Visit the Observatory
The McDonald Observatory is not a Federal facility and is therefore not affected by the current government shutdown. The Visitors Center remains open for regular business and all previously scheduled programs will be offered.
The Frank N. Bash Visitors Center is the public outreach center for McDonald Observatory in West Texas. We aim to inform, educate, and inspire the public with our programs.
The Visitors Center is your starting point for all public programs. Inside, exhibits explain what astronomers do at the observatory. The Visitors Center also includes a theater and gift shop.
The Visitors Center is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Central Time (and additional hours on Star Party nights) everyday except Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year's Days. Our public programs include daily tours of the large research telescopes, Star Parties under some of the darkest night skies in the continental United States, and Special Viewing Nights on some of the largest telescopes in the world routinely available for public observational programs.
All programs are subject to capacity limits. To ensure program participation, make advance reservations online.
Our Spring Break 2019 schedule is now posted! If you're visiting from March 9-23, please see this expanded schedule of programs.
Important: McDonald Observatory, part of the University of Texas at Austin, is located 450 miles west of Austin and is on Central Time. As a University of Texas campus, the Observatory grounds are "concealed carry" only.