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Get a glimpse of the universe at McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis

At the McDonald Observatory, the stars at night truly are big and bright.
Dane Walters
At the McDonald Observatory, the stars at night truly are big and bright.

This episode of the KERA video series "The Shape of Texas" explores the architecture of the McDonald Observatory, where scientists study the stars - and you can too.

The observatory's first telescope was completed in 1939. The telescope has allowed astronomers to peer deep into the galaxy, discover new moons, and analyze the chemical composition of celestial bodies. The observatory added two more telescopes in 1968 and 1997, which helped astronomers expand their view to the ends of the observable universe.

Tens of thousands of visitors go to the observatory every year to see the telescopes in action. It is located deep in the Davis Mountains and has very little light pollution, allowing scientists the clearest view of the stars above. Even to the naked eye, the night sky is as stunning as can be.

KERA's“The Shape of Texas” video series explores how our built environment holds our history, reflects our diverse cultures and projects our ambitions for the future. From the glittery, kitschy Beer Can House in Houston to the soaring Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, architecture helps tell the story of who we are in Texas.

Find out more about the McDonald Observatory's telescopesas well as other attractions around the Davis Mountains.

Max Chow-Gillette is the Fall 2022 Art&Seek intern.