On the road: The 2013 Tucson Public Star Party

Posted by David Eicher
on Monday, February 18, 2013

Astronomy magazine’s public star party — with the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association, the International Dark Sky Association, the University of Arizona Mount Lemmon SkyCenter, and the Astronomy Foundation, was a terrific success with more than 100 people and two dozen telescopes enjoying treasures of the night sky. This followed a day of solar observing and talks. // all photos by David J. Eicher
Saturday night, February 16, 2013, Astronomy magazine joined a partnership to bring a terrific public star party to the astronomy capital of the United States, Tucson, Arizona. It was a great night of observing, fellowship, and sharing stories about space and astronomy for more than 100 people who showed up to enjoy the night skies. The event took place at Pima Community College’s East Campus on the eastern edge of Tucson, and as darkness fell, more than two dozen telescopes were set up for viewing.

This followed a day of events at the college that included talks by Astronomy Senior Editor Michael Bakich, Keith Schlottman of the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association, Scott Kardel of the International Dark Sky Association, Astronomy Contributing Editor Mike Reynolds, and me. Michael Bakich will be blogging about the talks, which he introduced and oversaw.

Several organizations joined in on sponsoring this event: not only our magazine, but also Pima Community College, the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association, the University of Arizona Mount Lemmon SkyCenter, the International Dark Sky Association, and the Astronomy Foundation.

Dave Eicher lecturing on “Astronomy’s new frontier” about planetary science, cosmology, and astrophysics results spanning lunar origins, dark energy, the size and age of the universe, and more, Pima Community College, Tucson, Arizona, February 16, 2013.
The stargazing was a great success. Although the Moon was out (which was a target!) and some parking lot lights were on around on the perimeter of a huge parking lot, the sky was still inky black overhead, with hints of the Milky Way to the naked eye. The buzz of talk among amateur astronomers and the public, would-be hobbyists, was all about the Russian meteorite fall. But telescopic targets ranged from the Moon to a wide variety of deep-sky objects — the Owl Cluster, the Double Cluster, various planetary nebulae, and a wide range of galaxies. The scopes ranged from small refractors (we also had solar viewing going during the day) to an 18-inch Dob, which was providing jaw-dropping views.

The big crowd had a wonderful time, with lots of “wows” on looking into the eyepiece, lots of laughter, and much discussion about what we know about the universe. It was a terrific night in Tucson! Thanks to all who helped to put it on

Related blogs:
On the road: A dinner with legendary comet discoverers, by Editor David J. Eicher

On the road: Prepping for the 2013 Tucson Star Party, by Senior Editor Michael E. Bakich

On the road: Meteorites at the 2013 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, by Editor David J. Eicher

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