The HET at Dawn, by Coyne Gibson
The HET at Dawn, by Coyne Gibson

Date and Location:
8:08 AM on January 15th, 2013
Taken from the MacDonald Observatory, Texas

How this Photo Was Taken:
"This photo was taken just after local sunrise, from the catwalk of the 107" / 2.7M Harlan J. Smith Telescope Dome at McDonald Observatory at the summit of Mt. Locke.

The view is approximately North.  The Harlan J. Smith Dome is atop Mt. Locke, at the summit.  The Hobby-Ebberle Telescope (HET) is at the summit of Mt. Fowlkes, north of Mt. Locke across a geologic saddle between the summits.
The small conical peak to the left of the HET (silver) dome is Guide Peak.  Behind Guide Peak and the HET, obscured by the clouds is Black Mountain, and a ridge line to the west, Gavina Ridge.  The fog-filled canyon to the right is Big Aguja Canyon.
We had near record snowfall this year at the Observatory, considered a 100-year event, with approximately 19 1/2" deposited in the January 9th-11th snow event.  A week prior, we had approximately 7" of snow over two days on January 3rd and 4th.
This photograph was taken during an atmospheric inversion event, when we still had significant snow on the ground.  Fog and low clouds fill the valleys below the mountain summits, making spectacular photographic opportunity, particularly at sunrise."
About Photographer Coyne Gibson:
"I am the Manager of Observing Support here at McDonald Observatory, and have access to unique vantage points like the dome catwalks. These offer 360-degree, horizon-to-horizon views of the Davis Mountains and surrounding Chihuahuan Desert valley."
Coyne Gibson