McDonald Observatory celebrates its 75th anniversary

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McDonald Observatory celebrates its 75th anniversary
Posted by chipdatajeffB on Thursday, November 14, 2013 4:38 PM

Click here for a nice article on the 82" Otto Struve Telescope at McDonald Observatoy. Very nice that they use the photo of Saturn I made with that telescope in 2006. It is one of the few large telescopes in the world into which you can stick an eyepiece and observe as an amateur astronomer. After some refurbishing of the observatory for safety reasons, they are resuming the practice of "renting" the scope to groups of amateurs a dozen or so nights each year.

 

Otto Struve designed the instrument to study double stars. It was later fitted with a 700-lb spectrograph, which was used to confirm the presence of methane in the atmosphere of Saturn's satellite Titan. For the past decade, it has been used to confirm candidate stars for exoplanets first detected by the observatory's Hobby-Eberly Telescope program HETDEX. Its new mission list includes the study of white dwarf stars.

 

Happy Anniversary, Big Gun!

The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it's stranger than we CAN imagine. --- JBS Haldane

Come visit me at Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus (we're on Google Maps) in Texas.

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Posted by DaveMitsky on Thursday, November 14, 2013 11:15 PM

That was an interesting, if not completely accurate, article, Jeff. Congrats on the Saturn image

Unfortunately, the 82" Otto Struve telescope was not open to the public when I toured the McDonald Observatory during the TSP last May but I did get to see the 107" Harlan Smith and 11-meter (9.2-meter) Hobby-Ebberly telescopes up close.  

During the star party, I had a look at a couple of galaxies through Larry Mitchell's 36" Dob one night on the upper observing field.

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5897881/page/0/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/all/fpart/1 (photos)

Dave Mitsky 

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Chance favors the prepared mind.

A man is a small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.

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Posted by leo731 on Monday, November 18, 2013 1:15 PM

Thanks for the look Jeff.

For more information about McDonald Observatory go to their website at:

http://mcdonaldobservatory.org/

 

Sure wish I was there now as they have public viewing tonight and tomorrow with a star party to boot!

L

A nebula in the eyepiece is worth two in the Atlas.

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Posted by poodle on Sunday, January 05, 2014 4:44 PM

We take our vacations in FtDavis every year and I told my wife we wern't going back unless we could schedule it when they were having viewing night on one of the big scopes. I have made several of the star parties there but visually viewing through one of there scopes is on my bucket list.

Steve

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Posted by chipdatajeffB on Tuesday, January 07, 2014 9:04 AM

The website lists a couple of different ways to sign up to observe with a smaller large telescope. Last I checked it did not say how to sign up for the Struve telescope, which is $2,000 per night (for from 1 to a dozen people, so you can split the cost if you plan a group). You get on a list for reservations and are contacted by the observatory when they set their annual allotment of nights. This scope is still used heavily for research, so only a handful of nights are available. I think the price has increased to $3,000 per night this year.

The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it's stranger than we CAN imagine. --- JBS Haldane

Come visit me at Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus (we're on Google Maps) in Texas.

www.3rf.org

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Posted by leo731 on Tuesday, January 07, 2014 4:49 PM

If you do not have 3000 bucks available there is another option.  They have a special program that lasts four hours. One gets to hear a talk by a professional astronomer and a tour.  The highlight is the chance to look through the 107 inch telescope at three objects.   All this for $96.00. 

The January date is already sold out but the next one is in February.

Check their website for more details as the other scopes also have, I believe, their own public viewing schedules.

L

A nebula in the eyepiece is worth two in the Atlas.

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Posted by poodle on Friday, January 10, 2014 3:23 PM

The 82-inch (2.1m) Otto Struve Telescope runs $125 per night. Here is a link to the observatory  http://mcdonaldobservatory.org/visitors  just look under the special viewing nights.

Steve

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Posted by chipdatajeffB on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 3:02 PM

Yep, they have 3- to 3.5-hr programs for the Struve for $125 per person. This does not include lodging, but rooms are $88 per person (when available) for Special Viewing Program participants.

These programs are limited to about 15 people per night, max, and they generally select 4 to 6 targets per night, depending on the number of participants.

The rental I mentioned earlier includes up to 16 people and is an all-night program where you submit a target list of your own in advance and they select what's available from among them. You also are guaranteed a spot in the lodge and meals. You can reserve one or two nights, depending on availability. My times there have been between October and April and we have managed up to 40 targets a night when weather permits.

For either of these programs, demand dictates you should make a reservation at least 60 days in advance. Generally, the overnight programs are sold out within a week of the announcement of available dates.

 

The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it's stranger than we CAN imagine. --- JBS Haldane

Come visit me at Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus (we're on Google Maps) in Texas.

www.3rf.org

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Posted by dethfire on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 8:42 AM

poodle

The 82-inch (2.1m) Otto Struve Telescope runs $125 per night. Here is a link to the observatory  http://mcdonaldobservatory.org/visitors  just look under the special viewing nights.

 

Interesting! THat would be a neat place to visit.

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