Friday, March 18, 2011

The STARS at Night ... Part Two

It's Spring Break! In between St. Baldrick's events, we decided to take a "quick" trip to Ft. Davis in West Texas. We stayed at the Stone Village Tourist Camp, which is an old motel that has been completely renovated and updated - so cute! The first thing Georgia and Ivy wanted to do was hit the pool for the first swim of the season!

The next day, we toured the actual Fort Davis, and Georgia and Ivy got their Junior Park Ranger patches after correctly answering many questions about the Fort and taking an official pledge. They had volunteers in period costume giving tours, and the whole place was overrun with Boy Scouts! Interesting ...

We drove over to Marfa just to look around a bit, but it was lunchtime, so we didn't get a chance to see the Lights. We had big plans for the night at the McDonald Observatory anyway. What an amazing place! One of the darkest places in North America, too, which is perfect for stargazing. We took part in several of the programs offered, including an up-close tour of the Harlan J. Smith Telescope, high on a hill in the Davis Mountains:

At the end of the tour, Georgia was invited to help "move" the giant telescope back into place - which she did with the flick of a switch. Amazing!

The highlight of the day was the "Star Party" after sundown. We saw many stars, learned how to identify different constellations, and even got a quick look at Mercury, which, we were told, only 1% of the world's population has ever actually seen. How cool is that? It was pretty crowded because of Spring Break, so we decided to skip the lines for the little telescopes and call it a night. But we'll be back for sure!

And in other star-related news, Georgia, as the LLS Girl of the Year, will be a special guest at the Texas Stars hockey game on Saturday, April 9th. A portion of ticket sales will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, so come on out for some good fun for a great cause!

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