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From the College of Natural Sciences
Amateur Scientists Have Helped Astronomers Identify Nearly a Quarter-Million Galaxies

Amateur Scientists Have Helped Astronomers Identify Nearly a Quarter-Million Galaxies

The Hobby-Eberly Telescope collects images that citizen scientists use to identify galaxies in the Dark Energy Explorers project.

Astronomers on a historically ambitious and massive galaxy-mapping mission have activated more than 10,000 amateur scientists in 85 countries to help in their quest. Now they hope to significantly scale up their volunteer force for a unique project that could reveal for the first time the nature of dark energy.

You Can Help Decode the Universe!

You Can Help Decode the Universe!

Would you like to help astronomers understand more about the universe? McDonald Observatory astronomers are trying to learn more about dark energy — the mysterious force causing the universe to expand faster and faster over time. And now there is a fun and easy way anyone can help with their research, using a smartphone or computer.

HETDEX Project On Track to Probe Dark Energy

HETDEX Project On Track to Probe Dark Energy

Three years into its quest to reveal the nature of dark energy, the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX) is on track to complete the largest map of the cosmos ever. The team will create a three-dimensional map of 2.5 million galaxies that will help astronomers understand how and why the expansion of the universe is speeding up ov...
Science Faculty Featured in Newspaper’s Black in Academia Series

Science Faculty Featured in Newspaper’s Black in Academia Series

Over the summer, five faculty members in the College of Natural Sciences were spotlighted in a series by the Austin American-Statesman called Black in Academia. The purpose of the series was to explore the scientific research done by Black scientists at The University of Texas at Austin, as well as highlight the challenges they face in the academic world.

Three UT Austin Faculty Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Three UT Austin Faculty Elected to National Academy of Sciences

L to R: Mark Kirkpatrick, Katherine Freese and John Kormendy have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Astrophysicist Katherine Freese, astronomer John Kormendy and evolutionary biologist Mark Kirkpatrick of The University of Texas at Austin have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. They join 120 new members recognized by the academy this year for distinguished and continuing achievements in original scientific research.

Surveying Deepest Space to Understand Dark Energy

Surveying Deepest Space to Understand Dark Energy

HETDEX is the first major experiment to search for dark energy. It uses the giant Hobby-Eberly Telescope at McDonald Observatory and a set of spectrographs to map the three-dimensional positions of one million galaxies.

Two decades ago, Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt, and Adam Reiss shocked the world when they published research showing not only that the Universe was expanding, but that the expansion was occurring at an accelerating rate. The discovery came as a complete surprise even to the astronomers themselves, and netted them a Nobel Prize in 2011.

Katherine Freese Has Ideas to Support Detection of Dark Matter

Katherine Freese Has Ideas to Support Detection of Dark Matter

This summer the Department of Physics welcomed an astrophysicist whom Global Citizen put on a list of the "17 Top Female Scientists who have Changed the World," alongside names like Jane Goodall and Marie Curie.

Texas Astronomers Find that Dark Matter Dominates Across Cosmic Time

Texas Astronomers Find that Dark Matter Dominates Across Cosmic Time

This composite image of the dusty star-forming galaxy DSFG850.95 shows young stars, seen in blue from Hubble Space Telescope, and dust, seen in red by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. Credit: Patrick Drew (UT Austin)/STScI/ALMA

In findings published today in The Astrophysical Journal, University of Texas at Austin astronomers report that they have stumbled on an extraordinary galaxy that may corroborate a recently contested theory about dark matter.

Galaxy Movements Challenge Dark Matter Model

Galaxy Movements Challenge Dark Matter Model

Centaurus A. Photo courtesy of NASA.

A University of Texas at Austin astronomer has published a commentary in the journal Science noting that a new study on the movement of galaxies has the potential to either reinforce or change our understanding of how dark matter contributes to the motion of galaxies.

Upgraded Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dedicated, Enabling Dark Energy Survey and More

Upgraded Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dedicated, Enabling Dark Energy Survey and More

The world's third-largest telescope, the 10-meter Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) located at McDonald Observatory in West Texas, has completed a multiyear $40 Million upgrade to enable it to take on the biggest challenges in astronomy today: unraveling the mystery of dark energy, probing distant galaxies and black holes, discovering and characterizing planets around other stars and much more. The HET Board is celebrating with a dedication ceremony today.