My bucket list is to visit the world’s great astronomical observatories. Since I’m in Austin, and got both my degrees from UT Austin, the first logical choice was to visit the Mcdonald Observatory in the mountains of Fort Davis, TX. I’ve been to MCD Observatory several times over my teaching career for workshops, these are images from my most recent trip. For travel details please see the very bottom of this page. The observatory page is located here:
To get there:
Well, it’s near I-10 near Fort Davis. To really do it right you might need a few nights because you wouldn’t want to go all that way and then have it rain on your star party evening. Plan perhaps 2 or 3 nights in the area. I highly recommend visiting and staying in Alpine TX. It is an extremely friendly little mountain town with great food and great bars. I stayed at the Maverick Inn, again, highly recommended.
Yes, Mcdonald has star parties!! They are worth going to, you will have the DARKEST skies you’ve ever seen, literally, you cannot see your hand in front of your face unless the moon is out. This is one of the last true dark sky areas in the USA.
The guides and instructors are top notch educators that actually live in the area and truly know the skies and the observatory. You’ll get a chance to see the skies through multiple large telescopes, it’s unlike any other star party you’ve been to, believe me.