hobby eberly telescope

McDonald Observatory is located in the Davis Mountains, 450 miles west of Austin, Texas.

The Observatory is equipped with a wide range of state-of-the-art instrumentation for imaging and spectroscopy in the optical and infrared, and operates one of the first and most productive lunar ranging stations.

Currently, McDonald operates four research telescopes at our West Texas site:

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

The observatory also hosts one of the four globally networked Robotic Optical Transient Search Experiment (ROTSE) telescopes, is a Monitoring Network of Telescopes (MONET) site, and is host to one of the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGT) telescopes.

McDonald Observatory is open to the public. Approximately 60,000 visitors each year attend star parties and exhibits, as well as continuing education programs for educators. Recently, the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center dedicated a first of its kind, the Wren-Marcario wheelchair accessible telescope.


Observer Information



Night Reports

Research Facilities

Telescope and instrumentation information for facilities available to McDonald Observatory researchers.

Research Facilities


Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment

HETDEX: Illuminating the Darkness



Mt. Locke

Lat: 30° 40' 17.4" N
Long: 104° 01' 21.4" W
Elev: 2076m above geoid



Organizational Chart


Our Mission

mcd logo

Public - Visitors Center

McDonald Observatory visitor information, tours, public programs, virtual tour and virtual gift shop.

Frank N. Bash Visitors Center

Dark Skies

international dark sky association

The night sky has been lost to light pollution in most areas of the United States, a waste of energy, money, and illumination. Help bring back the night sky where you live.

McDonald Observatory's Dark Skies Initiative



I-10 is the Highway to the Stars

Observatories of the Southwest