Moon Watch

The moon is at first quarter tonight. It is half lit from our perspective. The moon becomes more lit each day until it reaches full a week from today.

Saturday is Astronomy Day, an annual event to introduce astronomy to the general public by astronomy enthusiasts, mainly amateur astronomers and amateur astronomy clubs.

Professional astronomers, planetariums, science centers, schools and universities also participate.

Tucson's largest public star party starts with solar viewing at 3 p.m. outside the Flandrau Science Center on the UA Mall.

The free event runs until 10 p.m. and is sponsored by the Sharing the Sky Foundation, Flandrau Science Center and the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association.

Organizers promise the following highlights:

• Solar viewing through telescopes with solar filters until sundown.

• Hands-on activities for children of all ages.

• Night sky observing of the moon, Saturn, double stars and distant galaxies and possibly comet PANSTARRS early in the evening.

• The astronomy association will line both sides of the mall with about 35 to 40 telescopes. Enjoy safe solar viewing during the day and experience the wonders of the night sky after dark.

The association is one of the nation's premier astronomy clubs. I have been a member of the TAAA since 1975 and unashamedly give it kudos.

Contact Tim Hunter at

Did you know?

While the Star Party is free, donations to Sharing the Sky are appreciated. Raffle tickets will be given with a donation. Among the prizes are two beginner telescopes. With a $10 donation you can unofficially rename a star in honor of someone special and receive a certificate for that star.

The Sharing the Sky Foundation is dedicated to inspiring children to reach for the stars. Founded by David H. Levy and his wife, Wendee, the foundation uses lectures, guided activities and education to promote astronomy in Arizona, the United States and other countries.

David Levy is a world-famous comet hunter and is known for discovering 23 comets. He is most famous for the co-discovery of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which collided with Jupiter in 1994. Levy has devoted his life to astronomical discoveries and sharing his passion for astronomy with literally thousands of people all over the planet.

Sharing the Sky provides the Levys and other scientists with an organization to support and expand their educational and outreach programs. Levy has been a Tucson resident for 33 years.

Source: Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association