Cosmic Wonder

A slice of humble pie beneath the West Texas sky.

MCDONALD OBSERVATORY Solar viewing programs, guided tours, and interactive exhibits available for day-trippers, $8; self-guided tour, free; star parties Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, $10; special viewing nights several times a year, reservations required (dinner included with the 82-inch and 107-inch programs), $40–$80. Overnight stays, available only to those attending special viewings,include private room and bath, plus three meals served in the Astronomers Lodge (single occupancy, $80; double occupancy, $128). Note: Heed the advice to dress warmly for night events, even in the summer. 877-984-7827 or 432-426-3640,

I’VE NEVER HAD SO MUCH fun feeling insignificant. All it took was a clear, moonless night at the University of Texas McDonald Observatory, in Fort Davis, and a knowledgeable guide to the cosmos.

I’m sure my self-importance could have been suitably shrunk at one of the observatory’s thrice-weekly

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