July 10, 2008

Day 2: Van Horn, TX and McDonald Observatory

Welcome to TX!!! I was going to put this "Don't Mess with Texas" sticker on our car, and when Dan said, "Oh no you will not", I happily submitted because I am a loving Christian wife. Instead I stuck it to my chest. This picture was taken at Dairy Queen (oh, how we love thee). And while I'm embarrassed at my appearance, I am not in any way embarrassed about the sticker. If you can't understand why, then you're just not a Texan.

So we made really good time on day 2, and got to Van Horn early. We wanted to get a couple more hours down the highway, but we couldn't get a refund on our hotel. I had picked up a Visitor's Guide when we entered TX and found it to be really cool. That's where I read about the McDonald Observatory, which I had heard great things about from my mom but didn't know we were near it. We happened to be there on a night where they have "star parties", and what a great treat! If any of you are ever in Southeast TX or are making a trip to Big Bend, this is a must stop! We sat out in the amphitheatre, and it was like experiencing the planetarium, but all the stars were real!!! Our speaker even had a light-pointer thing, and I don't know how the illusion worked, but it looked like he was actually pointing at every star and constellation that he told us about. So cool!

The observatory is famous for the 3rd most powerful telescope in the world (not pictured), but the 2 telescopes above are quite powerful and were open for the star party. The second picture shows what it looked like inside the dome, and through that telescope we saw Saturn!!! There were even 4 moons of Saturn visible, but I was so excited I forgot to look for them (that doesn't sound like me at all, does it?). Dan saw Titan, Saturn's largest moon.

On our drive to the observatory (50 or so miles), the sun was setting and we saw tons of wildlife, even up close and personal.


Christi said...

Love the pictures!

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

How fun!!!!!

Cara said...

So jealous that you are in Texas! We miss our home state so much!!

I was cracking up at the picture of you wearing the don't mess with Texas sticker b/c it is SO something I would do. :)