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Visiting PMO in June (2017)

PMO is now open for Friday and Saturday night tours, and June can be a good opportunity to visit. Keep in mind, however, that sunsets are late (8:45 p.m. or so), and you should plan on staying until at least 11:00 p.m. (weather permitting) to have a good experience including a couple of dark sky objects such as star clusters. Tours will normally not end until midnight this time of year, if the sky remains clear.

Do arrive early (by about sunset), and check in at the greeting center next to the parking lot. Water bottles may be available to purchase at the greeting center, however, we strongly advise bringing your own food and water.

Twilight viewing beginning about 9:00 p.m. will focus on the planet Jupiter, well-placed in the south about halfway up in the sky. Saturn will be high enough to see later, about the time skies are completely dark. Saturn will be low in the SE sky, near the zodiac constellation of Sagittarius.

Moon viewing information: June 2-3 – moon bright (although not yet full) and sets late; June 9-10 – full bright moon; June 16-17 – moon approaching last quarter, doesn’t rise during tours; June 23-24 – new moon, excellent “deep sky” viewing after 11 p.m., weather permitting.

Important reminder: PMO is NOT in the path of totality for the August 21 total solar eclipse, and will NOT be open that day or the weekend of August 18-20. For a possible eclipse viewing site, see The eclipse at PMO will be 98.9% partial in terms of “obscuration,” or fraction of the Sun’s area covered. That is still about 1,000 times too bright to observe the Sun’s faint outer atmosphere, or corona.

We’re looking forward to seeing you at PMO!

2 thoughts on “Visiting PMO in June (2017)

  1. Hi! I have been to PMO the last two summers and have loved it! My family and I are planning one or two trips this summer and I’m hoping to test out some astrophotography gear. I have a webcam to use with my telescope, but have to use a laptop to control it. Is red film over the laptop screen sufficient, or would you recommend operating that somewhere away from the main viewing area? Thanks!

    1. At PMO’s 24-inch telescope, we use red film over the computer screen, and keep it a few feet away from the eyepiece and facing the opposite direction. The same thing will likely work for you if your screen is facing mostly away from the other telescopes, however please check with Alton Luken (site manager) when you set up to make sure there are no problems, including with PMO’s 14-inch research telescope in the small white dome.

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