Plans set for Tucson Star Party

Posted by David Eicher
on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Credit: Tony Hallas
In early February, Senior Editor Michael Bakich and I will be traveling to Arizona for a big trip that will be centered on our annual public star party in Tucson.

We’ll also be trekking northward to Flagstaff to visit significant institutions: Lowell Observatory, the U.S. Naval Observatory, and the U.S. Geological Survey. Some fun things will come out of that trip.

We will also be covering the meteorite-related activities at the annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, which is held each February (the “main show” at the Tucson Convention Center, February 12–15, and the “satellite shows” all over the city, mostly January 31–February 14). As always, we’ll bring you lots of reporting in blogs about the numerous activities going on there, with as many as 100,000 people in the city enthusiastically hunting for meteorites and minerals.

We will also proudly sponsor our third annual Tucson Public Star Party, and I append the press release explaining it here:

On Saturday, February 14, 2015, Astronomy magazine will host the third annual all-day skywatching party at the East Campus Observatory of Pima Community College. The free event also will feature illustrated talks on a variety of subjects in the nearby Community Room. Activities begin at 10 a.m. and continue all the way through 9 p.m.

This year’s speakers include Jim O’Connor of the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association (TAAA); Scott Kardel, president of the International Dark Sky Association; Dolores Hill, co-lead of the OSIRIS-Rex “Target Asteroids!” program; and Astronomy Editor David J. Eicher.
Throughout the day, members of the TAAA will point safely filtered telescopes at the Sun. After sunset, the group will conduct several hours of viewing planets, nebulae, and galaxies.

“One cool thing about the star party is the interaction it offers,” said Bakich. “Bring your questions for the speakers or the TAAA members. Each of them will be happy to answer any queries about the Sun, deep-sky objects, or which telescope might be best for you.”

The Pima Community College Observatory also will be open throughout the day and night. Visitors can view displays there and enjoy brief planetarium programs.

Fellowship with other stargazing enthusiasts, interesting speakers, and the prospect of clear skies mean that the 2015 Tucson Public Star Party is shaping up as a “must-see” event. So, when you make plans to come out, be sure to bring family and friends.

The free star party will be held February 14 at the Pima Community College East Campus Observatory, 8181 East Irvington Road, southeast of the center of the city.

We hope you’ll come out and join us for one of the biggest astronomical weeks of the year, celebrating dark skies, telescopes, observatories, meteorites, and minerals — all those great things we love.

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