I’d driven past this observatory complex outside Ft. Davis a few times on my way elsewhere. This time I decided to stop in.
Tickets for the daytime tour were $9. They max at 30 peeps but I think there were about half that in our group. The tours (and shuttle driving, and apparently snack bar attending) were provided by an outstanding young fellow named Stephen (black cap):
We started at the original telescope, which
Stephen demonstrated and allowed a kid to move with a manual control. :-) Just before we left that observatory the dome and telescope were returned by the PC to the previous position, I was surprised how quickly it moved. The ‘scope, slot, and dome all move in this quick video:
Parking for that scope is at the end of a TxDOT-maintained spur. The state sign marks the spur/lot boundary as “the highest point on Texas Highways”. Stephen also suggested it is the highest publicly-accessible roadway in Texas. If so, I parked in the highest available spot on the highest publicly-accessible parking lot in Texas:
[caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”1280”] Blue truck is a permanent fixture so the parking spot isn’t available! Last registered in 2001, IIRC.[/caption]
The other large ‘scope is the Hobby-Eberly, one of those new compound lens ones. It does spectrum analysis (rather than optical observation), and therefore can use fiber optic cables to shunt the received info around.
I tried to get a pic of Muffin in front of the Hobby; the best of that series was this all-too-predictable shot: