Evening Star Parties



Due to the rise in COVID cases and in compliance with travel advisories McDonald Observatory Visitors Center is temporarily closed through January 4th, 2021.



Access to the Observatory grounds is ONLY allowed for visitors with reserved passes. All access requires advance reservations, which are subject to capacity limits. 

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. Please note that there is some walking (at ~6300 ft in altitude) involved to participate in the program. 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. 

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. 





Due to the rise in COVID cases and in compliance with travel advisories McDonald Observatory Visitors Center is temporarily closed through January 4th, 2021.