UM’s Blue Mountain Observatory to Host Free Public Star-Gazing Events

June 04, 2015

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

Public observing nights this summer are scheduled for the following Fridays: June 12, July 10 and 17, Aug. 7 and 14, and Sept. 4 and 11. Attendees are asked to reserve a free ticket for each person in their group via Eventbrite at http://bit.ly/1KOSelu.

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 discuss what’s being viewed through the telescopes, point out constellations, show attendees how to find interesting celestial objects with the naked eye or a pair of binoculars, and discuss recent astronomical discoveries.

Observing begins about an hour after sunset, and organizers recommend bringing warm clothes for cool evenings and a flashlight for the walk from the observatory to the parking lot. To ensure the public observation nights remain safe and pleasurable for all, smoking and alcohol are not allowed.

For more information on the observatory, directions and a map, visit http://cas.umt.edu/physics/Blue_Mountain_Observatory/. Viewing nights will be canceled if the sky is cloudy or thunderstorms threaten. Before heading to the observatory, call 406-243-4299 for weather and cancellation updates. 

Contact: Diane Friend, lecturer, UM Department of Physics and Astronomy, 406-243-4299, diane.friend@umontana.edu.