MISSOULA – The growing popularity of Blue Mountain Observatory open house nights has prompted the University of Montana to implement some changes. The next public nights are scheduled for Friday, Aug. 22, and Friday, Sept. 19.
“While we love that so many are excited about exploring our beautiful universe, we are going to experiment with some changes that we hope will help us keep the experience a memorable one for all,” said Diane Friend with the UM Department of Physics and Astronomy, who helps organize the public viewings.
The open house nights will remain free and open to everyone, but UM hopes to limit the number of people coming up on any given night. Attendees are asked to reserve a free ticket for each person in their group via Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/blue-mountain-observatory-open-house-tickets-12579809549.
People can donate to the observatory for repairs and staffing during open houses by visiting the UM Foundation donation page at http://cas.umt.edu/physics/Donate.php.
“We will also be stationing a parking attendant at the lookout to direct parking and answer questions,” Friend said. “We hope that this will help mitigate the congestion that many have experienced lately. We encourage guests to carpool whenever possible.”
Lastly, to insure the open house nights remain safe and pleasurable for all, no alcohol is allowed.
“Thanks for your patience as we learn to adapt to our growing popularity,” Friend said. “We look forward to seeing you on the mountain.”
For more information visit http://cas.umt.edu/physics/Blue_Mountain_Observatory/default.php. Viewing nights will be canceled if the sky is cloudy or thunderstorms threaten. Call 406-243-4299 for weather and cancellation updates.