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UM News
July 26, 2012

MISSOULA –

Explore planets, nebulae and distant galaxies during four upcoming free public observing nights at the Blue Mountain Observatory. The events are family-friendly, and children are welcome.

The observatory, located atop Blue Mountain at an elevation of 6,300 feet, is operated by The University of Montana.

Astronomers will be on hand at all events to talk about constellations, how the night sky figures into different cultures and how to find interesting celestial objects with the naked eye or a pair of binoculars.

Observing begins about an hour after sunset, and organizers recommend bringing warm clothes for cool evenings and a small flashlight for the walk from the observatory to the parking lot.

Viewing nights will be canceled if the sky is cloudy or thunderstorms threaten. Before heading up to the observatory, call 406-243-5179 for weather and cancellation updates.

Following is the schedule for public observing nights with approximate starting times:

  • Friday, Aug. 10: 10 p.m.
  • Friday, Aug. 17: 10 p.m.
  • Friday, Sept. 7: 9 p.m.
  • Friday, Sept. 14: 9 p.m.

More information, directions and a map to the observatory are available online at http://www.physics.umt.edu/bluemountain.

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Contact: Jaylene Naylor, program specialist, UM Department of Physics and Astronomy, 406-243-5179, jaylene.naylor@umontana.edu.