Dark Skies on Tap: An Evening with McDonald Observatory at Vista Brewing
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Dark Skies on Tap: An Evening with McDonald Observatory at Vista Brewing

Date: Nov 03, 2019
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Join us for a special event at Vista as we welcome our friends from The University of Texas' McDonald Observatory back to Vista for an evening of astronomy: a science presentation, kids’ activities, and star party!

While the UT Department of Astronomy's home base for research is here in Austin, the McDonald Observatory is located in the Davis Mountains of West Texas, 450 miles west under some of the darkest skies in the US! The observatory offers the research community some of the most high-tech and globally networked equipment in the world.

We're bringing the McDonald Observatory team back to Vista for our third event in the "Dark Skies on Tap" series, this time featuring dynamic speaker UT Astronomy Assistant Professor Dr. Keith Hawkins giving a talk “Through the Milky Way and Beyond" plus a hands-on activity for all ages: making a constellation chart.

This event is a fundraiser for the McDonald Observatory, with a portion of ticket sales going to further their mission and research. There will also be door prize giveaways with Vista and McDonald Observatory swag.

Vista’s restaurant will have special dinner menu items, as well as Vista's wine list and 11 house-brewed beers including our gold medal winning Dark Skies Black Pilsner. Arrive early and catch the live music show by the Stone Wheels from 3:00 – 5:30 p.m.

Tickets :
• Adults (21+) $20. Adult tickets includes a welcome beer of Vista’s award-winning Dark Skies Black Pilsner, science presentation, star viewing and a $10 donation to support the McDonald Observatory.
• Youth (<21) $10. Youth tickets include the constellation chart activity, science presentation, star viewing and a $10 donation to support the McDonald Observatory.

Agenda:
4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Welcome Reception (Ticket Required)
When you check in, enjoy a welcome drink of Vista's Dark Skies Black Pilsner, which is named in honor of the International Dark Sky Association, an organization which combats light pollution. With this beer, we’re celebrating the beauty of the nighttime skies of the Hill Country, and keeping the stars at night big and bright over Driftwood. Our neighbor to the west, Dripping Springs, was actually the first Dark Sky community in Texas and the sixth in the world! Our neighbor to the south, Wimberley, is also a recent Dark Sky community.

This beer also took home a gold medal at the US Open Beer Championships, an international competition with more than 6,300 entries in 110 beer style categories.
Dinner will be available to order and enjoy at any time. Arrive early and catch the live music show by the Stone Wheels from 3:00 – 5:30 p.m.
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4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Kids’ Activities (Open to the public, no ticket required)
Join the McDonald Observatory Education and Outreach Staff as we make constellation charts! This activity will be fun for all ages.
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6:00 – 6:30 p.m. Presentation (Ticket required)
“Through the Milky Way and Beyond” by Dr. Keith Hawkins, UT Astronomy Assistant Professor
Over the last 80 years of McDonald Observatory and through much of human history, we have looked up at the milky band of stars that brighten the night sky. This Milky Way Galaxy represents an excellent laboratory for studying our theories for galaxy formation and evolution. With groundbreaking new data on the positions, motions, and chemical make-up for billions of stars now available, we have entered a new and exciting era in Astronomy. On the cutting edge of this revolution in Galactic Archaeological science, Dr. Hawkins will explore the current and future directions in the study of the Milky Way, the role of the observatories in this field, and finally discuss the how we can expand what we are doing to other nearby galaxies.

Tickets to Dark Skies on Tap: Star Party

Dr. Keith Hawkins joined The University of Texas at Austin in the Fall of 2018 as an Assistant Professor of Astronomy. He received his B.S. in astrophysics with minors in Mathematics and African Studies from the Honors Tutorial College at Ohio University in 2013 and his Ph.D. in Astronomy at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge in the UK. His research interests are in galactic archaeology, with the goal of revealing the formation and evolution of our galaxy through detailed chemical and dynamical studies of individual stars.
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6:30 p.m. Door Prize Giveaways McDonald Observatory will have various swag to give out to attendees! ________________________________________
6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Guided Stargazing (Ticket Required) Join UT volunteers with telescopes to view stars and planets. You are welcome to bring your own telescope as well!
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