McDonald Observatory Events and On-Site Programs

Tour the Hobby-Eberly Telescope, one of the world's largest optical telescopes. Safely view the Sun during our solar viewing programs. At night, learn the constellations and view stars and planets at our popular star parties. And now there's more to enjoy inside our new Visitors Center, including our Decoding Starlight exhibit, theater presentations, cafe, and gift shop. For current program times and prices, visit the website below!

See also: Our Star Party directory and list of publicly accessible telescopes.

Viewing Night on the 107-inch Harlan J. Smith Telescope at McDonald Observatory

View through the telescope and hear a professional astronomer describe his or her research for that night on the telescope. Includes a spectroscopy demonstration. For current information, visit the website below.

Fort Davis, TX
432-426-3640

Univ. of TX Public Viewing Night at RLM Hall

Viewing times change throughout the year. Check the website or call the number below for current times. Observing events are weather permitting. No reservations required. Adult supervision is required at all times for young children.

Austin, TX
512-471-5007

Univ. of TX Public Viewing Night at Painter Hall

Viewing times change throughout the year. Check the website or call number below for current times. Observing events are weather permitting. No reservations required. Adult supervision is required at all times for young children.

Austin, TX
512-471-5007

For More Information

Public and Group Viewing on UT Telescopes Info Page
McDonald Observatory Vistors Page

Volunteers Needed

Are you an amateur astronomer looking for an opportunity to share your knowledge and experience with the public? Do you have an RV or travel trailer and the freedom to spend several weeks (or more) at a remote dark-sky site?

The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory is looking for amateur astronomers to serve as site-volunteers to support the Observatory's extensive public programs. The Observatory's Visitors Center plays host to approximately 60,000 visitors each year, many of whom participate in the Center's array of outreach activities. Site-volunteers will assist with both daytime and nighttime activities including guided tours, star parties, special viewing nights, and summer scout night programs as well as other special programs at other times of the year. In exchange for a (minimum) four week, 20 hrs/wk (minimum, 12 evening/night hours & 8 daytime hours) commitment and upon successful completion of the application process, the site-volunteer will be granted access to one of the Observatory's RV sites (full hook-ups, etc., provided.) Other restrictions apply. Background check required.

For more information, please contact Frank Cianciolo, Sr. Programs Coordinator for the Frank N Bash Visitors Center at McDonald Observatory ([email protected], 432-426-4152.)

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