Evening Viewings: Star Parties & Constellation Tours

All programs are subject to capacity limits and require online advance reservations. Online reservations are also required to access the Observatory grounds; no exceptions will be made. 

Every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday evening, the Visitors Center offers our popular Star Party program. Program start times throughout the year can be found on our calendar of events.


Star Party

Enjoy the night sky Constellation Tour as well as views of celestial objects via a telescope and astronomy camera set-up at the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. Dress appropriately for the weather, since the program takes place entirely outdoors. Because of our altitude, it can be very cold outside at any time of the year. Access to indoors (and heat!) is limited.  Our amphitheater seating consists of stone benches, so feel free to bring a blanket for added comfort. The Constellation Tour described below is included in the Star Party pass. (Approximately 2 hours including Introduction, Constellation Tour, and Telescope Viewing.)

Binoculars are welcome, and are also a great way to get a little something extra from the program.

Online advanced reservations for passes are required, and in order to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors, program capacity is limited and strictly enforced. 



Constellation Tour-only

Enjoy an unaided-eye tour of the evening sky including major constellations, bright stars, and other objects of interest including the Moon, planets, and satellites from the Rebecca Gale Star Amphitheater. While the Constellation Tour-only pass does not include the telescope viewing portion of our Star Party program, your pass grants access to the Visitors Center, exhibit hall, and gift shop (doors open an hour prior to the program). (Approximately 1 hour including Introduction and Constellation Tour.)

Dress appropriately for the weather, since the program takes place entirely outdoors. Because of our altitude, it can be very cold outside at any time of the year. Access to indoors (and heat!) is limited. Our amphitheater seating consists of stone benches, so feel free to bring a blanket for added comfort.

Binoculars are welcome, and are also a great way to get a little something extra from the program.

Online advanced reservations for passes are required, and in order to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors, program capacity is limited and strictly enforced. Make your reservations below.

The Observatory reserves the right to ask visitors to leave the program venue if their behavior is disruptive. 


Spring Breakers: Reservation information about public programs in March (and beyond) will be posted in January.


Important: McDonald Observatory is located 450 miles west of Austin and is on Central Time.

The system defaults to one adult pass. If you're 65 or over and want the senior discount, choose the "Snr (65+)" pass and remove the adult pass. Be sure to click on the "Book" button as your final step in making your reservation.