Latest McDonald Observatory Stories

National Award For Outstanding Contributions To Public Understanding Of Astronomy Received By Mary Kay Hemenway
2013-07-02 17:34:20

The University of Texas McDonald Observatory The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) is bestowing its 2013 Klumpke-Roberts Award for outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy to Dr. Mary Kay Hemenway of The University of Texas at Austin. Past awardees include Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov. The award will be presented at the society's annual meeting in San Francisco on July 23. 'I'm so pleased to receive this award from a society for which I...

Best Viewing For The Leonid Meteor Shower Is Saturday, November 17, 2012
2012-11-16 10:02:42

The University of Texas McDonald Observatory The best viewing for this year's Leonid meteor shower will be several hours before dawn on November 17, according to the editors of StarDate magazine. The Moon will be below the horizon, so its light will not wash out any meteors. With clear skies, viewers can expect to see about 15 to 20 meteors per hour, though the shower has proved highly variable in recent years. Though the meteors will appear to originate from the constellation Leo,...

NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope Discovers Two Planets Orbiting Binary Star System
2012-08-29 08:58:00

Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Astronomers working with NASA´s Kepler mission have found the first evidence of multiple planets orbiting a binary star system. The discovery shows that planetary systems can form and survive in chaotic environments around a binary star system. Furthermore, the discovery suggests that earth-like planets can also exist in the habitable zone of their stars. The discovery was announced this week at the XXVIII General Assembly of...

Researching And Reaching Between Stars
2012-06-27 10:24:09

University of Texas astronomers use Lonestar supercomputer to explore role of dark matter in galaxy formation From Earth, observers use telescopes to look and learn about the distant luminous spheres. But the telescope often isn't the only instrument used. Karl Gebhardt, professor of astrophysics at The University of Texas at Austin and one of the principal investigators for the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX) project, makes revolutionary discoveries about dark...

2010-03-29 13:20:00

The planets Mercury and Venus will put on a good show for skywatchers throughout April, according to the editors of StarDate magazine. Mercury usually is difficult to see because it seldom moves far from the Sun, but April offers a good view of Mercury because the planet is farthest from the Sun for its evening appearance and because it appears close to Venus. Look for Mercury low in the west at sunset. It looks like a bright star. Much brighter Venus, the "evening star," helps point the...

2009-12-03 16:14:00

FORT DAVIS, Texas, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- It's a cosmic match of Epoxy and Urethane protection for the McDonald Observatory and Comex Industrial Coatings (CIC). The Comex Group is an integral part of the ongoing four phase rehabilitation project at the McDonald Observatory, a research unit of the University of Texas at Austin. Our CIC coatings ensure external asset protection, protecting the sensitive and expensive equipment housed in the various buildings. The Comex Group is proudly...

2008-11-19 08:10:00

A team of astronomers from Penn State and Nicolaus Copernicus University in Poland has discovered a new planet that is closely orbiting a red-giant star, HD 102272, which is much older than our own Sun. The planet has a mass that is nearly six times that of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. The team includes Alexander Wolszczan, the discoverer of the first planets ever found outside our solar system, who is an Evan Pugh Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the director...

2007-11-13 07:09:06

FORT DAVIS, Texas - Peruvian astronomers Jorge Melendez of The Australian National University and Ivan Ramirez of The University of Texas at Austin have discovered the best "solar twin" to date, using the 2.7-meter Harlan J. Smith Telescope at McDonald Observatory. Their findings suggest that the Sun's chemical composition is not unique, as some previously thought. The star, HIP 56948, is more like the Sun than any yet seen, and is 200 light-years away in the constellation Draco, the...

2007-05-26 09:35:00

AUSTIN, Texas -- University of Texas at Austin astronomers William Cochran and Michael Endl, working with graduate students Robert Wittenmyer and Jacob Bean, have used the 9.2-meter Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) at McDonald Observatory to discover a system of two Jupiter-like planets orbiting a star whose composition might seem to rule out planet formation. This NASA-funded study has implications for theories of planet formation. Cochran and Endl have been monitoring the star, HD 155358, since...

2005-12-02 12:42:10

Fort Davis, TEXAS -- After 31 years of tracking the light- output of a burnt-out star from telescopes at McDonald Observatory, astronomer S.O. Kepler of Brazil's Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul and a slew of University of Texas colleagues have found the most stable optical clock in the heavens. The finding has implications for theories of how stars live and die, and places limits on where planets can exist around this white dwarf. Their results are being published in today's...

Word of the Day
  • The call or cry of a bird or other animal to its mate or its young.
'Call-note' is newer than 'bird-call,' which originally referred to 'an instrument for imitating the note of birds' but now also refers to 'the song or cry of a bird.'