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A scientist discloses the truth about Santa Claus

Shared by UT astronomer Lara Nather on September 4, 2014

My father, R. Edward Nather, passed away on August 13, 2014. He was one of McDonald Observatory's most illustrious astronomers. Would you believe that when he passed at age 87, he still kept his observing suit?

All of you have "Ed Stories," so here is one of mine. In 1976, I was 6 years old and the youngest of Dad's children. That Christmas, Dad told my siblings and me that we had to spend the holiday at "the observatory," which to my child's ears simply meant "someplace foreign and unfamiliar."

Vacation with children

Shared by visitor John Clinton Hoyt on May 5, 2014

A highlight of our epic three week vacation, with 5 kids in a "Pop-Top VW" was the McDonald Observatory. Friends at the Moody Foundation, my customer, had urged be to go to the Observatory. Evidently the Moodys were big contributors, and I had done considerable work in their new building, American National Insurance Co., Galveston. I had seen photos in the Moody offices. Anyway the experience was "other worldly," to use a cliche'. I loved it and have returned many times. The kids now have kids and will be taking them soon.


Shared by visitor Shelly Hollen on April 15, 2014

My first visits to McDonald Observatory occurred in the seventies as a camper at Prude Ranch. One of our field trips was to the Observatory and what struck me the most wasn't the telescopes or skies, but the migration of thousands of ladybugs on every surface. It was a Milky Way of orange and black.

1970s Memories of McDonald

Shared by McDonald staff member Rhoda Silverberg on October 21, 2013

Eric and I arrived on the mountain from the east coast in December of 1969 where he would take charge of the laser project, his first job. McDonald was a wonderful place to live! We could see for miles out the living room window of House E where we lived until 1975 when the new houses were finished. It was a great place to raise children, and we made lifelong friends.

Nova computers

Shared by McDonald staff member Clint Janes on October 4, 2013

The Nova computer was a "16-bit minicomputer" introduced to McDonald Observatory around 1970 by Dr. Ed Nather for instrumentation control. In fact, Ed bought Nova SN 1 with drawings signed by Edson de Castro himself, the founder of the computer manufacturer, Data General Corporation. The machine was small enough to fit on a roll-around cart so that it could be easily used at the 30-inch or 36-inch telescope to control an instrument mounted to the back of the telescope.