From the Board of Visitors Executive Committee


The 82-inch Telescope was dedicated on May 5, 1939

Online Connections,
Many Voices
for the 75th Anniversary

An online 'Memories" page at the McDonald Observatory web site has drawn dozens of contributors, including people whose parents worked on the construction of the 82-inch telescope; donors; present and former astronomers, and an observatory engineer whose visit as a toddler inspired his career; K-12 teachers recalling onsite teacher workshops; and regular visitors who treasure their memories of McDonald Observatory.

A simple form on the site allows anyone to add text and photos. All BoV members and friends are invited to join in the observatory's celebration by adding their own memories.

McDonald Observatory 75th Anniversary Memories

Sandra Preston's recent post for the Global Astronomy Month 2014 Blog of the international group Astronomers Without Borders was highlighted by the Texas Exes Alcalde. Writes Preston, "Today, as I look at a book that was signed during that special weekend of the 82-inch telescope dedication almost 75 years ago, I am in awe. Some of the greatest names in astronomy were in attendance: Harlow Shapley, S. Chandrasekhar, Henry Norris Russell, Edwin Hubble and others who went on to be famous. There were women also—Helen Sawyer Hogg and Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin—prolific observers, who significantly impacted our understanding about the Milky Way and stellar evolution."

You can see the Alcalde story at:

A Storied Summit at McDonald Observatory, 75 Years Later

And you can see Preston's original post from Astronomers Without Borders at:

Musings on the 75th Anniversary of McDonald Observatory

Visitor Kelley DeLay's time lapse photo of a Star Party at the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center

The McDonald Observatory user site at Youtube.com has a trove of videos on a variety of subjects, including several on the history of the observatory and the 82-inch telescope. For example, Rachel Fuechsl of the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center hosts a 2-minute video (written by Frank Cianciolo and produced by Kevin Mace) that shows how the telescope was used by astronomers when it was built -- which involved negotiating heights in the dark:

The 82" telescope - Yesterday and Today

Also at McDonald Observatory's Youtube.com site: Harlan J. Smith's 57-minute talk from 1989 on the history of the observatory up to that time -- its 50th anniversary.

Harlan J. Smith: The Founding and History of McDonald Observatory

See these and more at the McDonald Observatory page on Youtube.com

[Joel Barna]

April 2014
Astronomy Program · The University of Texas at Austin
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