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On the 100th anniversary of Einstein's Theory of Relativity, Texas is poised to shine the first light on Dark Energy

The College of Natural Sciences' Marc Airhart interviews astronomers Gary Hill and Karl Gebhardt on HETDEX, the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment, in this second installment of a three part series on general relativity. Read more at:

Audio: The Race for Dark Energy

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[Ethan Tweedie Photography]

Texas telescope to explore dark energy

EarthSky's Deborah Byrd reports from McDonald Observatory on the $25 million upgrade to the Hobby-Eberly Telescope, and the central problem of modern physics, Dark Energy. more..

A time lapse of the glass for the GMT's fourth mirror melting, captured from inside the oven. (Source: Richard F. Caris Mirror Laboratory, University of Arizona)

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Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab's Roger Angel Inducted Into Inventors Hall of Fame

University of Arizona's Roger Angel, pioneer of large, parabolic mirrors, has been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. The lab's large potato chip shaped primary mirrors for the Giant Magellan Telescope are among the most ambitious ever attempted. more..

Early Galaxies More Efficient at Making Stars, Hubble Survey Reveals

AUSTIN — A study published in today’s Astrophysical Journal by University of Texas at Austin assistant professor Steven Finkelstein and colleagues reveals that galaxies were more efficient at making stars when the universe was younger. The announcement explains the team’s discovery, announced in the journal’s September 1 issue, that there are a lot more bright, highly star-forming galaxies in the early universe than scientists previously thought. "This was an unexpected result," Finkelstein said. "It has implications for galaxy formation at the earliest times" in the universe. For both studies, his team used galaxy observations from Hubble Space Telescope's CANDELS survey, of which he is a team member. more..

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Giant Magellan Telescope, World's Largest, Breaks Ground in Chilean Desert

ATACAMA DESERT, Chile — Leaders and supporters from The University of Texas at Austin’s McDonald Observatory, along with representatives from an international group of partner universities and research institutions, are gathering on a remote mountaintop high in the Chilean Andes today to celebrate groundbreaking for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). The ceremony marks the commencement of on-site construction of the telescope and its support base. The GMT is poised to become the world's largest telescope when it begins early operations in 2021. It will produce images 10 times as sharp as those delivered by the Hubble Space Telescope and will address key questions in cosmology, astrophysics and the study of planets outside our solar system. more..

See photos! of this historic groundbreaking ceremony.

hobby-eberly telescope

Upgraded Hobby-Eberly Telescope Sees First Light

FORT DAVIS, Texas — After several years and a massive team effort, one of the world's largest telescopes has opened its giant eye again. The Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) at The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory has completed a $25 million upgrade and, now using more of its primary mirror, has achieved "first light" as the world's third-largest optical telescope. "This upgrade makes HET the most powerful wide-field spectroscopic telescope worldwide, and we expect unique scientific discoveries from it," observatory director Taft Armandroff said. 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..

20 November 2015
Astronomy Program · The University of Texas at Austin
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