After years of hearing StarDate on NPR, I knew that the McDonald Observatory was a worthy destination on my Hemicentennial (50th Birthday) Celebration roadtrip. I decided to leave Seattle and drive to various astronomy-related sites ending with a visit to the McDonald Observatory (and my son who was living in Marfa). I started in Seattle and drove to The Griffith observatory in L.A., Kitt Peak Observatory in Tucson, the VLA in Soccoro, NM, and finally to the McDonald in Ft. Davis.
McDonald staff members
Shared by visitor Melissah Watts on July 28, 2014
Starry, Starry Night
Shared by teacher workshop participant Jody Harkrider on April 13, 2014
I had forgotten what a truly dark sky could produce ... the magic, the infinity, the glorious majesty, and the over whelming feeling of being a part of something far greater than everyday life. The abundance of stars crashed over me like a giant wave the instant I walked out of the transient quarters at the McDonald Observatory in west Texas late one July night. I was one of 16 teachers chosen to broaden their astronomical horizons through the American Astronomical Society Teacher Resource Agent program (AASTRA). Dr. Mary Kay Hemenway and her graduate assistant, Pamela Gay, were our guides, instructors and mentors through five nights of observation and work on the 76 centimeter telescope. But all I could think of that first night as I walked with my head held back at a 90 degree angle to my body was, “I forgot.”
First and Best
Shared by teacher workshop participant Sherre Boothman on April 8, 2014
I was allowed to offer Astronomy for the first time it was taught for the 2006-2007 school year at Lehman High School in Kyle, TX. My Department Chair recommended the Professional Development at McDonald Observatory, so I applied to attend two seminars. I loved the summer experience at McDonald Observatory! McDonald Observatory was the first working professional observatory I had ever visited. May of 2006 I brought my first group of students to McDonald Obs and it really changed their lives in the most positive ways.
Shared by teacher workshop participant Paula Foreman on April 8, 2014
I was selected to participate in a week long Space Science Workshop at the observatory. I was excited to attend because it was my first time to travel to the area. I learned many fascinating things about space and activities to share with my K-4th graders in the science lab at Samuel W. Houston Elementary School in Huntsville, TX. My favorite experiment was when we proved that the Earth is moving not the Sun by the use of sidewalk chalk shadow people. I still use this experiment today with my students.
Visit to McDonald Observatory
Shared by McDonald staff member Melissa Pollard on November 12, 2013
In January 2001, I watched the Sun rise from the Harlan J. Smith 107" Telescope building. I saw its dome close when the Sun came up.
At the W.L. Moody, Jr. Visitors Information Center, among other treasures, I purchased earrings that I still wear. The Frank Bash Visitors Center was being built next to it.
The people in Fort Davis proved to be friendly, knowledgable, and shared their knowledge freely. The place seemed magical. It was so green and so many trees dotted the landscape of the Fort Davis mountains.
I really enjoyed Joe's official tour of the Harlan J. Smith Telescope and of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope.