We're camped at the Saddle Back Mt RV Park which is a nice park with long level sites and good hookups, nothing else here and it is located in just about the middle of no where, really, I'll explain that later.
Waiting to be restored.
Enlisted mans quarters.
|Officers Row and the Parade Grounds|
After all this we drove over to the McDonald Observatory, normally we wouldn't have gone out of our way to stop here but one of my brothers worked here for NASA during the mid 70's so we thought that we would take a look at it, sure glad we did. It's about 18 miles from Fort Davis and when you get there you finish up your drive on Spur Hwy 72 which is the highest paved road in Texas, around 6800 feet above sea level. When we got there we found out that they had a tour starting in about 30 minutes so we signed up for that ($8 a head) . The tour starts with a 20 minute film explaining how the observatory came to be, remember I said that we were in the middle of no where, well they confirmed it for me by explaining that they did a study to find a location for the telescopes and the top of this mountain is considered the “Darkest Spot in the USA” because of it's height and the fact that is located in the middle of the desert (the middle of no where). They have clear skies for viewing the stars about 90% of the time, which is important when you have scientist coming from around the world to use the facilities, they have very little down time. OK, after the film our tour guide came in and we were able to observe the sun through one of the smaller scopes, which is wired up so that we could watch it on the big screen. We were able to see different sun spots and solar flares and then he explained how they happen and how they effect the earth along with a lot of other stuff.
|108 inch scope|
From there we boarded the tour bus and he took us to the 108 inch scope, which when it was built it was the third largest in the world. We went up to the fifth floor where the telescope is located and he demonstrated how the scope can turn any direction and how the entire top of the building rotates so they can point it anywhere they want. It was pretty cool seeing the building rotating around and the monster telescope turning. Another 15 to 20 minute talk here on how everything works then it was back to the bus for a drive over to the newest scope.
|The Highlighted area in the center is the Mirror|
|Nope, Not Epcot|
|This is the project my brother worked on.|