McDonald Observatory

30.6715 - 104.02261111111Koordinaten: 30 ° 40 ' 17 "N, 104 ° 1' 21 " W

The McDonald Observatory in 2104 meters altitude on the Mount Locke near the town of Fort Davis in the " Davis Mountains " from Texas, USA. The terrain is mostly financed owned by the University of Texas at Austin and is determined by the University, to a lesser extent by the rental of observing time on the telescopes. The observatory is equipped with a number of instruments for imaging and spectroscopy of the universe in the visible and infrared, further it has the first laser - Moon distance measurement device. McDonald works, although it is separated Administratively, together with the Astronomy Department of the University of Texas at Austin.

The research areas at the McDonald Observatory cover many topics and projects, including planetary systems, star and sun spectroscopy, interstellar space, extraglaktische phenomena and theoretical astronomy.


The McDonald Observatory is a foundation of the Texas banker William Johnson McDonald (1844-1926), of ( the majority of its assets) at the University of Texas gave $ 1.1 million to equip a astronomical observatory. This testamentary provision was challenged in court by the relatives McDonalds; after a lengthy discussion, work began. The 2.1 - m telescope was inaugurated on May 5, 1939 it was in his time the second largest telescope in the world. Until the 1960s, the observatory was conducted by the University of Chicago, then took the lead, the University of Texas at Austin, with the director Harlan J. Smith.


  • 9.2 m - Hobby - Eberly Telescope
  • 2.7 m - Harlan J. Smith Telescope
  • 2.1 m - Otto Struve Telescope
  • 0.8 m telescope


  • A 0.9 - m telescope, formerly used for research, now serves visitors.
  • On the site there is one of two 1.2 - m- MONET telescopes
  • One of the four 0.45 -m telescopes Rotse


The visitor center offers an interactive exhibition next to a cafe and gift shop. Also solar observations and tours to the largest telescopes are performed daily. Very popular are nightly star parties, where visitors have the opportunity to said offers to throw in addition also have a look through the large telescopes on the stars.