On select nights throughout the year, the Visitors Center offers special viewing programs on our large research telescopes. These programs have limited capacity and offer amazing views in an intimate and historic setting.
Special Viewing Nights on the 36-inch provide fabulous views in a small group setting. Located a few steps from the Astronomers Lodge on Mount Locke, the 36-inch Telescope is a staff and visitor favorite. Passes are $100/person.
The 82-inch Special Viewing Night takes place on the original McDonald telescope ... the 2.1m Otto Struve. It is, arguably, one of the largest and finest telescopes in the world through which routine public viewing is allowed. Experience this unique program yourself! Passes are $150/person.
People often ask which Special Viewing Night program is best for visitors with little or no telescope experience. These programs are appropriate for visitors of any experience level (our staff are happy to assist beginners as needed). The Otto Struve 82-inch is one of the largest telescopes in the world routinely made available for public viewing. The 36-inch Telescope is larger than many people have ever had the opportunity to experience. We're sure you'll be blown away, no matter your level of experience or how you decide to plan your visit.
Before you sign up, be sure to check out our remote location. Overnight accommodations at the Astronomers Lodge may be available for participants. We will connect you to the lodge to book a room if you are interested. Friends of McDonald Observatory receive advanced notice of the Special Viewing schedule, which is published every four months.