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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

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

NGC 1600 A plain galaxy with a dark heart December 14, 2016

War Work Soldiering through a war December 8, 2016

More Reionization An early light in the young universe November 4, 2016

Galactic Grid Plotting the galaxy and beyond August 30, 2016

The Great War, IV War changes an astronomer’s destiny May 12, 2016

Robotic Telescopes Robots take over the telescopes April 26, 2016

Moon and Aldebaran Patiently watching the bull’s eye October 29, 2015

Hot Planet A world you wouldn’t want to visit October 12, 2015

Hunting Planets IV Patiently looking for planets August 28, 2015

Hunting Planets III Looking for big, cold planets August 27, 2015

Hunting Planets II More nights hunting for planets August 26, 2015

Hunting Planets Getting ready to hunt planets August 25, 2015

Featured Images

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

Otto Struve, first director of McDonald Observatory

First Director May 8, 2014

Autographs from the dedication of McDonald Observatory

Who's Who May 7, 2014

Construction of McDonald Observatory's 82-inch telescope, ca. 1934

Celebrating May 6, 2014

Participants in the McDonald Observatory dedication, May 5, 1939

Getting Started May 5, 2014

Diagram showing the layouts of several exoplanet systems

Going Farther April 30, 2014

Artist's concept of a range of recently discovered exoplanets

Planet Hunting April 28, 2014

A discharge of energy from the Z Machine at Sandia National Laboratories

Zapped! February 3, 2014

An early view of the primary mirror of McDonald Observatory's first telescope

Seeing the Light December 31, 2013

Technicians replace equipment for HETDEX at McDonald Observatory

On (and Off) Track November 4, 2013

Artist's concept of the Gamma Cephei star system

Stellar Geometry September 4, 2012

Horsehead Nebula photographed through a McDonald Observatory telescope

3D Horsehead December 20, 2011

Artist's concept of upgraded Hobby-Eberly Telescope

Facelift for Science June 3, 2011

Comet Hartley-2 from McDonald Observatory

Jolly Green Comet October 21, 2010

Hobby-Eberly Telescope at McDonald Observatory

Searching the Darkness October 15, 2010