Category Archives: You’re Invited!

Mercury Transit Across the Sun

A rather rare event will be happening on Monday May 9 — Mercury will appear to move across the face of the Sun.  For us in Tucson, the transit will already be underway when the Sun rises at 5:32 am.  The Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association (TAAA) will have several Solar Telescopes set up at Brandi Fenton Memorial Park starting about 7:30 am.  We’ll be there until at least 10 am, but will hang around as long as there are people interested in viewing the Transit.  The Mercury Transit will end at 11:39 am Tucson time.

Mercury Transits are fairly rare, with only 13 or 14 per Century.  The last Mercury Transit was November 8, 2006 and the next one will be November 11, 2019.  After that, we’ll have to wait until 2032 for the next one.  Mercury Transits only happen within a few days of May 8 or November 10 of any given year.  The reason they don’t happen every year is because Mercury’s orbit is inclined 7 degrees to Earth’s Orbit, so most of the time, Mercury transits just above or below the Sun from our perspective.

Join TAAA at Brandi Fenton Memorial Park on Monday May 9th to view this rare event.

Jim Knoll


Astronomy Festival for National Astronomy Day

Join the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association (TAAA) on May 14th, from Noon to 9 pm at Brandi Fenton Memorial Park to celebrate National Astronomy Day.  This will be a fun-filled day and evening for the entire family.  We will have solar telescopes for safe viewing of the Sun and interactive exhibits for everyone during the afternoon.  There will be telescopes for viewing deep sky objects in the evening such as Jupiter, star clusters, galaxies, nebulae, and Mars (late evening).  We will have a door prize drawing at 7 pm for a 50mm telescope (must be present to win) and a Walk Around the Night Sky presentation around 7:30 pm.  The complete schedule is below.


Safe Solar Viewing of the Sun                                            Noon – 6:30 pm
Interactive Astronomy Exhibits                                       Noon – 6 pm
Make Pocket Solar Systems & Sun Dials
Make an impact crater
Door Prize Drawing (must be present to win)              7 pm
50 mm Refractor Telescope
Night Sky Viewing                                                                     7:30 – 9 pm
Walk Around the Night Sky Presentation                  7:30 pm
Help with personal Telescope                                           All Day/Evening
Bring your personal telescope to receive
assistance in setup & operation

Jim Knoll

General Meeting

Next Meeting:  Friday, May 5, 2017

Open to the Public:  TAAA encourages the public to join our general meetings held on the first Friday of the month in the Steward Observatory Lecture Hall (Room N210) on the U of A Campus.

NOTICE:  The May 5 meeting will be held in the Kuiper Science Building (Lunar & Planetary Lab), 1629 E University Blvd (just east of Flandrau Planetarium on the UA Mall).  Room 308 (one floor up from ground level).

Gateway to the Galaxy
Bringing the Magic of the Universe to Life
6:30 (Social)
7:30 (Presentation)

Experience the excitement firsthand of the future of our Chiricahua Astronomy Complex (CAC).  Learn the history of how it all got started, the recent events that are turning CAC into a world-class complex, and the future that will provide unprecedented dark-sky observing and education opportunities.

TAAA Elections will follow Presentation

See Map

Continue reading General Meeting

Public Events

Monthly lectures

TAAA General Meeting

Our general meeting occurs on the first Friday of every month and consists of two (2) parts:

Astronomy Essentials Presentation

We start out with an Essentials Presentation. A member or invited guest gives a short presentation on a basic astronomical concept.

Main Presentation

An invited guest delivers an interesting and informative presentation on an astronomy related topic.

Get the Details About Our Next General Meeting!

Astronomy Fundamentals Meeting

afsig-logoThe Astronomy Fundamentals group meets on the second Thursday of every month. Discussions include the Constellation of the Month, instruction on astronomy equipment and tools, and other topics of interest to the amateur astronomer. Read more about the Astronomy Fundamentals SIG

Get the Details About Our Next General Fundamentals Meeting!

Public Star Parties

Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association (TAAA) conducts Public Star Parties throughout the Tucson area.  Details regarding upcoming events can be viewed in our Events Calendar.  Follow our Facebook page (link under “Media” on our homepage) for public star party events (under Facebook Events) to get real-time updates to include any potential weather cancellations.

Astronomy Festival

Astronomy Day Celebration!  The Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association will host a free family Astronomy Festival on Saturday April 29, 2017 from Noon to 9 pm at Brandi Fenton Memorial Park, 3482 E River Road (River & Alvernon) Ramada A.  We will have safe solar viewing of the Sun and interactive astronomy exhibits for the kids, including building an eclipse viewer, throughout the afternoon.  During the evening, there will be about 10 telescopes for observing such celestial wonders as:  Jupiter, Mars, and a small crescent Moon; Double Stars and Star Clusters; Nebulae; Galaxies; and more.  Plus, at 8 pm, we will have a “Walk Around the Night Sky” presentation about constellations and astronomy folk lore.  At dusk, there will be a free raffle of a 50mm telescope (must be present to win) + other cool prizes.  Participants can bring their personal telescopes if you would like any help in using it.  There will also be a food truck throughout the afternoon for purchasing food.

For real-time updates (weather and changing events, check back here or follow the event on our Facebook page (link under Media on our home page).


Noon – 6:30 pm                Safe Solar viewing of the Sun
Noon – 6:00 pm                Interactive Astronomy Exhibits
–  Learn about the upcoming solar eclipse by making an eclipse viewer
– Other interactive projects for kids to have fun with astronomy
7:00 pm                                 Door Prizes (free) – 50mm refractor telescope + other astronomy related items (must be present to win)
7:30 – 9:00 pm                   Night Sky Viewing through TAAA telescopes
– TAAA will have a couple “kid friendly” telescopes for kids to learn about telescopes and view celestial objects
8:00 pm                                 Walk Around The Night Sky Presentation
– Learn about constellations, celestial objects, and Folk Lore
All Afternoon / Evening             Bring personal telescopes for viewing or assistance in using

Oracle State Park

Our next Oracle State Park Star Party will be Saturday September23, 2017 at the Kannally Ranch House from 7 – 9 pm.

Catalina State Park

Our next Catalina State Park Star Party will be Saturday October 14, 2017 at the trailhead parking lot.  We will have about 10 telescopes to view some amazing deep sky objects.  Observing will be from 7 – 10 pm.

Pima County Natural Resources Parks & Recreation

Monthly Star Parties at Agua Caliente Park (NE Tucson) & Tucson Mountain Park Ironwood Picnic Area (West Tucson) & occasionally Brandi Fenton Park.  See our Events Calendar for more details.

Annual and Bi-Annual Events

Grand Canyon Star Party

June 17-24, 2017

Grand Canyon Star Party, sponsored by the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association, is a shared event between astronomers from around North America and the National Park Service to bring astronomical outreach to visitors at the Grand Canyon. More information including current and future dates for the Grand Canyon Star Party can be found here.

About the Party
Frequently Asked Questions
Accommodation information
National Park Service Grand Canyon Star Party website

If you have any more questions or concerns, please ask!

Jim O’Connor
South Rim Coordinator, Grand Canyon Star Party
P.O. Box 457
Cortaro, AZ 85652
gcsp [at] tucsonastronomy [dot] org

Tucson Festival of Books (TBA)