painter hall dome

Public Viewing Austin

RLM 16" Telescope

Painter Hall 9" Telescope


Skywatcher's Report


Hot Chromospheres and Flares on Cool and Ultracool Dwarfs


Sarah Jane Schmidt

Ohio State University

Tues., Sep 2, 3:30 PM
RLM 15.216B

Full Schedule

McDonald Observatory
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97-point grid

97-point grid of the spherical plane of focus. [John Good]

HETDEX Update: Tracking Sphere

Mechanical Engineer John Good was in West Texas in late July to run point tests with HET's new tracker. The tracker sits 13 meters above the stationary primary mirror array, and moves within six axes (hexapod), to track stars. The image above defines the contact lens shaped plane along which the tracker must move to both track a star and maintain focus. These plotted, six axis measurements are accurate enough to quantify the deflection of the HET frame as the tracker assembly moves. The 20-ton, automated tracker will routinely traverse the focal sphere with a precision of a few microns, about 1/10th the diameter of a human hair.

Keep up with the HET Wide Field Upgrade at HET Blog.

São Paulo, Brazil to Join Giant Magellan Telescope Project

McDonald Observatory and Giant Magellan Telescope Organization Joint News Release

24 July 2014

giant magellan telescope

Two 'Goldilocks Planets' of Gliese 581 Proven Mirage

McDonald Observatory Press Release

3 July 2014

New Data Uncovers Surprise: Globular Clusters Rotate at Heart

McDonald Observatory Press Release

9 May 2014

75th anniversary logo

McDonald Observatory

Under dark skies in West Texas, McDonald Observatory hosts a wide range of research telescopes and instrumentation for astronomers, including the 9.2 meter Hobby-Eberly Telescope. The observatory also welcomes the public, with exhibits and talks at the Frank N. Bash Visitor's Center, and regular star parties in the Rebecca Gale Telescope Park.

75th anniversary artwork

75th Anniversary

In 2014, McDonald Observatory marks 75 years since the West Texas dedication ceremony, May 5, 1939. Lectures and special events will be held in Austin, in the Davis Mountains, and many other locations around Texas throughout the year. Please join us!

giant magellan telescope

Giant Magellan Telescope

The University of Texas at Austin is a partner in an international consortium of science institutions building the next generation, 24.5 meter, Giant Magellan Telescope at Las Campanas, Chile. Construction has begun at this premier viewing site! Spincasting of the telescope's third, 8 meter, primary mirror began in August 2013 at Arizona's Steward Observatory Mirror Lab.

hobby-eberly telescope dark energy experiment

Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment

In August 2013, an upgrade began for the 9.2 meter Hobby-Eberly Telescope. A widened field of view, and 150 integral field spectrographs will give HET the ability to map the expansion of the early universe. On schedule to begin in 2014, the HETDEX survey will precisely measure more than 800,000 galaxies, to examine their distribution as the universe evolved.

texas cosmology center

Texas Cosmology Center

The Texas Cosmology Center was established to facilitate interdisciplinary efforts in Cosmology between the departments of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin. As a public outreach effort, four videos have been produced featuring Texas cosmologists, on Black Holes, Cosmic Inflation, Dark Energy and Dark Matter.



StarDate is a public education and outreach arm of McDonald Observatory. StarDate radio, featuring science, astronomy, and observing tips, airs daily on nearly 300 stations. Bi-monthly StarDate magazine features sky tips, charts, and astronomy and space exploration news. StarDate also offers resources to teachers, the media, and the public.