Saturday, September 12, 2009

A View to the Stars !

Welcome to the MC Donald Observatory a top Mount Locke.

We take some time every year to trip around the other side of Ft Davis and try to make a Star Party , Its free to folks who live in Jeff Davis county ,tickets under 12 free adults 10 bucks .no charge for self guided tour at the top , only star party's,

You can view certain smaller scopes down at the visitors center with experienced astronomers , watch the featured movie in the theater , walk the exhibition's in the museum , and to end the night you are escorted out side with a astrologer whom with a Mag Lite show's you star formations depending what time of year you are there , Always a great show and well worth the price,

Always bring a jacket or wrap as even in the summer it drops quickly after dark , just experience talking !!!!

The way it works up here is like this : Most university's that have an astronomy class will lease telescope time from the observatory and offer there students actual time looking into space through one or both scopes, The site on top where the scope's sit actually is a small city.

It offers a cafeteria for students and professors and employee's .there is housing for both students and employee's also , Laundry facility , concessions and a gift shop at the visitors center . This site is funded from private and school sources .

If you make it to Ft Davis , well worth the trip up to the top . It's also a great bike ride up the mountain .(motorcycles) Over the years I have know several employee's that worked for the observatory on Mt Locke as cooks , Ranger's and staff.

The hatch door's of the 2.7m (107") "Harlan J. Smith Telescope"

This scope is called the "Hobby Eberly Telescope" more info at link below , The HET's 9.2 meter effective aperture makes it currently the world's fourth largest optical telescope.

My daughter and good old Dominque tour the grounds on a self guided tour.

A view from below at the Visitors center. The elevation climb from here is around 1000 feet up .

Beautiful views at 360 degrees around the base of the scopes with safe walk ways and guard rails.

A description of the VLBA (very long base array) this is a series of radio antennas located around the world . don't know if picture resolution will allow you to read it. But it's located below in the valley . Here is another link to check it out.

Another view from Mt Locke around the bottom of the scope base .

The girls take a pose at the entrance to the original or first one built 82" telescope. Each scope has an individual name.
The smallest is 2.1m (82") "Otto Struve Telescope"

The "Hobby Eberly Telescope" sits by itself across to another point about 1/4 mile away from the other two .

Here is a sign you won't see any where else in Texas except right here !

Our daughter was 14 when she visited the Space Theater at the Visitors center for the first time .Now at 17 ,Science and Chemistry are her strong subjects as you might guess by this photo .

This piece of a meteorite was recovered close by out of Marfa, Texas .

In front of the Visitor center is a modern Sun Dial .

The view of the telescopes is breath taking from the parking lot , The road up to the Telescopes is open to the public during daylight hours , weather permitting .
There is a public lot at the base of the site and parking is Free !

This is a great thing to do for your kids and yourselves and the cost is a value on any budget.

A closer view of the sundial , Kinda gets ya interested about things to do up here in the Mountains besides working you ass off all the time .

I hope everyone who checks out this post enjoys what we have enjoyed over the years spent on My Locke.
and that's the way it is ,

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