New & Updated

December 10, 2014

Our special 32-page January/February issue delivers skywatching tips, anniversaries in astronomy and spaceflight, and more for each month, as well as the scoop on next year’s meteor showers and eclipses. Get your copy today.

2014 Sky Almanac
December 4, 2013

The next issue of StarDate magazine is the Sky Almanac 2014. We'll bring you skywatching tips and charts for every month of the year, along with anniversaries in astronomy and space, plus events around the country. The issue will commemorate McDonald Observatory's 75th anniversary.

October 10, 2013

Engineers and astronomers are working on upgrading the Hobby-Eberly Telescope in preparation to begin the HET Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX). Read about the telescope upgrade, and find out more about HETDEX, a project to study one of the most fundamental mysteries in science today.

McDonald Observatory's 75th Anniversary Celebration is Under Way
September 10, 2013

The University of Texas at Austin’s McDonald Observatory will reach the 75th anniversary of its dedication on May 5, 2014. The Observatory plans a full year of activities around Texas to celebrate. Events have already begun, and will run through August 2014. Plans include a speakers series featuring McDonald Observatory astronomers in multiple cities, an Open House at the Observatory, and more.

An infrared view of NGC 4395. [NASA/IPAC]
July 15, 2013

Some black holes are big and bold, making it fairly easy for astronomers to find them. Others, however, are so small and feeble that finding them takes more time, effort, and cleverness. NGC 4178 and NGC 4395 from the Black Hole Encyclopedia are two recently confirmed examples.

May 1, 2013

The black hole in the system MAXI J1659-152 appears to have lived up to its reputation. Over the last few billion years, the black hole may have slowly devoured most of a companion star, leaving behind only a tiny remnant that is continuing to pour material into the black hole. This process has pulled the two objects into the tightest orbit yet observed for a black-hole system.

March 19, 2013

Wherever your summer travels take you, use the StarDate Telescopes Guide to find an observatory, planetarium, astronomy club, or other group that offers views of the night sky through a telescope. We've added more than 40 locations to our listings, bringing the total to 75, spread across most of the states, from Maine to Hawaii. Many are free, while others charge only a nominal fee.

December 11, 2012

The shower will be at its best after dark on Thursday, December 13, and before dawn on Friday, December 14. The Moon is new on the 13th, so it won’t interfere with the show. Named for Gemini, the twins, this shower can be one of the year’s best, with some of the brightest meteors, although its peak viewing time is shorter than that of some other showers.

December 7, 2012

From the Pacific to the Atlantic, people will be gathering across America throughout 2013 to share the wonders of the night sky.

November 1, 2012

Take our new online quiz and win a printed poster for HETDEX, the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment. All the answers can be found in the HETDEX web site, so you can catch up with the science of this cutting-edge research project.


©2015 The University of Texas McDonald Observatory