Skip to main content
Skip menu links

Astronomy Class visits McDonald Observatory

Submitted by Dr. Beverly Meyer on 11/03/2017 Students enrolled in the Earth Science Astronomy class at Oklahoma Panhandle State University taught by Dr. Beverly Meyer recently traveled to the McDonald Observatory at Fort Davis, Texas.Students enrolled in the Earth Science Astronomy class at Oklahoma Panhandle State University taught by Dr. Beverly Meyer recently traveled to the McDonald Observatory at Fort Davis, Texas.

Goodwell, Okla. — Students enrolled in the Earth Science Astronomy class at Oklahoma Panhandle State University taught by Dr. Beverly Meyer recently traveled to the McDonald Observatory at Fort Davis, Texas. The whirlwind three-day trip to southwest Texas included stops at the UFO Museum at Roswell, N.M., Carlsbad Caverns National Park, McDonald Observatory and viewing of the Marfa Lights.

The first stop on the field trip was Roswell, N.M. to tour the UFO Museum. The museum, which has become a popular local tourist attraction, was organized to inform the public about what has come to be known as “The Roswell Incident” of 1947. The museum is one of the leading information sources in history, science and research about UFO events worldwide.

The second stop was what the group agreed was the most awe inspiring part of the trip, the Bat Flight Program at Carlsbad Caverns. From the outdoor amphitheater the class watched as thousands of bats emerged for their evening of feeding on insects. In a mass exodus at dusk, thousands of Brazilian free-tailed bats fly from the cave and over the amphitheater. The sound of bat wings and watching their flight out of the cave in groups of hundreds is mesmerizing.

The following morning the class hiked down into Carlsbad Cavern via the Natural Entrance Route and toured the Big Room. The Big Room Route is a self-guided tour around the perimeter of the cave’s largest room. It features many amazing cave formations including stalactites, stalagmites, cave pearls and pools.

The group arrived at McDonald Observatory near Ft. Davis, Texas in the late afternoon. The observatory, a research unit of the University of Texas at Austin, is located in the mountains of West Texas at 6800 feet elevation. It is one of the world's leading centers for astronomical research, teaching, and public education and outreach. Observatory facilities are located atop Mount Locke and Mount Fowlkes in the Davis Mountains of West Texas, which offer some of the darkest night skies in the continental United States. The students participated in two public education programs, the Twilight Program and the Star Party.

The last stop on the field trip was a short drive to the Marfa Lights viewing area located just east of Marfa, Texas. The Marfa lights are a strange and unexplained phenomena that appear on the horizon above the desert. The mystery lights can be colorful or white and appear to rise and fall, twinkle, and sometimes dance. They appear randomly throughout the night and not every night. The group arrived at the viewing area and were rewarded with the appearance of the mystery lights three times during the night.

When asked what their favorite part of the trip was, the consensus among field trip students was the bat flight, followed by the time at McDonald Observatory and the Marfa lights. Everyone agreed that all scheduled stops and tours were very good. The group also agreed that the place they would like to revisit because they did not have enough time to see everything was McDonald Observatory. All in all it was an educational, fun and fulfilling field experience.


We Are Panhandle We Are Panhandle!

Image Rotator

Panhandle State Student Plays in the 2017 Mixed Worlds Tournament in Florida

Desha Almanza, a student here at Panhandle State, got the opportunity to travel to Florida this past October where she competed in the Mixed Worlds Tournament in Orlando held Oct. 13-15. —Courtesy photo

Image Rotator

Panhandle State Table Named Winner at Chamber Banquet

Nikki Stork decorated the Panhandle State table for the recent Guymon Chamber of Commerce Banquet and the table was named the winner of the decorating contest. —Photo by Danae Moore

Image Rotator

Women’s Team Wins Final Fall Rodeo

Shay Spitz ran the fastest time of the weekend in the barrel racing at the college rodeo at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, Okla. this past weekend. —Photo by Dale Hirschman

Image Rotator

PTCI Aggie Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Inductees Honored with Banquet Ceremony

From left: David Flowers, Bob Wakefield, Georgia Walton and the family of Jerry Linton gathered for a night of celebration at the 2017 PTCI Aggie Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremony.-Sarah Brady photos

Image Rotator

2017 PTCI Aggie Hall of Fame Spotlight: Jerry Linton

Tickets are still available for the 2017 PTCI Aggie Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Banquet held Saturday, Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. in the Panhandle State Student Union Ballroom.

Image Rotator

McKee Library Hosts Elementary Visitors

Goodwell Elementary School students visited the McKee Library for a tour hosted by Director Tony Hardman. —Photo by Danae Moore

Image Rotator

2017 PTCI Aggie Hall of Fame Spotlight: Georgia Walton

Image Rotator

Run With It: J. Dee Marinko

Former Aggie football player and Men's Sitting Volleyball Paralympian, J. Dee Marinko visited campus and shared his story with Aggie athletes on Monday, Oct. 9.-Danae Moore photo

Image Rotator

2017 PTCI Aggie Hall of Fame Spotlight: Bob Wakefield

The 2017 PTCI Aggie Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Banquet takes place Saturday, Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. at Panhandle State.

Image Rotator

Aggie Baseball Helps Host Special Game Day

Panhandle State Baseball players gather around Austin Ronne after he threw out the first pitch at the Special Game Day on October 8 in Goodwell. —Photo by Alexis Faris

Image Rotator

Rogelio Reyna Visits Monday Munch

Students enjoyed the opportunity to meet Professional Makeup Artist Rogelio Reyna at a recent Monday Munch hosted by the Alumni Office. —Photo by Danae Moore

Image Rotator

Torres Wins National Hispanic College Quiz

This past July, Oklahoma Panhandle State University senior Ami Torres Acuña (second from the right) competed in Nashville at the Hispanic College Quiz and won the competition! —Courtesy photo