Wonders of the Night Sky Observing Series
Join the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter for a full night of observing using the largest dedicated public telescopes in the west! This series of observing programs will take place three times per year and provide you the opportunity to see hundreds of galaxies, nebula and star clusters, most of which are not regularly shown during the nightly SkyNights program. While our observing guides will have a list of objects to be seen throughout the night, attendees are also encouraged to request objects that they wish to see through a large telescope.
Program Fee ($125 for each event) includes dorm room accommodations at our fantastic location, all night access to the Schulman and Phillips telescopes - Arizona’s largest publicly available telescopes, and high quality binoculars. You also receive two meals (dinner and light breakfast the morning after), snacks, refreshments and lodging.
As the Wonders of the Night Sky Series are all-night affairs, some individuals choose to turn in early or take a ‘cat nap’ during the night. As such, your registration includes a double occupancy room inside one of our two Astronomer Dorm Room buildings. Linens and towels will be provided, but you can certainly bring your own if you wish. Each building houses one central restroom/bathroom facility. Personal toiletry items are not provided
Wonders of the Spring/Summer Sky – April 29th, 2017
This program will feature galaxies, an amateur astronomers staple of springtime observing. As we peer away from the center of our galaxy toward the constellations of Virgo, Canes Venatici, Coma Berenices, etc., there are numerous galaxies to be seen. In addition, we will observe galaxy groups and clusters, interacting galaxies from the catalogue of Halton Arp, and many other objects off the beaten path. While focused on galaxies early, we will also observe many summer objects in the early morning hours such as nebula and star clusters. Throughout the night, we will also observe objects of attendees choosing. Of course, with Saturn rising after midnight, we will be sure to point the telescopes at the ringed planet- and with our large telescopes you will observe several moons as well as cloud banding on the planet itself.
Wonders of the Fall/Winter Sky – October 21st, 2017
This program will feature a wide range of objects. With the Summer Triangle of Vega, Deneb and Altair high overhead early we will have the opportunity for a last look at some of the summertime objects, as well as many star clusters that populate the plane of our galaxy. We will use the Herschel 400 (William Herschel’s list of star clusters, galaxies, and nebula) as a rough guide to selecting objects, and again we will observe objects that attendees request. After midnight, we will have the traditional winter constellations of Orion, Canis Major, Gemini, etc. available for viewing many objects that take advantage of our high-altitude site and large aperture telescopes.
Messier Marathon – March 17th, 2018
The Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter invites you to take part in one of Astronomy’s biggest challenges, the Messier Marathon! The Messier catalogue was compiled by French astronomer Charles Messier during the late 18th century and consists of 110 relatively bright deep sky objects (galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters). At northern latitudes, it is possible to observe all Messier objects in one night during a window near the March new moon, when nights are longest.
Guests are invited to use the 32” Schulman and 24” Phillips Telescopes in an attempt to accomplish this feat, over the course of one night! This all night program begins one hour before sunset and ends just before dawn. Our expert Hosts will guide you through the heavens in search of Messier’s best and brightest deep sky objects.
All participants will receive a personalized Certificate of Participation. This memorable keepsake will include the date of your Marathon attempt as well as the total number of successfully observed objects.
Just as with our other Wonders of the Night Sky programs, there will be opportunities for guests to observe other objects throughout the night, as we progress through the main attraction, the Messier Marathon.