Rebecca Gale Telescope Park
The original Public Observatory was dedicated in July of 1988 and was made possible through the generous donations of these Friends of McDonald Observatory: Mrs. W. Jean Kachelries, Mrs. Patsy Steves and the Marshall Steves, Jr., family, and Mr. Edwin Wiegand.
The centerpieces of the facility are two 20-foot Ash Domes that currently house a Meade Instruments 16" LX-200 telescope donated by the manufacturer, and a 22" classical cassegrain donated by Mr. Larry Forrest of Austin, Texas. Mr. Forrest also donated a 22" Newtonian telescope, which is utilized in the telescope park along with an exquisite 8" fixed eyepiece scope designed, built, and donated by Mr. John Gregory. The Alva Carlton family donated funds for our JMI NGT-12.5 12.5" telescope, and we also utilize 8" reflectors commercially available from Celestron and Meade telescopes, including a Meade LX-90 generously donated by Frank and Bonnie McElvaney.
Our most recent addition to the telescope park is a unique 18" telescope known as the Wren-Marcario Accessible Telescope, or WMAT. This telescope is the result of many years of R&D, and its main feature is a wheelchair-accessible fixed eyepiece. Regardless of where the telescope is pointed on the sky, the eyepiece is in a stationary location. Computer control also allow fast target acquisition for individual objects, or quick tours of the sky for a list of objects. The WMAT is named in honor of George B. Wren II (1917-1993), and Mike Marcario (1954-1998), and made possible by donations from Wayne Rosing and Dorothy Largay, Mike and Shirley Marcario, Mike I. and Dee Jones, Bill and Becky Wren, and anonymous donors. The telescope was dedicated at the Observatory on July 17, 2010.