Astronomy Field Trips

Click here to learn about Virtual Visits.
Teachers, register your classroom for an Astronomy Field Trip in Fort Davis, TX here.
If you are not a school group, please find our public program offerings here or our group reservations page here.

 

On-Site Student Experiences

 

Telescope Exploration

A field trip to McDonald Observatory will immerse your students in astronomy at an active research facility.

Students will explore 3 research telescopes: a radio telescope, the 2.7m Harlan J. Smith telescope, and the 10m Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET). Modified to be grade level appropriate, students will investigate the science of astronomy. At the radio telescope, students will discuss the idea of light and the limitations of our eyes. After a short drive (5 min) up Mount Locke to the 2.7m telescope, students will ascend to the dome floor to observe telescope motion and learn how telescopes collect light. The last stop will bring students to the Hobby-Eberly Telescope, one of the largest telescopes in the world. Students will explore the engineering of a multi-mirror telescope and be inspired by the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment.
 

Extended: See the Sun

If your time allows, add an additional learning opportunity for your students to experience a live exploration of the Sun (weather permitting, of course). For groups 35 or fewer, students will work outside safely operating solar telescopes and searching for sun spots. For larger groups (up to 70), students will explore the Sun in our theater where live solar images are projected on a screen.
 

Star Party

Enjoy the Universe after sunset! When you sign your group up for a Star Party, you’ll be joining our regular public program at a special student rate. Your chaperones will escort students to the amphitheater behind the Visitors Center at dusk for an introduction to our sky before enjoying live telescope views. Students will see an assortment of deep space objects through the numerous telescopes used for public outreach.

 

ASTRONOMY FIELD TRIP

PER STUDENT

TITLE I

Telescope Exploration

Extended: See the Sun

* Extra Adults

$5

$7

$9

$3

$4

$9

ASTRONOMY FIELD TRIP: Star Party

PER STUDENT

TITLE I

Students

$5

$5

* Extra Adults

$20

$20

* Adult Chaperones Free (up to 1 adult per 5 students; no fewer than 1 adult per ten students

 

Please register for your Astronomy Field Trip six weeks in advance.

Days Offered: Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Tuesdays and Saturdays by special request only.

Time: 10:00 am Central Time

Length: 2 hours. 3 hours for the Extended

Although we'll host smaller groups, the minimum cost is based on 12 students attending.

No Astronomy Field Trips will be offered:

• November 12 - 29, 2022
• December 16, 2022 through January 10, 2023
• March 6 - 24, 2023

School groups may choose to reserve public program passes during these dates. 

Register for an Astronomy Field Trip