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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    June Skywatch: Mars, Saturn and mountaintop viewing

    Jonathan Davis
    Galaxy M16 seen by Jonathan Davis’ homemade telescope. Photos like these will be taken using mirrors built and polished in the Richard F. Caris Mirror Laboratory.

    June is one of the clearer months to skywatch, and the mountaintops — paired with plentiful astronomical resources — in Tucson provide a great opportunity to do so.

    Here are some of the astronomical views to be on the lookout for this month, as per Dean Ketelsen, a technical expert on the production team at the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab and avid astrophotographer.

    • Jupiter can be viewed to the Southwest using a telescope
    • Mars will be at opposition, opposite in the sky from the sun
    • Saturn will be at opposition from Earth

    If you are interested in viewing any of these events, retreating to the mountaintops around Tucson is a good way to avoid light pollution. Here are some of the best places to skywatch in and around Tucson:

    • Kitt Peak National Observatory’s Nightly Observing Program: Admission is $46.95 to attend for students. You should arrive in the late afternoon. The event includes an orientation, boxed dinner, a view of the sunset and the opportunity to look through the observatory’s 20-inch and 16-inch telescopes.
    • The UA Science SkyCenter on Mount Lemmon’s SkyNights StarGazing program: Costs $65 to attend. Arrive in the late afternoon. Admission includes an orientation, dinner and the chance to look through their 32-inch telescope.
    • The Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium: Admission is $5 per students. Experience the night sky from 7-10 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays in the summer by looking through the center’s 16-inch telescope.

    If you are interested in any of these opportunities, be sure to call ahead to ensure there is space and that the astronomical happenings you want to spot will be in good view.

    Follow Natalie Robbins on Twitter.

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