We are traveling faster than what I can keep track of. We are in New Mexico, and my thoughts are returning to Texas. Gee gosh the shipyard tour, our boat ride on the Rio Grande, Big Bend National Park, the man camp, and so much more is in the past. I should write a post about those times, someday. I’d rather forget about the accident that happened right alongside us, or me running over a four-foot tall light pole in a RV park. What can I say, we are out here stimulating the economy, burning up fossil fuel – thank you dinsaours, and seeing what there is to see.
Speaking of seeing, and fast, the speed of light in a vacuum is 186,282 miles per second and in theory nothing can travel faster than light. In miles per hour, light speed is, well, a lot: about 670,616,629 mph. So anyway, from Del Rio, TX on our way to Big Bend National Park we stopped in Alpine, and then onto Fort Davis, TX. I wanted to see the McDonald Observatory; Deb would have been OK with watching a PBS special if she really wanted to learn about the speed of light. We also hiked in Davis Mountains State Park, so we were both happy.
The McDonald observatory was a great experience. All though William McDonalds kin folk didn’t think it was so cool. When William McDonald, a bachelor, died in 1926 leaving his fortune to the University of Texas for stuff like astronomy, his will was contested. Everyone got a slice, the university, the relatives, and the lawyers.
It was cold. Inside and outside the observatory, the trees had snow on them. A temperature variance between the telescope lens, and air would cause it to crack. So the inside temperature matches the outside temp. Makes sense.
Deb operated the 160-ton telescope, as did I. The platform raises and lowers, it rotates, tilts, auto positions, and the room also has hoists to remove the lens for service. It was all quite interesting. Joe, our tour guide, an astronomy enthusiast spoke facts and stories close to the speed of auto mobile accidents, and light poles being knocked over. Obviously more than I can handle.
Hiking the nearby trails was a great way to wrap up the day. We met a couple on the trail who attended the same observatory tour as us. They had a nice lunch at the state park lodge. We had a lame lunch in the nearby small town of Fort Davis. We thought about having dinner at the lodge, but the folks from Illinois told us they only offered lunch because there was not enough wait staff for dinner.
The night sky in Texas is absolutely beautiful. The brightness of the stars, the pronounced constellations, the milky way, it’s truly amazing how mankind continues to search out definition and meaning, of everything great and small. I’m leaving all that for those who are wired up for that sort of stuff. God created wonderment. This super enormous ever-expanding grand design all started somehow.