Tucson, Ariz. – Saturday brings International Observe the Moon Night activities to Tucson.
The local event, organized by the Planetary Science Institute, is open to the public and will run from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sept. 6 on the University of Arizona Mall and at the UA’s Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium.
“This event is an exciting opportunity to learn about lunar exploration from some amazing local scientists,” said Sanlyn Buxner, PSI Education Specialist and Research Scientist and event organizer. “There will be engaging activities for the whole family both on the mall and inside the science center, and some great views of the skies through various telescopes.”
Free lunar telescope viewing on the Mall will be offered, with telescopes provided by the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association (TAAA), the UA Astronomy Club, the Planetary Science Institute, UA Department of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies and UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. Flandrau’s 16-inch Cassegrain telescope will also be available for free public viewing of the Moon.
There will be hands-on activities inside Flandrau provided by the UA student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, LPL graduate students, National Optical Astronomy Observatory and TAAA.
Free event parking is offered at the Second Street Garage and Cherry Street Garage.
PSI Senior Scientist William Hartmann will give a free presentation on the Moon at 6:15 p.m. in the planetarium theater.
A number of programs will take place that will feature Flandrau Planetarium’s new FullDome projection and audio system. The digital Colorspace system uses two projectors linked to a powerful computer system that will digitally stitch the images together to deliver crisp detailed pictures covering the whole planetarium dome.
The documentary film Desert Moon will begin at 5:30 p.m. The film by Jason Davis tells the story of legendary astronomer Gerard Kuiper and his team of lunar researchers at the University of Arizona. Kuiper’s group played a crucial role in the race to land a man on the moon, and at the same time they founded the UA’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, now a world leader in planetary research.
Tucson Sky and Beyond, which offers a tour of the stars, planets and constellations you see in the Tucson region night sky this time of year, and helps you understand how to orient yourself to find those formations, starts at 7 p.m., followed at 8 p.m. by Back to the Moon for Good, a film highlighting the history of exploring the Moon and providing an insider’s look at the teams – including one from the University of Arizona – vying for the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE, the largest incentivized prize in history. The classic Dark Side of the Moon laser music show starts at 9 p.m.
Admission to Flandrau Science Center is free. FullDome shows in the planetarium theater are $7 for adults, $5 for children ages 4-17 and kids under 4 are admitted free.
International Observe the Moon Night is an annual event that is dedicated to encouraging people to ‘look up’ and take notice of our nearest neighbor, the Moon. From looking at the Moon with a naked eye to using the most sensitive telescope, every year on the same day, people from around the world hold events and activities to observe and appreciate the Moon.