The McDonald Observatory near El Paso, sits in the most remote area of the state of Texas. It is a research unit of the University of Texas, and provides research facilities for the University’s Department of Astronomy. The facilities are located on Mount Locke in the Davis Mountains, with additional facilities on Mount Fowlkes. It is considered a major observatory in Texas, with a wide range of viewing equipment.
The observatory not only offers visitors a view of the wonders of the universe, it has an interactive exhibit hall and a large theater. Tours of the observatory’s largest telescope, is a popular attraction among visitors. Evening star parties are held during the week allowing visitors to not only enjoy night sky constellation tours, but views of a variety of celestial objects through a variety of the observatory’s telescopes.
McDonald Observatory is named after William J. McDonald, who was an astronomy hobbyist and East Texas lawyer. McDonald left his entire estate, amounting to more than $1 million to the University of Texas to build an observatory. The Davis Mountains were chosen as the perfect location, because of the dark night skies observed in the area. The observatory was officially dedicated in a ceremony and scientific symposium held on May 5, 1939.
The McDonald Observatory is the perfect place for a fun afternoon or evening of gazing into the amazement of the universe. Visitors can take a trip through time by viewing the past and the future. Both the young and the young at heart will be in awe at the beauties offered during a peek into this wondrous portal of time and space.