Red, rocky, bright in the night sky, Mars has fascinated humans for centuries. More NASA missions have travelled to Mars than to any other planet. And scientific exploration continues to reveal surprises about our astronomical neighbor.
This July, the orbit of Mars will bring it closer to the Earth than it has been in many years, providing the opportunity for a “close up” look at the planet through Flandrau’s 16-in Cassegrain telescope and Steward’s historic Raymond E. White 21-in telescope, the largest telescope on campus. Both telescopes will be open to the public for free from 9pm to 2am on the evening of Tuesday, July 31, when Mars will be brightest in the night sky. This will be the best opportunity to see Mars for decades to come.
The evening will begin with a special presentation “Mars Madness” by planetary scientist Steve Kortenkamp, Associate Professor of Practice at the UA Lunar and Planetary Lab. Kortenkamp’s presentation, at 8pm in the Eos Planetarium Theater, will review the history of Martian exploration, explain why it is now so close to Earth, and give an overview of the other planets visible in the night sky at this time of year. After Kortenkamp’s presentation, there will be planetarium shows every hour on the hour with a final show at 12am.
In addition to Mars, there will be other planets to see in the sky that night, including Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and our very own Moon. Mt Lemmon SkyCenter and Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association will be providing telescope viewing on the UA Mall in front of Flandrau. Each celestial body will have a telescope dedicated to it so visitors can make the rounds and see each planet in turn.
All the telescopes will be free and open to the public. The “Mars Madness” special presentation, Planetarium Shows, and Laser Shows are $5 each and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
Please note, telescope viewing is dependent on a clear sky, but the “Mars Madness” presentation and planetarium shows will run regardless of clear or cloudy skies.
Come join the fun and see Mars Magnified for an experience you’ll never forget.
Mars Magnified Event
When: Tuesday, July 31. 8pm to 2am
Where: Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium, Steward Observatory, UA Mall.
What: Outstanding opportunity to see the surface o Mars through a telescope. Special presentation about Mars.
Cost: Telescope viewing is free; The “Mars Madness” Presentation, Planetarium Shows, and Laser Shows are $5 each, and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
Mars Magnified Planetarium Theater Schedule:
8pm – “Mars Madness” special presentation by Steve Kortenkamp
9pm – Laser Stranger Things (laser light show)
10pm – Touring the Solar System: UA in Space Edition (planetarium show)
11pm – Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon (laser light show)
12am – Laser Stranger Things (laser light show)