McDonald Observatory

Stay in your classroom and take a virtual field trip to the UT McDonald Observatory in the Davis Mountains of west Texas!

Our virtual programs are interactive science learning experiences that are an extension of your classroom instruction, led by McDonald Observatory astronomy facilitators. All programs are TEKS aligned and feature engaging experiences such as real-time telescope observations of the Sun, Moon, and Venus, small group or individual student activities, virtual tours of world-class research telescopes, science drawings, and the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the facilitator. We offer many virtual learning programs that are all formative, real-life STEM extensions to your classroom instruction.

To see our scheduled programs and register go to Connect2Texas and select McDonald Observatory in the program filter.

If you have questions or need assistance, contact

NOTE: Telescope views will be real-time; in case of inclement weather or equipment problems, recorded views will be provided.

ExciteSpace! Meet Mr. McDonald

Grades: Prek-5 or 5-12

Come visit McDonald Observatory without leaving your home or classroom! Learn about Mr. McDonald, who loved nature and science. Learn about what happens here and how the astronomers use telescopes to study all kinds of things in the universe.

On this interactive program, students will be guided on a virtual tour of the 2.1-meter Otto Struve Telescope, and we will discuss together the things that make McDonald Observatory a great place to do Astronomy.

ExciteSpace! Observe the Sun

Grades: Prek-4 or 3-12

Observe our star, the Sun in real time using a telescope. Make drawings of the Sun, and make STEM connections in Astronomy.

ExciteSpace! Super Big Telescope Tour

Grades: 4-6 or 7-10

Explore the Hobby-Eberly Telescope, a 10 meter telescope that uses 91 mirrors to research the universe! Follow the light path from the sky through creative engineering and into the instruments. Students will take a virtual tour of the HET, including images and videos, guided by a live educator.

Other Activities and Resources

These engaging, TEKS-aligned activities create opportunity for K-12 students to explore astronomy, physics, and chemistry.

Ask an Astronomer

Curious about Astronomy? Have a burning question about the Universe that you'd like answered? Ask us!
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The views and opinions expressed are those of the contributing members of Connect2Texas and do not necessarily represent the views of the Education Service Center Region 11. While some content is deemed appropriate for various curriculum standards used by viewers nationwide, most content providers make an effort to tie their content to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).


Connect2Texas is a service of the Education Service Center Region 11.