Ah…West Texas. Open sky, clear nights.
While in West Texas, take advantage of your proximity to the world-famous McDonald Observatory and visit it. Located just 16 miles north west of Fort Davis, Texas, the astronomical facilities at McDonald Observatory are perched atop Mt. Locke, 6,791 feet above sea level. Tour the research facilities during daylight hours, and partake in the solar viewing parties. Dine on healthful, delicious food in the beautifully situated StarDate Cafe, which overlooks the mountains
Plan to stay the in a Fort Davis Bed and Breakfast, and join one of the Star Parties that the Observatory puts on every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, after dark. Make sure to arrive early enough to catch the Twilight Program, which starts some time between 6pm and 8pm, depending on the season. Periodic Special Viewing nights allow visitors the chance to look through either a 36″ telescope, 82″ telescope, or 107″ telescope. According to the McDonald Observatory website, visitors will “explore the spiral arms of our galaxy to find nebulae and star clusters. Nebulae are the birthplace of new stars, but are also formed in the violent throes of stellar death and are quite beautiful. Young clusters of stars shine with the brilliant light of young, hot stars, while the oldest denizens of the Milky Way, the globular star clusters, contain hundreds of thousands of stars as old as the galaxy itself. We’ll take a look at galaxies beyond the Milky Way to put our stellar city in perspective.” The website goes on to warn that participants may never again be satisfied with their personal telescopes.
Travel to West Texas, and visit the McDonald Observatory. It will rock your world.