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The mission of McDonald Observatory is to advance humanity's understanding of the universe through research in astronomy, to facilitate graduate and undergraduate education in astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin, to contribute to the public understanding of science in Texas and the nation, and to use astronomy as a tool to help Texas teachers meet state standards and excite Texas schoolchildren about careers in a scientific and technical field.

Dr. Taft Armandroff oversees McDonald Observatory and the Center for Advanced Studies in Astronomy, which is responsible for the Hobby-Eberly Telescope. Dr. Armandroff holds the Frank and Susan Bash Endowed Chair and is Director of McDonald Observatory. 

Core activities of the Center for Advanced Studies in Astronomy at McDonald are as follows:

  • To operate the Hobby-Eberly Telescope on behalf of the HET consortium comprising UT Austin, Penn State University, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, and Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

  • To catalyze construction of astronomical telescopes and instrumentation for observational research

  • To advance humanity's understanding of the Universe through forefront observational research in astronomy

  • To promote public education in astronomy through professional publications, public programs, and educational media