Special Viewing Nights


McDonald Observatory remains closed to the public


We offer exclusive special viewing programs on our large research telescopes on select evenings throughout the year. These are smaller events than what's offered at our regular Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday evening public Star Parties.

Please note: The Visitors Center is located 450 miles from Austin and is on Central Time.

Viewing Night on the Harlan J. Smith 107"

The Viewing Night on the 107" provides insight into the tools and methods of astronomical research. A professional will invite participants to look at up to three objects through the 107" telescope. This program is not suitable for children under ten. ($80/person).

Viewing Night on the Otto Struve 82" 

The 82" Special Viewing Night takes place on the original McDonald telescope ... the 2.1m Otto Struve ... is, arguably, one of the largest and finest telescopes in the world through which routine viewing is allowed. Come and experience this unique program yourself! This program is not suitable for children under ten. ($125/person)

Viewing Night on the 36"

Viewing Night on the 36" is our most casual special viewing program. Located a few steps from the Astronomer's Lodge on Mount Locke, the 36" telescope provides fabulous views in a small group setting.  This program is not suitable for children under ten. ($75/person)

If you're still having trouble deciding, call us at 432-426-3640 and we'll be happy to assist you!



Visitors Center at night

Frank N. Bash Visitors Center, Night

Know Before You Go

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.

When to Visit
Special Needs & Concerns
Pet Policy & Service Animals
Visiting with young children
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Frequently Asked Questions
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