Photos: Texas Wildfires Seen From the McDonald Observatory

The View from the Dome

Frank Cianciolo/McDonald Observatory

This view of the Rock House wildfire was shot on the night of April 9, 2011 overlooking the dome of a 3-foot (0.9-m) telescope at the McDonald Observatory in West Texas.

As Seen From the Visitors Center's Telescope Park

Frank Cianciolo/McDonald Observatory

The controlled burn of April 17, 2011 as seen from the visitors center's public telescope park at the McDonald Observatory, where public star parties are held three times each week.

The Texas Forest Service undertook the controlled burn to starve the Rock House wildfire of fuel, should it turn back toward the observatory.

Flames on Guide Peak

Frank Cianciolo/McDonald Observatory

Guide Peak in West Texas is in flames from the controlled burn on April 17, 2011. The two peaks of McDonald Observatory, Mount Fowlkes and Mount Locke, are to the right and far right, respectively. The domes of the 30-foot (9.1-m) Hobby-Eberly, Harlan J. Smith and Otto Struve telescopes at the McDonald Observatory are visible.

Hobby-Eberly Telescope and the Guide Peak Flames

Frank Cianciolo/McDonald Observatory

To the north of the McDonald Observatory's Hobby-Eberly Telescope in West Texas, Guide Peak is on fire and almost completely burned on April 17, 2011.

Wildfires Bear Down on McDonald Observatory

Frank Cianciolo/McDonald Observatory

With wildfires bearing down on the McDonald Observatory, the Texas Forest Service undertook controlled burns on April 17, 2011 to get rid of fuel on the mountains in West Texas. This would starve the Rock House wildfire of fuel should it double back toward the observatory.

In this photo obtained by sister site OurAmazingPlanet, Black Mountain is burning. The Hobby-Eberly Telescope dome is at right. Above it, the bright line on the right is the wildfire which broke through a burn-out line on Sunday afternoon. The bright line on the left is the front of a back-fire set to stop that portion of the wildfire. Silhouetted by the back-fires on Black and Spring (to the left) Mountains is Guide Peak now with only small pockets of active fires.

The View from the Otto Struve Telescope

Frank Cianciolo/McDonald Observatory

This view of the Rock House wildfire was shot on the night of April 9, 2011 from the catwalk of the 6.9-foot (2.1-meter) Otto Struve Telescope dome of the McDonald Observatory in West Texas looking east. The 8.9-foot (2.7-m) Harlan J. Smith Telescope is at left.

A Wild View

wildfires and controlled burns compete for fuel in the West Texas mountains.">Frank Cianciolo/McDonald Observatory

The McDonald Observatory's Hobby-Eberly Telescope dome watches as wildfires and controlled burns compete for fuel in the West Texas mountains.

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