Eagle Eye Observatory reopens in Burnet
The aptly named Eagle Eye Observatory at Canyon of the Eagles Nature Park and Resort in Burnet keeps its computer-enhanced telescopes aimed at the stars year-round. Some of the best viewing in the Highland Lakes is in the winter months when the season’s constellations shine bright on clear, crisp nights. As an added bonus, an on-staff astronomer is on hand to help guests explore the heavens.
The observatory’s telescopes peer out of automatic and removable roof sections and come with a variety of exacting lenses and astronomical instruments. Just a tap on the scopes locks lenses onto any celestial object in the sky that visitors wish to view.
On Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, the observatory opens to the public at 8 p.m. Overnight guests to Canyon of the Eagles may peer into the telescopes Wednesday through Sunday evenings for one hour each at 8 p.m., 9 p.m., and 10 p.m.
Visitors are encouraged to call 512-334-2070 ext. 1 to make a reservation as only 20 people are admitted to each session. When it’s too cloudy or rainy to view the skies, you still receive a benefit. The observatory provides programs via a large-screen TV with real-time sky software, videos, and comprehensive interactive Q&A sessions.
Visible through the scopes during the winter are the Ring Nebula (M57), the Dumbbell Nebula (M27), and the great Orion Nebula (M42). The Pleiades (M45) star cluster also can be viewed high in the eastern sky.
“You can most enjoy the view while dressed warmly and comfortably as our observatory is open air at ambient temperatures,” astronomer Jim Sheets said on the observatory’s webpage. Sheets regularly updates the page with seasonal highlights.
For non-overnight guests, the fee to stargaze is $10 per person with an additional $8 park fee for entry to Canyon of the Eagles. Nature trails, a labyrinth, water activities, and a nightly fire pit at 5:30 p.m. are available beforehand. Check in at the resort’s front desk to pick up tickets.
Recently, Eagle Eye Observatory set up 31 pads just outside. Guests may set up their own telescopes before nightfall to observe during the regular observatory hours of 8-11 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Aspiring astronomers are asked not to disturb or enter the observatory while in session.
Canyon of the Eagles Nature Park and Resort is located at 16942 RR 2341 in Burnet. Call 512-334-2070 for more information.