The night skies: Blue Mountain Observatory releases summer event schedule

Every wonder what’s in the skies above the Missoula Valley?

Astronomers from the University of Montana and the Western Montana Astronomical Association will discuss objects viewed through the telescope at the Blue Mountain Observatory during several events scheduled for Fridays during the summer.

During the sessions, free to the public, experts will point out constellations, show attendees how to find interesting celestial objects with the naked eye or a pair of binoculars, and discuss recent astronomical discoveries.

Observing begins about an hour after sunset. Participants should wear warm clothes for cool evenings and bring a flashlight for the walk from the parking area to the observatory. Smoking and alcohol are strictly prohibited at all events.

The free public events will take place on July 6 and 13; Aug. 3 and 10; and Sept. 7 and 14. Attendance is limited to 150 people each night.

This summer, the Blue Mountain Observatory also will offer limited attendance nights for those who would like a more personal experience. These nights will take place on the following Saturdays, including July 7 and 14, and Aug. 4 and 11.

Tickets for these nights cost $20 per person, with attendance limited to 25 people or less.

For all nights, attendees are required to reserve a ticket for each person in their group via an Eventbrite link accessible from the Blue Mountain Observatory page, located here.

Viewing nights will be canceled if the sky is cloudy, smoky or thunderstorms threaten. Before heading to the observatory, look for weather and cancellation updates on the Blue Mountain Observatory Facebook page or via voicemail at 406-243-4299.

A final update will go out the evening of the observation to the email address attendees enter as part of their Eventbrite registration.