For many years now, our magazine has held a wonderful public star party event in what could be termed the capital of astronomy in the United States, Tucson, Arizona. The public is welcome at this all-day event, which features nighttime observing but also daytime solar observing and several talks by noted astronomy enthusiasts. Our wonderful partners in this collaboration are the faculty and staff of Pima Community College, as well as the great members of one of the largest astronomy clubs in the United States, the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association (TAAA).
The 2024 Astronomy Tucson Star Party is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 3. It will take place at the East Campus of Pima Community College at 8181 East Irvington Road in Tucson. The event cranks up at 1:30 p.m., with talks by enthusiastic astronomy authors. And solar observing will commence at 2 p.m. The talks will start with Astronomy Contributing Editor Michael Bakich speaking on the 2023 and 2024 solar eclipses, at 1:30 PM, followed by astronomy author Alan Goldstein speaking on the “Grand Canyon of Astronomy” at 2:30 PM. I will speak on Astronomy and the Civil War at 3:30 p.m. The final talk will be by astronomy author and comet discoverer David Levy, who will speak on “Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, 30 Years Later,” at 4:30 p.m.
Other activities will also be taking place throughout the event. The campus features a planet walk and a tour of the solar system in miniature will be offered. A demonstration of satellite radio observing will also take place. Solar observing will be happening throughout the day, and nighttime observing will commence around 6:30 p.m. and last until 9 p.m., with the college’s observatory and its telescopes, and also with a healthy turnout of multiple scopes brought by TAAA members. Abundant wonders of the Winter Milky Way will make for great targets, along with the dazzling planet Jupiter.
Admission is free and the event has grown to be a wonderful success, with several hundred people typically showing up throughout the day. Our thanks, as always, are expressed to Pima Community College and to the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association. Some of the wonderful folks who are making this happen are Jade Borne, Dennis Just, Jim Knoll, David O’Brien, Bernie Stinger, Ross Waldrip, Quinn Washburn, and John Zum Brunnen.
See you in Tucson on Feb. 3!
David J. Eicher is Editor of Astronomy, author of 26 books on science and history, and a board member of the Starmus Festival and of Lowell Observatory.