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Basin Buzz: Scoping into the McDonald Observatory and their virtual tours

See the stars up close with The McDonald Observatory's virtual Live Deep Sky Tours.

JEFF DAVIS COUNTY, Texas — West Texas is known for having some of the darkest skies in the country. It's something you have to see for yourself when you're at the McDonald Observatory.

But on the evening of Nov. 11, you'll have the chance to take a closer look at space from the comfort of your own home thanks to their virtual Live Deep Sky Tour.

Known for their telescopes to study dark energy, the McDonald Observatory can give you a closer look into space in Jeff Davis County.

In fact, this is where they house the Hobby-Eberly Telescope. It's one of the world's largest optical telescopes to search for planets and black holes, study distant galaxies, and see exploding stars.

To save you a trip this week, you can also learn more by joining the observatory's Live Deep Sky Tours.

It's an interactive virtual tour they hold every month to talk about all things related to space.

You can see live views of space, star clusters, remnants of a dead star and the birth place of new ones. You'll also be able to see galaxies that are tens of thousands of light years away all in real-time.

Then mark your calendars for Nov. 19. You can see the upcoming partial lunar eclipse, when the Moon moves into the Earth's shadow.

But if you ever find yourself in this part of West Texas, wait until night falls. Their star parties give you the chance to look into the observatory's telescopes. You'll see anything from star clusters to constellations.

After all, that's why thousands come to the desert, to see for themselves.

"People will come out to West Texas to discover the night sky," said Bill Wren, Special Assistant to the Superintendent at the McDonald Observatory. "There were 100,000 people in 2019 who made reservations months in advance to see the night skies here in West Texas."

You can log into the tour by clicking here and find more information about the observatory here.