Free Fun for All at McDonald Observatory Open House This Saturday

7 May 2007

FORT DAVIS, Texas — Y’all come to McDonald Observatory’s Open House on Saturday, May 12! Everyone is welcome, and admission and all programs will be free to the public that day. We’ve got a full slate of activities, starting at 10 a.m. and running to 11:30 p.m. We’ll give out free hotdogs and bottled water for lunch, while they last.

In addition to our regular tours and solar viewings, astronomers will be demonstrating our research telescopes multiple times throughout the day. Several science talks are on offer, including McDonald Observatory’s plan to solve the mysteries of “dark energy,” that mysterious force causing the universe’s expansion to speed up. Another talk will illustrate work at McDonald to detect asteroids with the potential to collide with Earth.

Additionally, transportation will be provided for free tours of The Davis Mountain Preserve, to be conducted by The Nature Conservancy.

Things won’t slow down in the evening. We’ll have live music from West Texas’ own Hungry 5 Oompah Band at the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center. Visitors will be treated to our popular twilight program, and round out the night with spectacular telescope views of planets, nebulae, and galaxies at one of our famous star parties in our public telescope park (weather permitting).

For more information and a link to the complete schedule of events in PDF format, please see the Open House homepage.

Special media events are planned for the Open House; RSVPs to Rebecca Johnson will be greatly appreciated. Media are requested to check in at the Information Desk at the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center to receive a press kit and lunch voucher for an 11:45 a.m. lunch in the StarDate Café. At 12:50 p.m., we’ll have a press briefing by McDonald Observatory astronomers. They will describe their plan to tackle dark energy, arguably the biggest problem in all of science today, with the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX). Afterwards, we’ll have a press tour of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope to learn how it’s being modified for the HETDEX project.


Visitors enjoying a star party at the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center at McDonald

Star Party

In this aerial view, the two large domes in the foreground are the 2.1-meter Str

Aerial View of McDonald Observatory

Frank N. Bash Visitors Center