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A Member Society of
The Southwest Region of the Astronomical League
Bringing Amateur Astronomy to the World

Texas Star Party 2002: 
McDonald Observatory - Fort Davis, TX

The New Visitor Center at McDonald Observatory

by Ed Flaspoehler, AAAA

The 24th Annual Texas Star Party was again hosted on the magnificent Prude Ranch, a 3500 acre mile-high guest ranch located six miles northwest of Fort Davis, Texas, in the shadow of McDonald University. Attendance this year was limited to a maximum of 650, to prevent overcrowding of Ranch facilities, and the final attendance was announced to be only 595. TSP week this year was May 5-12, 2002.

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The Road to McDonald Observatory

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The New Visitor Center

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The View from the Patio

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The Main Lobby

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Star Light, Star Bright, 
First Star I See Today ...
A Close Look at Our Own Star - The Sun

Friends of 
McDonald Observatory

Colors Captured From the Sun

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The Light Comes in Here ...

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... The Light Goes 'Round and 'Round ...

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... And It Comes Out Here

A trip to the Visitor Center at McDonald Observatory is a popular activity during the annual Texas Star Party. Not only are regular bus trips scheduled from the Prude Ranch for TSP visitors, but McDonald Observatory is a staunch supporter of TSP: TSP participants who take the scheduled tour are given a full inside tour of the big telescopes at McDonald.

It its original charter, McDonald observatory is mandated to provide opportunities for public observing on a regular basis. Thus, for many years, McDonald Observatory, through its Visitor Center, has provided weekly observing sessions for the general public from the parking lot of the old visitor center. There are also monthly observing sessions on the 107-inch telescope by advance reservation only.

This year, just in time for the Texas Star Party, McDonald Observatory opened its new Visitor Center to the public. TSP attendees were thus among the first visitors to the new facility. The new installation it is quite spacious and well done, and even has a "gourmet" snack bar. They have an especially beautiful spectroscope projecting a solar spectrum onto the wall that is quite spectacular. But overall, the exhibits are aimed more at kids than adults. 

I joined the Friends of McDonald Observatory  for the AAAA.

Click on the Images for an Enlarged View

Visit the TSP Web Site: 

Southwest Region 
of the 
Astronomical League

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Texas Star Party


AAAA Supports 
The Texas Star Party

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The Texas Star Party is the Annual Convention of the Southwest Region of the Astronomical League,
sponsored by SWRAL and hosted by TSP, Inc.

Click HERE to Read Our Report on TSP 2003
Click HERE to Read Our Report on TSP 2002
Click HERE to Read Our Report on TSP 2001

Click HERE for TSP 2003 Observing Programs
Click HERE for TSP 2001 Observing Programs
Click HERE for TSP 2000 Observing Programs
Click HERE for TSP 1999 Observing Programs

Click HERE for AL Observing Programs to Download

The Southwest Region of the Astronomical League is made up of  28 member societies of the Astronomical League in the states of Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.

Join the AAAA's SWRAL Newsgroup

Hosted by Yahoo Groups and the American Association of Amateur Astronomers

The purpose of the SWRAL Yahoo! Newsgroup, hosted by the American Association of Amateur Astronomers, is to create a forum where members of SWRAL clubs can share ideas and experiences, and just get to know each other. If you belong to one of the member societies of the Southwest Region of the Astronomical League, or just want to know more about what is going on in this part of the Astronomical League, please join us as we share ideas about our region and what we can do to encourage more communication between clubs.

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A Member Society of The Southwest Region of the Astronomical League
Bringing Amateur Astronomy to the World

The American Association of Amateur Astronomers is a member society of the Astronomical League. Based in Plano, TX, and with a worldwide membership, including 15% of its  members in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, AAAA is proud to be one of the ten largest clubs in the Astronomical League, and the second largest club in the Southwest Region.

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