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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    -21ø: Stargazing offers free fun

    While many establishments offer entertainment to those who have not reached their 21st birthdays, few are open into the wee hours of the morning. There is, however, one prospect that is available as long as the sun is down: stargazing.

    “”It’s an opportunity to get together with other people,”” said Debra Malmos, publicist and Web master for the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association. “”It’s a good meeting place.””

    Stargazing can also provide more than entertainment.

    “”It’s a wonderful opportunity to get out there and learn about science,”” said Kevin Hardegree-Ullman, treasurer and Web master for the UA Astronomy Club. “”It can open up new horizons for anybody.””

    Participants only need basic equipment to have an enjoyable experience.

    “”I recommend just getting a decent pair of binoculars,”” Hardegree-Ullman said.

    Malmos said binoculars are often a beginner’s tool of choice, but both she and Hardegree-Ullman recommend a telescope – if it’s financially feasible.

    The cheapest part of stargazing could be the location.

    “”There are many good locations,”” said Hardegree-Ullman. “”Anywhere away from the city or the city lights. You can just drive a little bit further out of Tucson and go almost anywhere.””

    Malmos said the Catalina Mountains are also a great place to stargaze.

    “”There are some lookouts there,”” she said. “”That’s a stellar place.””

    Tucson is also home to several observatories, including Kitt Peak National Observatory, Whipple Observatory and the Flandrau Science Center on campus. Some of the observatories, like Kitt Peak, require a reservation to visit at night. Others, like Flandrau Science Center, offer free walk-in stargazing.

    For information, visit the TAAA website at www.tucsonastronomy.com.

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