Spring Break 2017 Guided Tours, Solar Viewings, Twilight Programs, & Star Parties
Join a Guided Tour for an up-close look at large research telescopes at McDonald Observatory in West Texas.
All programs are subject to capacity limits. Twilight Programs & Star Parties typically sell out and our Daytime Programs frequently sell out during busy periods like Spring Break. To ensure program participation, make advance reservations using the online system below.
To accommodate our much larger than usual crowds during the week of Spring Break, the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center offers an expanded schedule of Guided Tour and Solar Viewing programs. These program times are applicable only during the period of March 11-18, 2017 (when the vast majority of Texas school systems are on Spring Break).
For insight into the workings of a professional scientific research facility, take an approximately 75-80 minute tour with a knowledgeable guide to one of our large research telescopes.
Solar Viewings (~45 minutes) offers a unique opportunity to examine our nearest star, the Sun, with live video from special filtered telescopes (weather dependent) including views of such solar features as sunspots, prominences, and flares.
Online reservations may be made up to midnight prior to the program. However, Guided Tours and Solar Viewings (as well as Twilight Programs and Star Parties) often sell out during Spring Break so we advise making reservations (see below) as early as possible.
Self Guided Tours of our largest telescope, the 362-inch Hobby-Eberly Telescope, are available at no charge from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Spring Break Guided Tour and Solar Viewing passes are refundable ($3 administrative fee) up to 3 days prior to the program after which rescheduling will be offered. Missed programs will not be refunded or rescheduled.
More information regarding the Twilight Programs and Star Parties can be found here.
Contact usfor more information or to let us know if you have special needs.
Please include all members of your party in your tour reservation so we can get an accurate head count. Contact us for more information or to let us know if you have special needs. Please bring a copy of your online receipt to pick up your passes when checking in at the Visitors Center. If you don't have access to a printer or if you prefer to go more "green", please at least make note of the confirmation code you'll receive after clicking "Book" in case your reservations need to be looked up on our system. Passes will be under your last name at the Information Desk.
Be sure to click on the "Book" button as your final step in making your reservation. Failure to click the "Book" button will result in no reservations being made.
Dress warmly (especially for evening programs) and bring your reservation confirmation with you. The Visitors Center is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Central Time (and additional hours on Star Party nights) every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. The phone number is 432-426-3640.