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[LM Otero /AP]

Trip to McDonald Observatory exhilarating


"The McDonald Observatory is one of Texas’ greatest treasures and site of some of the most exciting space explorations taking place on the planet. We drove up to it and bought tickets for the next morning’s tour. Little did we know at the time that we were the only ones who would sign up..." more...

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RLM Hall 16" Telescope

Painter Hall 9" Telescope


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Excavation Begins on Giant Magellan Telescope Site in Chile

Excavation Begins on Giant Magellan Telescope Site in Chile

The University of Texas at Austin’s McDonald Observatory today shared in announcing the start of hard rock excavation for the Giant Magellan Telescope’s (GMT’s) massive concrete pier and the foundations for the telescope’s enclosure on its site at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. McDonald Observatory is a founding partner of the international collaboration building the GMT, which will be the world’s largest telescope when completed in the next decade. more..

Protecting the Dark West Texas Skies

McDonald Observatory, Oil and Gas Organizations Collaborate to Protect Night Skies

FORT DAVIS, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory has collaborated with the Permian Basin Petroleum Association (PBPA) and the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA) to reduce light shining into the sky from drilling rigs and related activities in West Texas. The excess light has the potential to drown out the light from stars and galaxies, and threatens to reduce the effectiveness of the observatory's research telescopes to study the mysteries of the universe. more..

GMT Mount Stage 1

GMT Mount Stage 1 Contracts Awarded

The Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO) and its founding partners, including The University of Texas at Austin, are pleased to announce that two contracts have been awarded this week to advance the design of the Giant Magellan Telescope mount. This will lead to a final selection next year of the contractor to fabricate and deliver the structure. more..

Frank N. Bash Visitor's Center

McDonald Observatory in West Texas welcomes the public with star parties, tours, exhibits, talks, special programs, and continuing education for teachers. Join us! in the beautiful Davis Mountains under some of the darkest skies in the continental United States.


The Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment will look back in time billions of years, and sample nearly one million galaxies, to map the expansion rate of the early universe. Learn more at hetdex.org.

Giant Magellan Telescope

The University of Texas at Austin is a founding member of the consortium to build the world's largest ground based telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in La Serena, Chile. Construction is well under way. Learn more..