Texas Living

A Guide to Stargazing Across Texas

By Brian Kendall 6.21.17

We might call it the Lone Star State, but we all know that during a clear summer night in Texas, that lone star on our flag is far from alone. Winter is the best season for stargazing, but it’s also when we see the most cloud cover. If you find a good, clear winter night, you’re in for an amazing sight. So dust off that telescope, Texans, and check out some of these destinations and tips for getting all starry-eyed.

Also look out for star clubs in your community — there may be other Texans out there who want to talk constellations, moon phases, the best stargazing spots, and even partake in star parties. If you’re venturing out on your own, here’s where to start.

Constellation Destinations

  • Big Bend National Park: The largest and least visited national park in the U.S. offers Texans huge swaths of public land free from light pollution. On a good night, you might even see the Milky Way.
  • Big Bend Ranch State Park: Adjacent to the national park and far from Texas’ bright lights and big cities, this park claims to have the darkest skies in the state. 
  • Davis Mountains State Park: North of Marfa in the mountains of West Texas lies the home of the state’s largest telescope. This spot is not to be missed.
  • Enchanted Rock: You might know it for its giant granite boulders and hills, but this state natural area has also recently been recognized as an International Dark Sky Park — “a land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment.”

Starlight Aids

  • Star Chart: Change your location to view the night sky from other places on Earth. 
  • Night Sky Lite: An active community suggests great stargazing spots and keeps you up-to-date with weather and other influencing factors.
  • Deluxe Moon HD: Take a gander at the moon — using this app, you can track its current phase and even calculate its distance from the sun. 
  • SkyView: Use augmented reality to bring constellations to life by superimposing constellations over everyday objects — no view of the sky needed! 
  • Star Walk 2: Hold your smartphone or tablet to the stars to get a real-time view of stars, planets, and the moon. Motion tracking helps guide your device to the right location for optimal viewing of stars, constellations, and satellites. 

Find more of Texas’ magic in sea turtle hatchings, bird-watching, and bat flights

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