The stars, moon, and Venus shine bright over the Kingsland Slab on the Llano River. To get there, take RR 1431 west through Kingsland then turn west on FM 3404 and stay there for a couple of miles.
The Highland Lakes boasts great dark skies for fantastic stargazing.On a perfect night with no moon — even a sliver of one — Eagle Eye Observatory earns about a No. 3 dark sky rating on the Bortle Scale (a nine-level numeric scale that measures the night sky’s brightness of a particular location).
Places such as Canyon of the Eagles offer better opportunities to study the night sky. Farther to the southwest, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area near Llano has an International Dark Sky Association dark park designation. It’s a great place to exchange the bright lights of the city for the bright lights of the heavens. The park holds night sky parties during the year. (Check the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website or 101HighlandLakes.com/EVENTS for upcoming ones.)
Inks Lake State Park also offers night hikes and star parties. During its stargazing events, an experienced amateur astronomer guides people as they peer up at the night sky.
The Austin Astronomical Association partners with Eagle Eye Observatory and holds public star parties about once a month. During these events, AAS members set up their own telescopes on tables outside of the main observatory.
“During one of the AAS public events, you might have 20 to 30 members out here, each more than happy to share what they know,” Sheets said. “I personally would recommend anyone interested in astronomy (or stargazing) to go to a star party and just walk around and talk to the (AAS) members.”
Go to canyonoftheeagles.com for more information on the Eagle Eye Observatory and austinastro.org for more on the Austin Astronomical Association and public star parties.