The Painter Hall Telescope

This entry is the second in our category called “Austin Gems” (see the side bar on the right). We’ve all seen the bats at the bridge…here we will provide information about some of the lesser known opportunities that make Austin a unique and very cool place to live.

The Stars at Night are Big and Bright, especially through a huge telescope.

The Painter Hall Telescope on the campus of the University of Texas offers free public viewings at select times throughout the year.  The current Summer session ends August 14, so if you want to take advantage of this very unique Austin thing to do, make your plans soon. The telescope is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 9:00 pm – 10:30 pm.  There is no cost to look through the telescope, but you will most likely need to pay for parking.  There is a $5 lot available close to Painter Hall. 

Besides the incredible view of the nighttime sky, you will also learn some interesting facts about the telescope itself.  For example, the telescope does not rely on electricity to operate the clock drive.  Instead, there is a mechanism that is wound up, raising a weight. As the weight slowly falls to back down it turns the gears of the clock drive. What’s a clock drive? Head to campus and find out!

For more information, including a map to the building, please visit http://outreach.as.utexas.edu/public/painter.html

We’d love to hear from people who have looked through the telescope. Use the comment section below to tell us when you went, what you saw, and what made your visit memorable.

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