Tucson’s Amazing Sky

This article authored by: Rob Hallberg

Tucson SkySince our move here over 11 years ago, I have become more and more interested in Astronomy. A few months ago I joined the Tucson Association of Amateur Astronomers (TAAA) to see what it was all about.

Since that time I have been to several meetings and completed a 3 day class on the Fundamentals of Astronomy. I have also attended two “Star Parties”, where members meet at a “dark site” and set up their telescopes for observing. TAAA leases a dark site called TIMPA, located about 8 miles west of the Sonoran Desert Museum.

Every member I have met has been fantastic – very helpful and willing to give you their time and advice. I have also been impressed with the quality of their training and the number of attendees at their monthly meetings – about 60 or so members.

Astronomy is a big deal in Tucson as it is probably one of the best cities in the US for observing. Our National Observatory is located at Kitt Peak, about 50 miles West of Tucson and David Levy, know Comet Finder, has made his home in Vail. We also live in Vail, where the skis are often very dark. I still wasn’t convinced, however, so on Cats Eye NebulaSaturday night we went to Starizona, a NW Tucson Astronomy store.

On Friday and Saturday nights Starizona sets up telescopes in their parking lot for people to see. They also do training with customers that have purchased a telescope from them. The highlight of the visit, however, was the pictures. They had hundreds of pictures to view that were taken by members, some with only a 6” telescope (6” refers to the aperture or light opening).

I thought that the colorful pictures we see of galaxies, nebulas, etc. could only be taken by the Hubble or with large, professional telescopes like out at Kitt Peak. I also thought they used software to color the pictures. I was wrong on both counts!  I can take these pictures, too!

So that did it for me. Monday I purchased a 9.25# Celestron telescope from Starizona. I will have to add photography equipment later due to the additional cost, but I can wait as I need the time to familiarize myself with the hobby.

If interested, here is a link to the TAAA website: http://tucsonastronomy.org/

Rob Hallberg

Rob and Catherine Hallberg are Associate Brokers with Long Realty, a Berkshire-Hathaway Affiliate and Southern Arizona’s largest Brokerage. Since 2008, they have been ranked in the top 5% to 8% of all U.S. REALTORS®. Send Rob and Catherine an email for a fast response to your questions; for an even faster response, Call (520) 407-8667.

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