Life on the Open Road (April 2006 - May 2008)

The continuing saga of a single fulltime RVer who travels the western US. This is part one of my journey, from April 2006, when the blog started, to May 2008, when the blog continues at

My Photo

I have been a full-time RVer for 18 years, primarily "boondocking," camping free without hookups, in the Western US. I am connected electronically with the world via satellite TV, phone and internet. My batteries are charged solely by solar panels. I welcome your comments and emails.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Thirteen miles up hill from Davis Mountains State Park is the McDonald Observatory. It's actually 3 observatories. The original one, in the middle, contains an 82-inch telescope built in 1933.

On the right, in the first picture, is the 107-inch telescope, included in the LONG guided tour.

Can you find the WINs?

Also included in the tour was the big Kahuna, the Hobby-Eberly Telescope on the far hill.

The telescope was built for a small fraction of what a normal telescope this size would cost, because it rotates but does not tilt. By waiting for the stars to come to the right height in the sky, it can still zero in on 70% of the stars a normal telescope would see.

It sports the largest telescope mirror in the world -- 11 meters in diameter. It's hard to see in this picture, but I put arrows around it. The mirror consists of 91 hexagonal elements each 1 meter wide.

We also went to the Star Party at night, under the darkest sky of any observatory in the continental US. The sky was just covered with stars. I tried to take a picture, and it came out like this:

Clearly, I needed a longer exposure...


Blogger Bob Parker & Donna Huffer said...

Egads, It's time to get back out west. I didn't recognize a single WIN in the picture.

6:17 AM  
Blogger Barbara and Ron said...

At first I thought you were being funny with a black picture of the stars, but I blew it up and there was the big dipper! I'm really sorry we missed the Star Party.

12:16 AM  

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