive found in our galaxy. 

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