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The Unexpected Journey of a Veteran Student and Astronomer

The educational journey of one exceptional student has taken her from translating Arabic in the Air Force to learning the secrets of the stars. Rebecca Larson is a Dean's Honored Graduate in Astronomy, who will receive bachelor's degrees in both astronomy and physics at Saturday's commencement ceremony. She returns to campus in the fall to pursue a Ph.D. in astronomy. more..

Marfa Public Radio Wins Edward R. Murrow Award for Documentary on McDonald Observatory

A radio documentary about The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory has garnered KRTS, or Marfa Public Radio, a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for documentary news. The story, part of KTRS' "West Texas Talk" segment, covers a broad range of issues relating to McDonald observatory, including light pollution and the search for dark matter. more..

Public Viewing Austin

RLM Hall 16" Telescope

Painter Hall 9" Telescope


Skywatcher's Report

McDonald Observatory's

Ask an Astronomer

Meeting Rooms




artist's conception

Supermassive Black Holes Suppress Star Formation in New Class of Galaxy

For most of their lives, galaxies are lush environments for turning gas into stars. Until they aren’t. Over the last few billion years, a mysterious kind of “galactic warming” has turned huge numbers of galaxies into deserts devoid of fresh young stars. The puzzle for astronomers has been identifying the unknown process that keeps the gas in these dormant galaxies too hot and energetic to form stars. Today, astronomers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), including Dr. Niv Drory of The University of Texas at Austin, are announcing the discovery of a new class of galaxies called "red geysers" that harbor supermassive black holes with winds that have the power to keep dormant galaxies quiet. more..

dr. brendan bowler

Brendan Bowler Wins Hubble Fellowship

AUSTIN — Astronomer Brendan Bowler of The University of Texas at Austin has been awarded a competitive Hubble Fellowship from NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), science center for the Hubble Space Telescope. "I congratulate Brendan Bowler on winning one of the most prestigious fellowships in astronomy to continue his work at McDonald Observatory," said Taft Armandroff, the observatory's director. Hubble Fellows conduct research related to the mission of NASA’s Cosmic Origins Program, which aims to examine the origins of galaxies, stars, and planetary systems, and the evolution of these structures with cosmic time. more..

First Discovery of a Binary Companion for a Type Ia Supernova

AUSTIN — A team of astronomers led by The University of Texas at Austin's Howie Marion has detected a flash of light from the companion to an exploding star. This is the first time astronomers have witnessed the impact of an exploding star on its neighbor. It provides the best evidence on the type of binary star system that leads to Type Ia supernovae. This study reveals the circumstances for the violent death of some white dwarf stars and provides deeper understanding for their use as tools to trace the history of the expansion of the universe. These types of stellar explosions enabled the discovery of dark energy, the universe’s accelerating expansion that is one of the top problems in science today. The work is published today in The Astrophysical Journal. more..

Frank N. Bash Visitor's Center

McDonald Observatory in West Texas welcomes the public with star parties, tours, exhibits, talks, special programs, and continuing education for teachers. Join us! in the beautiful Davis Mountains under some of the darkest skies in the continental United States.


The Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment will look back in time billions of years, and sample nearly one million galaxies, to map the expansion rate of the early universe. Learn more at

Giant Magellan Telescope

The University of Texas at Austin is a founding member of the consortium to build the world's largest ground based telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in La Serena, Chile. Construction is well under way. Learn more..

27 May 2016
Astronomy Program · The University of Texas at Austin
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