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Moongazers to fill UA Mall this weekend

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Sofia Moraga | The Daily Wildcat The Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, located on University and Cherry Ave.

The University of Arizona Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium will be participating in International Observe the Moon Night on Saturday, Oct. 20.

Shipherd Reed, Flandrau’s associate director of communication, said the event is “a designated night where planetariums all over the world try to put together programming to observe and appreciate and celebrate the moon, our nearest celestial neighbor.”

Reed said that people will be able to see the moon up close and learn about the history of space exploration and how planetary science at UA has helped to explore the moon and space.

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“We are a world leader in planetary science. Nobody else leads Nasa missions like we do,” Reed said of the UA planetary science program. 

Reed said that International Observe the Moon Night is usually in October when the moon is lit most effectively for telescope viewing. 

“In a way, we take the moon for granted, and yet … it’s so deeply embedded in our lives,” Reed said. “I mean, our calendar revolves around the moon, and I think it’s just a moment, taking a moment to appreciate the moon, and what we now understand about the moon.”

The event aims to educate audiences about the moon as well as what Flandrau brings to the community and the campus, according to Reed.

“The moon is also kind of like a portal to planetary science. It’s almost like, if you start to understand the moon, and then you also start to think about the other planets, and how everything’s orbiting around the sun, including us at different rates,” Reed said. “So in a way, the moon is a great way to draw people into planetary science.”  

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International Observe the Moon Night is also a night for people to explore the universe beyond the moon. 

“You start thinking about the moon, and then you’re like, ‘the planets,’ and then ‘the galaxy,’ and then ‘the universe.’ Pretty soon you’re spinning,” Reed said.

There will be free telescope viewing on the UA Mall, along with interactive moon-related activities inside Flandrau, put on by other organizations teaming up with Flandrau at the event.

Reed said the activities will be “kind of hands-on activities, great for families but fun for everybody.” 

Flandrau will also have several shows in the planetarium, including several documentaries about moon exploration and a Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon full-dome show.

Flandrau is teaming up with the Planetary Science Institute, the UA Lunar and Planetary Lab, the UA Steward Observatory, the Mt. Lemmon Sky Center Observatory and the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association to celebrate International Observe the Moon Night.

International Observe the Moon Night at Flandrau will be held Oct. 20 from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m.


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