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McDonald Observatory

McDonald Observatory, a research unit of The University of Texas at Austin, is one of the world’s leading centers for astronomical research, teaching, and public education and outreach. Observatory facilities are located atop Mount Locke and Mount Fowlkes in the Davis Mountains of West Texas, which offer some of the darkest night skies in the continental United States.


Radio Programs

Star Parties Illuminating the beautiful night sky June 4, 2023

Dark Passage A big planet around a small star May 4, 2023

First Catalog A first catalog for a big project April 26, 2023

Betelgeuse II A runaway supergiant January 10, 2023

Yerkes Observatory The birthplace of astrophysics October 21, 2022

Radio Planet A new way to catch exoplanets September 1, 2022

Cooperative Planets Tracking down the details August 31, 2022

More Otto Struve Gunshots, lightning, and astronomy August 13, 2022

Otto Struve Building on a new opportunity August 12, 2022

Dark Skies Dark skies, bright stars June 16, 2022

Growing Planet Watching a young planet grow June 4, 2022

Looking Up The best place for galaxy hunting April 3, 2022

Dark Heart A small galaxy with a big black hole February 24, 2022

Moon and the Twins A companion for a “twin” star January 17, 2022

Moon and Aldebaran Informative ripples on a giant star November 19, 2021

Uranus at Opposition II A big entourage for a big planet November 4, 2021

Hunting ‘Little’ Quasars Hunting for some “little” quasars October 28, 2021

Out of the Fire Beautiful but dangerous locations February 11, 2021

Post-War Astronomy Preparing for post-war astronomy September 1, 2020

Proxima Centauri C Digging up a new planet August 24, 2020

Moon and Saturn Learning about a hidden moon June 8, 2020

Rescue! One scientist rescues another May 16, 2020

‘Windy’ Galaxies Busy galaxies that underperform March 25, 2020

Distant Planet Planet-hunting patience pays off July 25, 2019

Lunar Laser Aiming a laser pointer at the Moon July 22, 2019

Off to War Charging off to war June 3, 2019

New Telescope A cold kickoff for a big telescope November 26, 2018

Moon and Aldebaran Chilling a distant planet November 22, 2018

Van Biesbroeck’s Star A feeble stellar discovery October 27, 2018

Moon and Aldebaran The Moon inches farther away April 18, 2018

Early Light Looking for “fog” in the early universe December 15, 2017

Seeing Deep Looking deep into the early universe November 21, 2017

Giant Magellan Telescope II Getting to know distant planets August 10, 2017

HET Upgrade Upgrading a giant telescope August 8, 2017

Spying on Supernovae Keeping many eyes on exploding stars May 22, 2017

HETDEX A new look at ancient galaxies April 9, 2017

Dark Energy One of the great mysteries of the universe April 8, 2017

Giant Cannibal A giant star becomes a cannibal March 16, 2017

Super Supernovae Making a super-duper supernova January 16, 2017

Featured Images

stars spin around the Hobby-Eberly Telescope at McDonald Observatory

First Views April 26, 2023

artist's concept of a red-dwarf star and its possible planet

Listening for a Planet September 1, 2022

Otto Struve, 1917

Colorful Director August 13, 2022

hot gas spirals onto pds 70b, a planet orbiting a star in centaurus

Growing Planet June 4, 2022

Milky Way over McDonald Observatory

Seeing the Darkness April 7, 2022

A hot super-Earth

Super Planets May 8, 2021

one of the seven mirrors of the giant magellan telescope

Another Eye March 5, 2021

Wildfire at McDonald Observatory, 2011

Hazardous Duty February 11, 2021

The moons Titan and Dione in front of Saturn

Hazy Moon June 8, 2020

Harlan J. Smith Telescope

Golden Anniversary November 26, 2018

Artist's concept of Giant Magellan Telescope

New Giant August 9, 2017

Twilight over McDonald Observatory

A Civil Sky June 18, 2017

Evening view of Hobby-Eberly Telescope at McDonald Observatory

A New Era April 9, 2017

Sunset over the Davis Mountains

Earliest Sunsets December 1, 2016

Artist's concept of a young Jupiter-like planet

Young Giant August 27, 2015