Videoconference Programs

Videoconference programs are science learning experiences that take you and your students on a virtual field trip to the Davis Mountains of west Texas. There are multiple ways to experience these programs:


Students and teachers are invited to visit McDonald Observatory remotely from home or school for incredible educational experiences. Observe our Solar System real-time with a telescope and make STEM connections in astronomy. Thanks to support from Friends of the McDonald Observatory and the Meyer-Levy Charitable Foundation, these programs are available at no cost to participants.

Observe the Sun live with telescopes and learn about solar features

From classrooms across Texas and the US, K-12 students observe our Sun in real-time with a telescope, make their own drawings, and make STEM connections in astronomy. make their own drawings of the Sun, and explore the solar features they observe. A Zoom account is required for connection. Each program is 40 minutes long and includes the following:

  • an introduction to the University of Texas McDonald Observatory and the giant research telescopes used to study the Universe;
  • live, real-time observations with our telescope-videoconference system of daytime astronomical objects like the Sun;
  • guided participant exploration of visible features like sunspots and documentation of their observations.
  • STEM content designed for K-12 students. Content is adapted for each audience to align with student learning standards.

Download Teacher Activity Packet

    Choose a program date below and register for an online exploration of the Universe! Registrations accepted until 24 hours prior to any program.

    Celebrate Astronomy Day! (for multiple schools)

    January 26, 2021 
    10:00 am and 1:00 pm

    January 27, 2021 
    10:00 am and 1:00 pm

    Excite Space! (for a single group of students)

    November 13, 2020
    10:00 am

    Program Descriptions and Downloads

    Downloadable Descriptions

    Student Sheet

    Student sheets are designed for your students to fill in during the videoconference. 

    Required Activity Materials Ready In Your Classroom

    A list of materials to have on-hand for students engagement during the program. 

    Teacher Guide for Videoconference Content

    Includes potential student answers, descriptions of content found in student sheets, and links that support group learning.

    Pre-Conference Assessment

    Actvities to help you gauge student understanding before the program.

    Pre-Conference Activity

    An optional activity that encourages students to discuss and organize the questions they might ask during the conference.

    Post-Conference Activity

    An optional activity to help students transfer their McDonald Observatory experience back to their science curriculum. 

    Related TEKS, NSES

    This is a document that lists related Texas and National Science Standards for each videoconference.

    Videoconference Evaluation Form

    We ask that you complete this evaluation form following the videoconference.