AUSTIN, Texas — J. Craig Wheeler has studied the exploding stars called supernovae for more than four decades. Now he has a new idea on the identity of the "parents" of one of the most important types of supernovae — the Type Ia, those used as "standard candles" in cosmology studies that led to the discovery of dark energy, the mysterious force causing the universe's expansion to speed up.
The first mirror for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), a major next-generation telescope in which The University of Texas at Austin is a founding partner, is now completed.
Becoming operational in the next decade under dark southern-hemisphere skies, GMT will lead a new generation of giant telescopes that will explore planets around other stars and the formation of stars, galaxies and black holes in the early universe.
As it does each year, early fall brings crisper air, turning leaves, and the Orionid meteor shower. This year’s best viewing will be in the several hours around midnight Oct. 20 and before dawn on Oct. 21, according to the editors of StarDate magazine.
At its late-night peak, this year’s shower is expected to produce about 25 meteors per hour. The first-quarter moon will set around midnight, so its light will not interfere with the celestial show.
CANDELS team discovers dusty galaxies at ancient epoch with Hubble Space Telescope; tracks build-up of star- and planet-forming material
AUSTIN — Dust is an annoyance in everyday life, but an important building block of stars and planets. As such, astronomers need to understand how cosmic dust forms over time — it's an integral step in figuring out the evolution of galaxies, and the stars and planets within them.
Astronomers measure largest-ever magnetic field around massive star, time its slow rotation as it drags around giant cloak of trapped particles
FORT DAVIS, Texas — A group of astronomers led by Gregg Wade of the Royal Military College of Canada have used the Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) at The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory and the Canada-France Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) on Hawaii's Mauna Kea to measure the most magnetic massive star yet. Their work is published in today's issue of the research journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
FORT DAVIS, Texas — NASA's Kepler mission has found the first multi-planet solar system orbiting a binary star, characterized in large part by University of Texas at Austin astronomers using two telescopes at the university's McDonald Observatory in West Texas. The finding, which proves that whole planetary systems can form in a disk around a binary star, is published in today's issue of the journal Science.
AUSTIN, Texas — A team of astronomers led by researchers from The University of Texas at Austin has confirmed the emission of gravitational waves from the second-strongest known source in our galaxy by studying the shrinking orbital period of a unique pair of burnt-out stars. Their observations tested Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity in a new regime. The results will be published soon in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Eiichiro Komatsu shares $500,000 Gruber Cosmology Prize with WMAP satellite team, for fundamental discoveries on the age, make-up, shape, and origin of the universe
New York, N.Y. — The Gruber Foundation and the International Astronomical Union recently announced that the members of the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) team, including University of Texas at Austin professor Eiichiro Komatsu, are the recipients of the 2012 Gruber Cosmology Prize. Komatsu is the director of the university's Texas Cosmology Center.
FORT DAVIS — Ten high school students are spending the week at McDonald Observatory learning to use telescopes to support a study of one of the biggest mysteries in science today: dark energy. They are also sharing their experiences using social media.
FORT DAVIS, Texas — Astronomers from The University of Texas at Austin and Wesleyan University have used the Hobby-Eberly Telescope at UT Austin’s McDonald Observatory to confirm that a Jupiter-size planet in a nearby solar system is dissolving, albeit excruciatingly slowly, because of interactions with its parent star. Their findings could help astronomers better understand star-planet interactions in other star systems that might involve life.