Wednesday Night Star Party at UT – Wednesdays, February 18 to March 4, from 7-9 p.m. and March 11 to May 6, from 8:30-10:30 p.m. (No viewing March 18 due to Spring Break.) Every Wednesday night while UT is in session, the astronomy department sponsors free public star parties on the top roof of Robert Lee Moore Hall, which is located at the southeast corner of Dean Keeton (formerly 26th street) and Speedway. Once you reach RLM, take the elevators to the 17th floor and then follow the signs to the stairs up to the telescope. Click here for map to RLM and nearby parking garages. All ages are welcome, but younger children must be under adult supervision at all times. Viewing times change throughout the year so please check this page for current times before planning your visit. Please call 512-232-4265 for weather cancellation information. (This line is updated approximately 30-45 minutes before the scheduled start time.) FREE!
Science Under the Stars – Thursday, February 19 at 7 p.m. Science Under the Stars is a free public outreach lecture series. Events start at 7:30 p.m. outdoors at Brackenridge Field Laboratory. Arrive early for refreshments and fun activities for kids of all ages! Guided tours of the field lab start at 7 p.m. (wear sturdy shoes and bring water). Other 2015 dates include: March 12, April 9, May 14. FREE! Brackenridge Field Laboratory, 2907 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, Texas.
ACC Star Party (Round Rock) – Friday, February 20, from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Enjoy hands-on science exhibits for kids and planetarium shows in Austin Planetarium’s Discovery Dome. The next Star Party after this one will be March 24. FREE! ACC’s Round Rock Campus,4400 College Park Dr, Round Rock.
Star Party (Sunset Valley) – Friday, February 20, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Take a tour of the night sky, hear star lore stories, and learn how to use star charts. There will be activities inside City Hall as well. If you have telescopes or binoculars bring them along for a great evening. FREE! For more information, call 512-891-9103. 3205 Jones Road, Sunset Valley.
Friday and Saturday Night Public Viewing at UT – Fridays and Saturdays, February 20 to March 7, from 7-9 p.m. and March 13 to May 9, from 8:30-10:30 p.m. (No viewing March 20 & 21 due to Spring Break.) Every Friday and Saturday while UT is in session, the Department of Astronomy hosts free viewing on the Painter Hall Telescope. Both Friday and Saturday nights are open to the general public. Painter Hall is located at the corner of 24th street and Inner Campus Drive, just to the north of the UT Tower. Click here for map to Painter Hall and nearby parking garages. All ages are welcome, but younger children must be under adult supervision at all times. Viewing times change throughout the year, so please check this page before planning your visit. Please call 512-232-4265 for weather cancellation information. (This line is updated approximately 30-45 minutes before the scheduled start time.) To get to the telescope, take the elevator to the 5th floor and exit to the left. Follow the 5th floor hallway to the end and take the staircase through the double doors on the left. Once you reach the 6th floor, go to your right and follow the signs up to the telescope. FREE!
Enchanted “Rock Star” Festival (Fredericksburg) – Saturday, February 21, from 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area has been designated by the International Dark Sky Association as a Gold Tier International Dark Sky Park. To celebrate the efforts made by staff and volunteers to earn that special status, Friends of Enchanted Rock will be holding an all-day event for the public. This will be a full day event that begins as the darkness turns to morning light with a sunrise program and ends with a Star Party chock full of telescopes and a constellation tour by McDonald Observatory’s own Bill Wren. Throughout the day there will be activities for children and the young at heart. Check out the schedule. You can also read the Enchanted Rock newsletter here. Please note that large sections of the parking lot by the viewing area will be closed after 4 p.m. to keep headlights from disturbing the night programming. Also, it is always best to arrive at Enchanted Rock early on weekends as the lot does fill to capacity. Regular park admission applies and includes access to all activities.Entrance to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is $7 for visitors age 13 and up; kids 12 and under are FREE. 16710 Ranch Rd. 965, Fredericksburg.
Westcave Star Party (Round Mountain) – Registration for the Star Party this weekend is full. Be sure to register for one of the six upcoming events if you’d like to get a spot! Admission is $5 per child ages 4-12 years; $10 per adult; or $25 per immediate family. Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center, 24814 Hamilton Pool Rd., Round Mountain.
Heidi Gollub is the founder and editor-in-chief of the award-winning website Free Fun in Austin.com. When not running around on adventures with her five children–ages three to 15–she volunteers for the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau and shares content with the local news. Recently, Heidi was a speaker at Mom 2.0 and the Texas Conference for Women.