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Visiting PMO in July (2017)

Reminder – No extra tours for the July 4 holiday (Friday/Saturday only).

PMO remains open for Friday and Saturday night tours, and with the start of July, we’re entering the “prime” of the tour season. Sunsets remain late (8:30 to 8:45 p.m. or so), so you should plan on staying until at least 11:00 p.m. (weather permitting) to have a good observing experience including “deep sky” objects such as star clusters, nebulae and galaxies. Tours will not end until midnight this time of year, if the sky remains clear (with the possible exception of full moon weekend). Please arrive early (by about sunset), and check in at the greeting center next to the parking lot.

The planet Jupiter continues to be visible in July, but will sink lower into the west, setting by about 11 p.m. at the end of July. Saturn also remains visible in the southern sky, near the zodiac constellations of Scorpius and Sagittarius. Saturn has a favorable ring angle, and is very impressive on a good night.

Moon viewing information: June 30-July 1 – first quarter, good opportunity to see during tours; July 7-8 – moon almost full, resulting in bright sky; July 14-15 – moon waning and doesn’t rise until about midnight; July 21-22 – new moon (not visible, excellent for deep sky observing); July 28-29 – crescent moon, good opportunity to see in twilight during tours (arrive early).

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!

3 thoughts on “Visiting PMO in July (2017)

  1. No appointment is needed for Friday and Saturday evening tours, although it is suggested if you have a large group. Currently tours on other nights are not available to the general public.

    1. The schedule remains Friday and Saturday evenings through the end of September (Sept. 29-30 this year). Please try to arrive by sunset.

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