Texas Trip Notes: Stargazing at McDonald Observatory

“I am stardust, comets, nebulae and galaxies.  I am trees and wind and stone.  I am space.  I am emptiness and wholeness at the same time.”
— Richard Wagamese, Embers: One Ojibway’s Meditations

View from Hwy 17 between Marfa and Fort Davis

Before parting ways with my brother and sister-in-law, we spent one more evening together in Fort Davis.  We had tickets to the McDonald Observatory’s Twilight Program and Star Party.

One of the best things about our time in Big Bend country was the clarity of the night sky.  I can’t remember ever seeing so many stars.  And in the dead of night, we could see the Milky Way.  So I was looking forward to viewing some heavenly objects through the big telescopes at McDonald Observatory.

McDonald Observatory telescopes

We were crossing our fingers when we arrived at the Observatory, worried that our Star Party might be cancelled due to clouds that  had moved in.  But we were lucky.  There was a window of clearing overhead when darkness arrived, and we had the opportunity to look in three different telescopes before the clouds brought an end to the party.  We saw a spiral galaxy, Jupiter with four of its moons, and the lunar surface.

I wish I knew how to take photos of the night sky to share with you.  Here is one I found on the internet:

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