Looking Up: More Starry Spots
Canyon of the Eagles Nature Park, near Burnet
The Eagle Eye Observatory sits in the preserve area of the 940-acre Canyon of the Eagles Nature Park, on the northeast side of Lake Buchanan, where skies remain relatively light-pollution-free. The observatory area offers room for stargazers to set up their own telescopes or use binoculars. A small building with a retractable roof houses 12.5-inch and 16-inch telescopes, which provide stellar (pun intended) viewing on public nights—Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and some holidays—hosted by the Austin Astronomical Society. Viewing is weather-dependent, so call ahead. Also in the park is the Canyon of the Eagles Resort, which offers a lodge with 62 guest rooms, a pool, and restaurant. Tent and RV camping is also available at the park. Stay overnight, and stargaze till bedtime. Call 512/334-2070 or 800/977-008.
University of Texas McDonald Observatory, Fort Davis
Situated in one of the darkest spots in the country, this facility in the Davis Mountains opens to the public every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Star parties every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday nights include a tour of the constellations and viewing of planets, stars, and galaxies at the Visitors Center Public Observatory. Call 877/984-7827.
McKinney Roughs Nature Park, near Austin
The fourth Friday of each month through August (fall schedule pending), weather permitting, astronomers use Dobsonian telescopes to give all ages a tour of the galaxy. Bring lawn chairs, blankets, and your own refreshments. The 1,000-acre park, 13 miles east of the Austin airport, also offers more than 18 miles of hiking and equestrian trails and interactive exhibits. Call 512/303-5073.
From the July 2012 issue.