Ready to explore planets, nebulas, star clusters, and distant galaxies on a beautiful summer night?

The University of Montana's Blue Mountain Observatory has announced its summer stargazing nights schedule, many of which are free to the public. The observatory sits atop Blue Mountain at an elevation of 6,300 feet. Astronomers from UM and the Western Montana Astronomical Association will guide visitors in viewing the night sky through telescopes and instruct you on how to find interesting celestial objects with the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

The events are family friendly, and people of all ages are welcome. Free public events take place July 5, August 2, August 23 and September 27. Attendance is limited to the first 150 people each night.

Blue Mountain Observatory also offers some limited attendance nights for those who would like a more personal experience. Limited attendance nights are June 29, July 27, August 24, August 31 and September 21. Tickets for those nights are $20 per person and it's limited to the first 25 people.

Whether you want a free night or the more personal experience, you must reserve a ticket for each person in advance! You can do that through the observatory website. And naturally, viewing nights will be cancelled if the sky is cloudy or smoky or if thunderstorms are predicted.

I have really been wanting to do this. This year's the year!

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