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PMO Opens May 27-28 of Memorial Day weekend for public tours

Update (Thursday afternoon): The forecast is now better again (partly cloudy, no rain/snow), but still cold (30s) at night, so be prepared if you do come! Otherwise perhaps we’ll see you at PMO in June.

Note: Since this post was written, there was a late-season snowstorm at PMO, and the forecast for May 27-28 has deteriorated. Nighttime temperatures will fall into the 30s, and more rain/snow is possible. If you have the option, we now strongly recommend waiting until June to visit PMO. If you do still want to visit PMO over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, please check the weather page, use caution, and be advised that tours may end early.

It’s that time of year – public night sky tours at PMO begin Friday and Saturday, May 27-28, of Memorial Day weekend! Please note that there are no tours on Sunday and/or Monday, even when there is a Monday holiday. Currently the weather forecast for this year is favorable for opening weekend, but you should still expect and prepare for nighttime temperatures in the 40s. Tours begin at about 9:00 p.m. and may last until midnight, although it’s not unusual for viewing to end earlier depending on conditions, so please arrive early, and check in at the greeting center next to the parking lot.

Sunset is about 8:40 p.m. Twilight viewing beginning about 9:00 p.m. will focus on the planet Jupiter, well-placed in the SSW about halfway up in the sky. Mars and Saturn will not be well-placed until about 10:30 p.m., and even then they will be low in the SE sky, near the zodiac constellation of Scorpius. Although Mars will be closest to Earth this week (and quite bright), it’s still over 45 million miles away, so don’t expect a clear view of Martian surface features. The Moon will not rise until about 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning, and thus will not be visible during tour hours. Please wait two more weeks if you want a good view of the Moon. However, the lack of moonlight the first two public weekends will allow excellent viewing of certain star clusters, nebulae and galaxies if sky conditions permit.

The PMO campground is a primitive Forest Service campground, and does not accept reservations. Although there’s a lot of space for smaller vehicles and tents, please do arrive early if you plan to camp.

We’re looking forward to another great season, and to seeing you at PMO!

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