TSP was started by Deborah Byrd, members of the Austin Astronomical Society, and McDonald Observatory in August 1979. It was a weekend gathering of amateur astronomers at Davis Mountains State Park near McDonald Observatory in far west Texas. In 1982, TSP was reorganized as a week-long event and was held at the Prude Guest Ranch near Fort Davis, Texas. For one year only, in 1997, the event was held at Alto Frio Baptist Encampment, on the banks of the Frio River, 40 miles north of Uvalde, Texas. In 1998, TSP returned to Prude Ranch, where it continues to be held annually in late April or in May near the time of new moon.