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.
The 82-inch Special Viewing Night takes place on the original McDonald Observatory telescope, the 2.1m Otto Struve Telescope. It is one of the largest and finest telescopes in the world through which routine public viewing is conducted. 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 confident that you'll be impressed with the views no matter your level of experience.
Due to program length and environment, this program is recommended for those over 10 years old. Families with children under 10 years old are strongly encouraged to attend our Star Party program.
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.