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UT astronomers
Visiting astronomers
McDonald staff members 

Observing with Dr. Harlan Smith

Shared by visitor Adrian New on May 19, 2014

During April of 1982, I attended a Planetarium Conference with a very good friend of mine, Bryan Snow. Bryan was then Director of the Scobee Planetarium at San Antonio College. Just before we left on our journey we contacted a local meteorologist about the weather conditions in Fort Davis. His comment was, "You poor boys." The forecast was a snow storm for the Davis Mountains. Mind you, this was late for this time of year. While traveling out interstate 10 West the weather was very nice. When we arrived in Fort Stockton, Texas we noticed the outside temperature dramatically dropped. We stopped for lunch in Fort Stockton and noticed the buses traveling from the West had sheets of ice on the front grills. We did not think much of it and proceeded with our trip to the Davis Mountains.

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.

1st visit 1955 at age 10

Shared by visitor Perry Cozzen on May 5, 2014

In 1955 my mother inherited her father's car and she brought me and her mother to McDonald Observatory from Lamesa, a long trip at the time.

We were in a '49 or so Dodge, and it vapor locked on the way to observatory. My mother made me and my grandmother get out while she backed the non-running car back down the hill.

My grandmother just stood on the side of the road with her hands over her eyes screaming the whole time, knowing my mother was about to die, but she managed to back down the very narrow road and got the car restarted at the bottom.

Railroad Family Exploring

Shared by visitor Mildred Baker Beaman on April 26, 2014

It was probably very early in the public history of McDonald Observatory when the Jim Baker family made their first visit. With 3 preschoolers (Warren, Mildred, and Roger), it must have been a Sunday near 75 years ago, probably when Jim was operating a Burro half-circle crane for the redecking of Southern Pacific Railroad's Pecos High Bridge.

Building the Road to the Observatory and Hauling the Tube and Mirror

Shared by visitor Caroline Neeley Mueller on April 23, 2014

In order for the observatory to be built a road had to be constructed up the mountain, which was a distance of 17 miles from Ft. Davis., C.E. Armstrong and Sons (my Great Grandfather and his company) were part of the building of the road.